Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mother guilt?

Several months ago my very dear friend sent me an email that said something like "I don't know if and when we will come back to live in Australia and I want you to come and visit me in May 2011 for two weeks".
That got me thinking.
Kate has lived in Chicago for a few years now and has suggested I visit on more than one occasion, but I have always brushed it off assuming it was not really do-able for many reasons. When she got specific, a little 'why not' thought entered my head. Kate's question coincided with a friend of mine getting told her cancer can't be cured- so I was in a bit of a different 'head space' and willing to entertain possibilities that I hadn't before. When confronted with the possibility of the death of a friend (who is going okay, I should mention) the question of 'what is important' comes up regularly.
My family is really important to me (for some lovely reading about family read Kate's blog post). Why would I leave them to go half way round the world?
That has been the question that's been really hard to answer in the the decision process- amongst many others- hmm, do you get the sense I am not a swift decision maker? Well. I have been too-ing and fro-ing since Kate asked me and guess what- I have decided to go. As I was thinking about it I got offered an extra day a week work for 12 weeks, so that will pay for my ticket so that's the financial bit largely sorted.
But, oh, the questions raised- besides the 'should I be contributing to polluting the world by participating in the airline industry' ethical ones, the personal ones.
Do I 'deserve' this? Would this mean I am a 'bad mother'? Should I feel guilty? And all of that marlarky- not all of it helpful but really interesting to see what feelings and thoughts it has bought up for me.

Gee, and guess what I have remembered? I like travelling, I like planes, I love my friend Kate (not that I had forgotten that Kate!) and I can't wait to visit her and her family and I will also get to visit my cousin (in law)  Natasha who has promised to take me to her 'locals' (fabric stores of course, not pubs- priorites!). I am enjoying thinking about my trip and planning it. Dare I say, getting a tad excited! It's a shift in thinking for me- rather than thinking about myself in terms of my home roles or work roles (which I pride myself on)  I am thinking about just, well, me. Slightly uncomfortable because I am possibly not used to putting my needs and wants high on the priority list. But, I am really looking forward to remembering that, hey, I can negotiate an international airport- I do have skills other than those that have been regularly practiced over the past 10 years.
And my family? They will be alright. I am vey lucky that Mr. Apple works on the farm so he often walks down to the bus stop with the children and gets them aften school- gosh, he's the preferred parent for afternoon tea preparation because he makes the best milkshakes. So the day to day running of the place wont change that much. I will really miss them and they will miss me, but we'll all be okay. They will become abit more resilient, I will become abit less of a control freak (!) and hopefully we'll all be the richer for it upon my return.


  1. Wow! This is exciting and adventurous and brave. I really enjoyed this post as it raises so many points about our lives & choices as mums. I love that you are going for it and I hope it's a fantastic trip. Now that you have inspired me I'm dreaming of my own adventure...hmmm....Italy, I've always wanted to go there...x

  2. Excellent. Good on you. Sometimes it’s just got to be about YOU.

  3. Can't wait to see you! that must be a H thing - my dad was always the best at making milkshakes too!

  4. I think it's great that you are going and very brave. I don't think I could leave mine but they are a lot younger! Left them at the neighbours for a couple of hours last weekend and I felt a bit stressed...makes me sound like a Hover Parent. I think you'll have a ball but miss them all at the same time.

  5. I think it's definitely a good thing. And think how happy you will be to see them when you get home! Just that is almost worth going for.

    Not that I think you are ANYTHING like my mother, but she keeps talking about how she wishes she was 'going somewhere interesting' and when we say why doesn't she - for the first time ever she has enough expendable income to make it not even harder than a second though - she says 'oh, it's just me, it doesn't seem worth it'. Although she is planning a trip to Ireland to gate crash my sister's year of independance. I guess it's only angry-making in the context of it always being about her even when she's pretending it's about us, but I find her 'oh, it's all about my girls' schtick, when we are both grown up and WELL out of home, a bit icky.

    Again, I TOTALLY don't think that's you! But I think a good reminder or two that you all choose to be a family, as well as being gifted with each other, but that you are yourselves within that family, is not a bad thing at all.

  6. You will come back better for it, and the kid's will have a new appreciation of their mum, I'd say. I get so many cuddles etc after a sleepover! Well done for you, what a great itinery!

  7. Good on you!
    That bloody mother guilt is a terrible thing that most of us carry around with us. Always jumping out and blowing raspberries in our faces when we stray too far from our roles as Mum.
    So pleased that you're blowing a raspberry back!
    Would love to follow your lead ... hmmm maybe next year to see a girlfriend in NZ...(seed planting itself in brain ....)
    Have a wonderful time and a fabulous reunion with your tribe when you get back.

  8. Oh how exciting!
    I'm sure it was the hardest decision to make and you'll miss them like crazy but wow, what a fabulous thing to do. Yay! You go girl and I cannot wait to hear all about your adventures when you return.

  9. This is fantastic.
    ... you're a fantastic mother demonstrating to your children good decision making and planning and showing them that life is about adventure and friends. This is what you want for them when they are adults ... and they will learn if from you. Good on you!


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