I’m sitting on a plane on my way to Beijing, after what was one of the most emotional nights I have had since I can remember. Tucking the kids into bed and knowing that I’m going into a situation that I know so little about and that won’t see them for 11 days put me into a bit of a state. I always thought of myself as an independent ambitious woman who balanced work, kids and play well, but who could accept that when work needs to come first. My children have always seemed to accept this, but perhaps that’s because those situations have been so few and far between.
I have always been the one to stay with them when dad goes away. Sometimes I have felt slightly envious of the experiences that Braden has had when I have been left at home with two kids, but now I understand that no matter how incredibly exciting the prospect is of what you are leaving to go and do, it’s still very hard to be the one who has to leave.
I’ve been lucky enough to work from home for literally the last 9-10 years. I don’t remember making a conscious decision to not get a real job, instead it just evolved that way. But now it makes me think about just how hard it must be to leave your kids and go back to a real job.
I’ve often had friends say to me that work can be easier than looking after the kids. I’m predicting that is because I have had the luxury of spending so much time with my kids, that they truly have started to feel like third limbs and going to work is not easier than being with them. Maybe this isn’t always the case when you have had to go to work for 40-50 hours a week, from day dot. Maybe the lack of time at home is just plain up against you just can’t help but become a little bit emotionally separated and a little bit strung out and your kids start to become agitating rather than delightful. Where upon going to work does become easier. It’s a harsh reality.
As it’s literally my first time leaving for work for a prolonged period of time and I feel that at least 50% of us are well versed on what this feels like, I thought I might give it a bit of time of reflection. So my question to myself to help me manage this new emotional state, is …..when we are put in this situation when we have to be away from our kids, or simply when we feel like we don’t have enough time with our kids, how do we manage it?
Do we resort to the normal feelings of guilt…or do we choose another path?
This whole experience has reminded me that staying present, and making sure that all the time I do have with my special little humans is time well spent. That I shouldn’t look at my phone when I’m having breakfast with the kids, and I should give them the love, attention and affection they deserve.
We are all starved of time for ourselves and time as a family, so we really need to savour every moment that we do have. As 1 hour, can mean as much as 1 whole day if we truly live in the moment with our kids. We all know the true feeling of what quality time spent brings out in us. Those few and far between adventures that we have, like going camping, when you turn your phone off for a few days and just get back to basics. When you sit around and laugh and play cards together, share dinner around the BBQ and truly savour every moment in each other’s company.
We will always be fighting for time, it’s just the way of our life, but being in the moment can save us from spending our entire lives wishing we had more time and ensuring we never have any regrets about time not spent with our kids.
Work is a part of life, and we all have to do what we have to do, but I think we can all fall into the trap of forgetting just how many moments in-between there actually are when we Do have a choice of how we spend our time.
Time to go. Plane is boarding!!