Friday, August 21, 2015

Its ok to leave your children and do things for yourself

I attended Problogger {a big blogging conference} this past weekend on the Gold Coast and it was the first time I've been away from bub overnight ever. Literally since the day she was born. 

I never intended to be one of those parents who doesn't let their kids sleep over anywhere else, but its just ended up that way. Mum hasn't really had any interest in having her stay and T's mum lives in another state so the opportunity just hasn't come up. She also doesn't go to daycare because of her allergies so I'm used to spending all of my time with her. I was definitely more nervous about leaving her behind than I was about attending the conference.

Don't get me wrong I was scared of attending an event with 700 people, petrified even, but I thought my separation anxiety from bub would far outweigh any networking nerves. Even though I'm an introvert.

I expected to be checking my phone all the time for updates from home. I thought for sure I'd be the neurotic one calling home during all the breaks just to make sure everything was ok {i.e she wasn't dead - yep I am that paranoid at times}. I even second guessed going on more than a few occasions because I convinced myself something catastrophic would go wrong if I wasn't with her. My anxiety stems from dad dying when I was younger, not because I don't trust T, and I'm very aware of that so I pushed through it and went to the conference.

It turns out being away from her was actually a good thing. 2yrs without a break is a long time and I didn't realise just how much I needed a break until I took one. Being a mum is constantly exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Being able to switch off my "mum brain" for a few days and not be in a heightened state of awareness constantly was amazing. Although I was still busy, I wasn't having to continuously watch her or worry about her or entertain her. I could just be me, without my mum hat on, and that was kind of refreshing.

It was nice to remember what life was like before I had kids. Not that I attended conferences before kids, but just the simple things like only being responsible for myself, being able to spend time getting ready before I go out {actually getting to wear makeup and do my hair}, not needing to pack a nappy bag... etc etc. I'm sure you get the point. Being a mum has become my life and I kind of forgot what it was like to be me.

Instead of freaking out the whole time I thoroughly enjoyed my time out. So much so that I told Cate on the last day that I almost felt guilty for not feeling guilty about being away from her. Instead of causing me to have a breakdown, being away from her actually taught me quite a few good lessons.

The lessons I learnt from facing my separation anxiety. www.findingmyselfyoung.com

We are separate people and its ok to be apart from each other. Sounds obvious right? The first few months of her life though it felt like we were constantly attached and I quickly established the notion that we couldn't function without each other {yes I realise that makes me sound somewhat crazy}. It was nice to realise that I can leave her with someone else and she'll be ok. We'll both be ok.

I am me as well as a mum. Like I said above, I feel like I've just morphed into a mum and its consumed who I am as a person, but being by myself made me realise the old Toni is still there. I just had to peel back the layers to find her.

Daddy is capable of looking after her {even if it is in his own unique way}. Yes he does things wrong different, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing + she survived.

I appreciate time with her more after being away from her. Not that I don't appreciate time with her anyway, but her cuddles are ten times more amazing when I haven't had them for a few days. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that other cliché jazz.

I'm not as neurotic as I think I am. I didn't stalk my phone for messages. I wasn't calling every break or even every day. I was actually a lot more calm about it than I ever expected to be. Besides once daddy texted me a photo of the spaghetti he'd cooked from scratch I realised he'd be fine. Who knew a photo of spaghetti could have the same effect as Valium?

Its so awesome to have a break from ABC Kids. It never even occurred to me before I left that going away for 3 days meant not having to listen to Curious George or Bing or Tom or Peppa on repeat a thousand times each day. It was the silver lining to an awesome weekend. Although I am back rocking it out to Lah-Lah around the lounge room again now.

I do remember how to "adult". Since I had bub 99% of my conversations with other people revolve around her, or parenting. So even when I'm talking to other adults its usually always revolved around kids. This weekend I had lots of conversation that didn't involve kids at all! I actually remembered how to have a conversation and not instinctively make it all about bub. That my friends is an achievement.

Coming back home its been abundantly clear that she's benefited from the time away from me too. Daddy has a totally different approach to parenting than me. He's the fly by the seat of your pants, have fun, do what you want kind of parent. Basically every kids dream, because he's a kid himself. She's clearly loved having late bed times, no day time naps, honey toast and frozen coke for 3 days... I'm just taking an out of sight out of mind approach to all this so I don't get caught up in how unhealthy she ate while I was away. Even with all the "bad food" I still think having that extra bit of freedom and nothing but fun for a weekend was good for her, plus I love the fact that her and T got time to bond together and make their own memories.

Perhaps I should make going away a regular thing?

Finding Myself Young: Sometimes the best way to overcome anxiety is to be scared of something and do it anyway.


Do/did you spend time away from your kids to do things just for you?

Toni x

Linking with Grace, Sonia & Kaz

28 comments:

  1. Good for you! It's hard but it's so up.iftimg to remember how to be you- not mum, just you, even for a brief period.

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    1. I never realised just how good it could be! I was too scared of everything that could go wrong I never even thought about all the up sides.

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  2. 2 years a long time and well deserved! Sounds like you had a great time and can't wait to meet up at another bloggy thing next time!

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    1. Yes can't wait to meet you in real life one of these days.

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  3. Sounds like you had a great time. Good on you for taking a big step. PS. I need to get out more!

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    1. Haha! I need to get out more without a toddler in tow.

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  4. yes, let's make it a regular occurrence!

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    1. Definitely just need to convince the boys to look after them again.

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  5. So pleased to hear you made it to Problogger (it was awesome, wasn't it?). I didn't do much for myself when my children were little, but once I did (when my son was a toddler), I realised it was OK. Now, every year I try to have at least a weekend away and I think it keeps me sane.

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    1. Before we had her we used to go on a short holiday every 6 months so its been a looooong time between going away. I'm thinking I may have to do it at least once a year now because its nice to have the break. Although getting motivated to cook dinners again and do the dishes myself is taking a while. I miss having someone else cook for me.

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  6. This is so lovely Toni! Good on you, and I totally get what you're saying! (Nodding through the whole post :)) I find it very hard to be apart from Hannah however the more you do it the easier it gets - my first night off I cried like a baby, the second night I was stressed about it and anxious, and then the third time we had a full night away and I had the best sleep of the past two years and it was so refreshing! And I finally realised it is k to be apart - in fact as you say it is good for them and us. So happy you enjoyed Problogger too - I had a ball :)

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    1. The first night I did have a weird crying episode mid conversation with Cate in our room {which most likely was related to missing her although I wasn't thinking about it at the time}. I had the best sleep there - a) I had a whole bed to myself with nobody stealing the doona all night, b) those pillows were AMAZING and c) I wasn't worried about being woken up during the night. Its amazing what a few good nights sleep can do for you. Although having said that I got sick as soon as I got home.

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  7. Absolutely. I love to have time away to recharge and be my own person for a while. Even if it's just a walk or time to spend on a hobby (I play netball). Weekends away with friends are like gold! It doesn't happen very often but it seems to pan out to be about once a year. Wish it were more! Good on you for taking some time for yourself. Your needs are just as important as the needs of your child. Look after yourself x

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    1. I think I really need to get my brain to compute that my needs are just as important. I spend all my time putting everyone else's needs first its easy to forget my own.

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  8. You should totally plan on more time away from time to time. It's good for you in so many ways. We try to get away as a couple at least once a year (to Problogger!) and have our own hobbies and interests to keep us going in between. I loved finally getting to meet you and I'm so happy for you that you did enjoy your time away. Looking forward to catching up with you again next time around!!!

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    1. I did enjoy it once I got over my nerves. Loved meeting you guys in person. Will have to go again next year to catch up with you again.

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  9. Great post. So glad you had a good time.
    I have more recently spent time away from my kids mainly for paddling events, my first time away was a Blog conference too.
    My hub is the same with unhealthy food and doing things differently. I just don't mention it (much) in case he doesn't let me go next time.

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    1. Yea I've tried not to make a big deal about the food situation although it is irritating me, I know its not the end of the world though.

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  10. The first time I left one of mine was when I left my eldest at seventeen months to go to hospital to have the second one! It was a great conference wasn't it! Good on you for taking the plunge and doing something for yourself :)

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    1. I honestly thought that would end up being the first time I left her too! I wish we had of caught up with you properly at the conference.

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  11. This is awesome. Time out is such a necessity for a mumma. I'm so glad you went along and had this break. It's good to release the power, despite it being difficult to do especially the first time away. It's a heavy responsibility and often only realised when finally let go. I'm sure there will be a few more times gallivanting by your adult self now you realised she "wasn't dead". I wish I was there. Stuck in the pits here I'm afraid however.

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    1. Hopefully I get to go gallivanting again lol. I wish you could of come too would've been great to see you again, although I get the boys need you more than me right now... Hope the cast comes off without any huge dramas.

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  12. Good on you - high five! That being said, I have only ever had one night away from my girls, not from fear but I have just never had the chance. :/

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    1. I kind of forced this to happen otherwise I'm not sure when I would've taken the leap. Still not too keen to leave her that much, but if her grandma wants to put her hand up to take her for the night so I can have a night off I wont complain. Hope you get the chance for a break soon.

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  13. Definitely make it a regular thing! I like that saying that time away from your children makes you a better mum. It's so true.

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