“Am I a bad mother?” This I asked my husband today, as we sat enjoying a peaceful lunch with a few beers and relaxed atmosphere. Was I? Was this typical mother behavior? He assured me, no, I wasn’t, but I couldn’t be sure.
Mind you, we haven’t taken a true vacation in almost 10 years. Since our honeymoon, my husband and I have only done small weekends away, driving distance, always wondering and checking in on our children. This time, all bets were off. We flew away, left our two children with my in-laws, and I haven’t looked back. Literally and figuratively.
We always wonder, as parents, are we doing anything truly to fuck up our children. We make sure that we aren’t going to do anything that affects them genuinely, but we also wonder just how much the little things affect them. I am a true believer in the fact that if we don’t have them expect too much, that maybe, just maybe, it won’t fuck them up too much later on. Like, if they don’t come to expect anything gift-wise from us this trip, maybe they won’t ever ask us for “what we brought” to them (my sister’s kids are conditioned for that now, and she is paying for it royally). So if they don’t hear our voices, wonder what we are up to, does this mean they won’t care later on when we leave them for any length of time? And does it truly make me a bad mother?
I’m not saying I don’t care. I do. We have kept in touch with his parents throughout the trip. We have seen plenty of pictures and stuff they’ve done. We know when they have gotten up, where they’ve eaten, if they’ve been good. I keep telling myself that I have gotten past the point of no return, and that it’s primarily because calling would be “checking up” on my mother in law, which I don’t want to do (if it were my parents, I’d call in a heartbeat, but when it comes to in-laws…) So we head back tomorrow, and I can’t worry about it. If I’ve been a bad mother, sue me. If I’ve screwed up my kids royally, it can’t be more than the next person who has done the same by leaving them at daycare longer than should be allowed by law or sat them next to a crazy person on the subway. I may have to wait fifteen years to find out the repercussions of my actions, but as long as I’ve seen happy faces for pictures, I can’t worry about it now. I’ll just sleep in one last time and enjoy the peace and quiet.