Though I had always wanted to work even after having a baby and did not want a break in my career, but after my daughter was born things changed and I was in a dilemma, I did not want to leave her and work. It was my parent's support and my late husband's insistence that I decided otherwise. I still remember that day I had to leave my 6 months old daughter with my parents and go for work. Spending that one whole day of work was like spending an year with a heavy heart, no focus on anything at work, body constantly wanting to finish many things but mind was not supporting, the only relief was that she was safe and fine. Then gradually both she and I became habituated to the fact that we are going to be away from each other for some time of the day.
Honestly, I chose to be in a teaching profession not only because I liked it but also I had the hidden interest of being able to spend more time with my child as I assumed this profession would demand less of my time, give me the comfort of vacations and I can take break as I want and resume when I want. But I was completely wrong, things so happened that my career took a totally different path and became more challenging and demanding, the journey from a teacher to a trainer, speaker and an entrepreneur involved lot of travelling and staying away from my daughter.
Being a single mother it was all the more strenuous for me as it was impossible for me to make a choice between my child and my career, both were equally important at a stage of life I was at. But for all reasons, I am glad that I took that decision, today I am have my own identity, my child respects me for who I am, sees me more than a care taker and a home maker, feels proud in saying that she is my daughter. I am sure most of you must have gone through a similar situation of choosing between a career and child or leaving behind the child and travelling and going through the guilt of having left behind the child. I completely understand your feeling but then sometimes, some choices in life are hard but really worth it.
Leaving stings our hearts. Leaving makes us feel like things are going to fall apart. Leaving hurts. Tears are shed. Hearts break a bit. But leaving is also good sometimes. It makes us stronger. It makes our bond stronger. And it’s important for children to learn they can live without you, and that you will return. Leaving the kids with Dad — if that is possible — is a really great way to release control and embrace the lesson of letting go and trusting. It’s not easy, but with the right preparations we can make it look easy. And when we learn to let go and trust … we are on the right path to empowering our families to be their best selves.
Here are few suggestions on how can mothers who need to travel as a part of their work, work it out correctly for themselves and for their children.
1. Give up the guilt of travelling without kids
Guilt only piles on when we think others need us so much that they cannot live without us. When we know they will be OK, we don’t feel that same amount of guilt. In fact, when we know they will love us more when we return – and you will love YOUR life more when you return — it’s almost a no-brainer. Still, we are needed. We are missed. And being apart, though good, is hard. So the best way to tackle guilt or anxiety about being away is to just go ahead and take the decision to do it.
2. Dealing with negative responses
In a society like ours, mothers avoid travelling alone not because they cannot handle or not because they will be upset, most of the times its because what will people around me think.t's likely mothers who choose to travel without their children will come across an individual or two who will raise an eyebrow, think they're parenting wrong or being selfish.I have received received many negative reactions, for example, people telling me that I should, “Just focus on being a mother”, or tell me that I am “being selfish”, and “shouldn't pawn my daughter off on others just to travel”. All I would tell you for this is that you are the best judge for your child, and you are not being cruel to your child, if you feel let down by the comments, look at the positive sides that leaving behind your child can bring:
- The act of self love. This has to be the biggest reason to go travel (or do whatever your bliss might be). We all need it, yet so many of us deny it to ourselves and wonder why we feel so exhausted, resentful, anxious and depressed. The more we give to ourselves, the more we can give to others.
- Being able to connect with ourselves.
- Being able to connect with other family members, friends or even our partner if we travel with them too. It gives your partner the chance to step into your role if you're a stay/work from home mother.
- Knowing that you CAN leave your children to a capable care taker and have a great time. Because you don't have to miss out on what you love.
- Don't wait until the kids are 18. Each day in life is a gift, and sadly, if we delay things, they may never happen. You are so much more than “mum”.
- Modelling self care and a sense of adventure to your children.
There's no right or wrong. There's simply what you would do and what you wouldn't do. One person's blueprint or way of doing things isn't the way the whole world should do it. Each day is a gift. We simply don't know if we're going to be here tomorrow. So today should be a day fully lived – not a day where you're burnt out, miserable and unhappy. If you still are skeptical about what I wrote, Just ask yourself that one question -- How do you want your children to remember you?
More on how to train your child before you head out for your travelling in the next article.
(The author is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Arena, an e-learning company)