By Amy Amatangelo
Recently I had to take a trip for work. I left my two-year-old daughter Molly in the care of my husband and my in-laws. My husband works full-time and I work part-time. So, like many moms, I am the one on the front line with my daughter every day. I can translate everything she says, anticipate her mood swings, and know what makes her most happy. That’s all to say that leaving for six days made me anxious.
I was in the middle of writing my 10 page “What to Do While I’m Away” tome when I had an epiphany: I was being ridiculous. RIDICULOUS! I was leaving Molly in the care of people who know her and love her. My husband is with her every day. My in-laws raised two children. But still it is hard to let go.
So I tried to make peace with the fact that it would be okay if:
- She eats a lollipop every day. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that I wrote five paragraphs on what to do if Molly asks for a lollipop. Absurd, I know. (Where did I think all these nefarious lollipops were going to come from?) If she gets an extra dose of sweets for six days, she is not destined for tooth decay and a sugar addiction.
- She wears a mismatched outfit that is either too big or too small. If, despite the fact that I’ve laid out six outfits for her, my daughter wears baggy purple shorts with a Fourth of July t-shirt (an actual outfit my husband once put her in), no one is going to care. She’s not going to appear on an episode of “What Not to Wear.” Her outfit will not end up being judged in the back pages of US Weekly.
- She eats nothing but crackers (her absolute favorite food) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Will she get constipated? Probably. But I won’t be the one at home dealing with that situation.
- She stays up too late. If she doesn’t get to bed until 10 p.m., this will not doom her to a life time of late night partying. And if her sleep schedule is all goofed up when I return, well that’s a small price to pay for six days alone in a hotel room.
- She’s not reminded to say “please” and “thank you.” Molly is currently in what I like to call the royalty phase of being a toddler. She barks out orders and expects those around her to jump at her command. She like a queen who needs a lady-in-waiting. My in-laws, who adore her, are more than happy to be her servants. I can re-train manners upon my return.
- She misses me. And, this one is the hard one; it will be okay if she doesn’t. If she’s having so much fun with grandma and grandpa that she hardly notices I’m gone, that might be tough to take (am I not the center of her universe?). But I like to think we will both appreciate each other more upon my return.
What are some of the things you’ve had to learn to let go of when you’ve taken a trip without your child(ren)? Talk about it below.
Amy, great timing on this one. I’m going away for the first time ever in a few weeks, leaving all three kids home with their dad for a week. Of course everyone will be fine, but I’m still putting together a huge word document of instructions and day-to-day activities.
Kate, you are my letting go idol! I need to make “but she will be well” my mantra. Thanks for commenting.
Amy, I work full time as does my husband and the house consists of three boys under the age of 9. When I first started traveling for work, I used to come home and thought surely a typhoon had hit house because there was no way mere mortals could have made this kind of mess. I had to let that go over the ensuing years. My beloved does the best he can with the skills he has – of which multi-tasking is not one. The common phrase is now, “the boys will not be well-nurished, well-groomed or well-rested when you get home, but they will be well.” And sometimes, that is really all I can I ask for…They love when Daddy’s in charge but do think they secretly enjoy when mom comes home and order is once again restored. At least in my mind they do.