(In San Francisco, during one of our trips.)
There are several differences between women and men. Many are obvious. Others are more subjective, particularly when it has to do with emotions and feelings. As a mom, I often feel guilty. I know it is normal and many moms feel this way. I feel guilty when I do things for myself without our daughter, Alessandra, such as go get a facial or go to the movies with a friend. I know that I need to make time for these things because I also need time to myself and for myself. I do believe that a happy woman, is a happier and perhaps better mom and wife, and simply a better person in general. When I am tired or frustrated, I am less patient and tolerant. I am also less present and in the moment when I am tired or upset. I know there isn’t anything wrong with asking my husband to watch the baby every once in a while so I can find the time to do things for myself, yet I still feel guilty about it. I feel guilty about leaving the baby and not spending time with her, plus I feel guilty about asking my husband, Jim, to watch her on his own after he’s had a long day at work (or a long week if it is the weekend). But, I tell myself I shouldn’t feel guilty because I spend lots of time with our baby and take good care of her. We bond and have quality time daily. I also believe it is good for our baby and my husband to spend one-on-one time with each other.
(Taken during a trip to attend a shooting competition in 29 Palms).
My husband travels periodically for business and for the past two years he has also been traveling to participate in competitions for his most recent hobby of long range shooting. I think it is good for people to have hobbies. It is good to have interests outside from work. A hobby is an activity a person enjoys and looks forward to doing. My husband has several hobbies and when he focuses on one of his hobbies, he becomes an expert, as is the case with shooting. I am glad he has a hobby which interests him so much. One of the reasons why I fell in love with Jim is his level of knowledge and wisdom. He reads a lot and has a high level of retention. His intelligence is one of the qualities which attracted me to him. I knew we would always have something to talk about…and we still do.
(On a flight to San Francisco)
Last year, the baby and I started accompanying him on some of his trips to either shooting conferences or competitions. We went to Las Vegas twice with him and once to Arizona. Alessandra is a good baby, she is not fussy and was never colicky. We got lucky. Thus far, parenting has been lots of work, but just due to the normal responsibilities of being a parent, basic cares, not because she is fussy or difficult. We started traveling with her by plane when she was about four months old. I wanted to wait until after the first three months, when doctors say babies immune system gets stronger.
(Arriving at our hotel room in Las Vegas. See Las Vegas trip post).
(During Alessandra’s first trip to Germany)
Our first trip was to Las Vegas and she was wonderful! After that flight, we’ve been on several other flights and trips with her, as close as San Francisco and as far as Germany. On one of the trips to Miami, my husband had a cold, which I ended up getting and of course, Alessandra also got it. It was just after her first birthday and the first time she had ever gotten sick. I think she got sick because we booked lots of outings and social visits on that trip. Our days were long, which resulted in her not following her nap schedule and probably not getting enough rest. And, as may happen to all of us when we are tired, her immune system may have gotten weak and she was more susceptible to catching the cold. Plus, we were all sleeping in the same hotel room and spent lots if time together on that trip. It took me about three weeks to finally get over that cold. It took Alessandra about three weeks as well, but she continued to have a runny nose and some sneezing for several weeks. The pediatrician had told me to expect the cold to linger for another few weeks and it did. The runny nose eventually stopped and the sneezing decreased. But, for an additional few weeks, every time she would sneeze, mucus would come out of her nose.
(One our way to Miami)
When we returned from Miami, I took care of her to nurse her cold. Alessandra and I stayed home and indoors for about two to three weeks. I wanted to take care of her cold so it would not get worse and result in any health complications. My mom has a friend whose sister passed away from what started as a simple cold, and it turned into pneumonia and eventually her health deteriorated. So, in our family, we are careful when it comes to nursing a cold. I know babies immune systems aren’t as strong as adults, so it is important to take care of them promptly when they get sick. It was the first time Alessandra was sick, and it was heart breaking to see her in pain and congested.
We were scheduled to accompany my husband on a trip to New Mexico for a shooting competition a few days after we returned from Miami. I decided it was best not to go because both Alessandra and I were sick with a cold. So, we cancelled our flight and my husband went on his own. I have never been to New Mexico and had already done some research on things Alessandra and I could do there while Jim was at the competition. I was looking forward to the trip and disappointed when we had to cancel, but of course Alessandra’s health is more important.
After our trip to Miami, I had a conversation with Jim and told him we should plan some vacations with the baby in mind. Vacations which would be around activities she would enjoy and we could do as a family. And, that during those trips, we would need to take into consideration her naps and ensure that she got enough rest. This meant, we wouldn’t be able to fill the schedule with as many outings and social commitments as we had on past trips prior to having a baby. He agreed. We already started making these changes in our travel itinerary. For example, on our recent vacation to Germany was more relaxed than any trip we have made in the past. Alessandra was able to sleep in (wake up on her own schedule) pretty much every day and nap daily. Even though Jim got a cold just before we left for Germany, this time neither Alessandra nor I got the cold.
The reason I provided the background regarding the trips is because Jim is booked for a trip to another shooting competition in a couple of weeks. It is a quick three day weekend trip, but it is out of town and requires a flight and then driving to the location. Some of these shooting competitions are in rural areas and it isn’t always easy to get there directly from a major airport. We discussed if Alessandra and I should join him on this trip. We decided it would probably be too much for Alessandra because it requires lots of actual travel time. I also chose not to join him on a trip to Boston recently because it was a quick three day trip and it would be too much for the baby to take a six hour flight, plus the connections and travel time, just for us to be there for one full day, then turn around and fly back home. The difference is that that trip to Boston was a business trip. In my opinion, business trips are usually something you have to go to, or you choose to go in order to learn, network, or grow your business. But, the trips to shooting competitions are because he enjoys the hobby, they are not business trips. I consider these personal and leisure trips. So, I feel he may have more flexibility in bringing us along on the trips.
Since Alessandra was born, I have not been away from her for an entire night. The longest I think I’ve been away from her is for about nine hours and that was to attend a local conference with Sharp (Sharp Healthcare), for which I am a voluntary ambassador. Jim and I choose to travel with Alessandra. I don’t have the desire or longing to go away on a weekend without her. Perhaps it is because I traveled lots when I was single, and Jim and I traveled frequently as a couple after we got married. I think it is because I would miss her too much. But honestly, thus far, I haven’t had the desire to go away without her. So, we have taken her with us on our trips since she was just a few months old. I don’t have anything to say about parents who like to travel without their baby or need a weekend away sans baby. I respect each parent’s decision, this is simply the decision we have made for our family. Maybe when she is older I will feel more comfortable leaving her overnight in order to go out of town. Luckily, I don’t have to travel for business (which I also did extensively in the past), so I am not required to leave her overnight in order to fulfill work commitments.
(After returning home from the conference, I held Alessandra for several hours as she slept in my arms, I had missed my baby that day)
Since Alessandra and I aren’t going on this next shooting competition trip with Jim, I asked him if he felt guilty leaving the baby and me to go on a trip for his hobby. His reply made me chuckle, even though I wasn’t too surprised, after all, women and men seem to be wired differently when it comes to parenting and the guilt factor. He replied, “Guilty? What? Why would I feel guilty?” I simply replied, “because you are leaving us here for the weekend to go shooting.” I followed up with, “Your reply says it all. You don’t feel guilty. It’s simply a difference between women and men.” Then, I proceeded to explain to him that I usually feel guilty when I do things for myself without the baby. I wasn’t upset. It is just one of those things which are different in men and women. I am also not upset that he is leaving for this trip without us. After all, we made the decision together and I know that if I really wanted to go, we’d join him on the trip. He works hard and deserves to enjoy his hobby. Plus, he spends quality time with us during the week and we have a family day on weekends. And, I know he is trying to make an effort to plan vacations for the family, instead of counting trips where we tag along with him as vacations.
(Enjoying a family day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park)
This also got me thinking about my hobbies. Reading used to be one of my hobbies. Even though I read extensively during my pregnancy and the months following the birth of Alessandra, I was reading pregnancy, and later books about newborns and parenting. I know these topics are important and I am glad I read all those books. I learned a great deal, but it wasn’t the type of books I am used to reading. I enjoy reading non-fiction books, primarily covering the topics of biographies, leadership, business, self-improvement, growth, and psychology. I haven’t read a book regarding these topics in the past two years, since I got pregnant. One of my other hobbies was writing this blog and editing videos. Well, since I got pregnant, I also started writing less often. It is partly due to lack of time because caring for Alessandra is a full-time job and I also have other responsibilities to handle at home. When I do write, I feel so good and happy! I don’t write as often because I also like to finish a post when I start it. I have to learn the ability to start writing, then stop when Alessandra wakes from her nap, and continue writing the same article after she falls asleep at night. It is hard for me. When I start a post, I want to finish it in one sitting. I want to keep my thoughts fresh and write them together, congruently. If I am writing and she wakes up, even if my husband is here to take care of her or she can entertain herself playing with her toys, I feel guilty to not spend time with her. But, that is a whole separate post.
(Family day at a San Diego Padres game)
The conclusion I came to is that I need to stop feeling guilty. I am a good mom! I spend lots of time with our baby. I am the first smile she sees in the morning. I play with her, bathe her, feed her, read to her, teach her, give her lots of hugs and kisses, and care for her every day. I need to remind myself that it is ok to make time for myself. To let my husband take care of the baby on his own every once in a while. I probably won’t stop feeling guilty, at least not until Alessandra is older, maybe it is just one of those things that comes with motherhood…or simply with being a woman.
Do you feel guilty when you are away from your baby or toddler? Do you feel guilty when you do something for yourself or spend some “me time”? Have you ever asked your husband if he ever feels guilty about these type of things?
(Alessandra learning from dad and mom during a family day at the San Diego Zoo)