Guilt, It Is What’s For Dinner

by Jodifur on August 3, 2010

When I am at BlogHer, later this week (shit, I really need to pack), Michael will be staying with my sister, and his favorite person in the world, my nephew.  And for some reason I feel tremendously guilty about this.  Last year, when I went to BlogHer, I left Michael with Doug and never thought about it again.  But due to the worst timing in the world Doug also has a conference this weekend.  And I originally wasn't going to go to BlogHer.  But Doug got really sick of my whining and convinced me to ask my sister, and she gladly accepted (because she rocks), but still, I feel bad.

I feel bad for my sister, who has her own life, and her own family, and is taking on my own (challenging) child.  I feel bad for Michael, for leaving him to go to BlogHer.  Let's be honest here.  Blogging is a hobby for me.  It is not my job.  I leave Michael to go to my job 3 days a week, and I don't normally feel guilty about that, but just recently he gave me a hard time about not going on field trips this summer, which seemed to always be scheduled on days I could not get out of work.  And now, I'm leaving him again, for BlogHer.  I'm not going to BlogHer to "make contacts" or "build my brand" or for "work."  I'm going to BlogHer for fun.  And because I want to.  I'm leaving my child, because I want to.

Doug is too, but for some reason he has absolutely no guilt whatsoever.  How is it that moms and dads are built so differently?  And I know other people are leaving their kids.  Lots of people are traveling with their spouses.  Doug and I are essentially taking separate vacations and dumping my kid on family.

This is ok, right?  I know my sister doesn't mind, I've asked her like 20 times.  I've offered not to go any which way but Sunday.  And if it is a disaster I'll be home on Sunday.  (For the record, Michael told me he is always good for Aunt Heather and Aunt Heather, like Nanny, never gets mad at him.  He also used the expression "for the record."  I'm raising my clone.)

I just want to be able to relax at BlogHer and not worry about Michael.  Or my sister.  Anyone have any drink tickets they are not using?

***Please wish my mom a Happy Birthday.  She is the one who is making sure Michael gets to his field trip on Friday on time.  Thanks Mom!


Miss Grace August 3, 2010 at 7:53 am

It will be fine.
And you are just FULL of apologetic guilt.
And it will be fine.

cagey (kelli oliver george) August 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

I have been shoveling down hot, steamy spoonfuls of guilt lately, too. Mostly, because my husband works so hard and here I am flitting off to NY for a weekend of sheer FUN.

Aunt Crazy August 3, 2010 at 8:22 am

Don’t feel guilty!!! In order for you to be the best mom you can be, you need a break, you need to do stuff JUST for you on occasion. It’s not like you leave him for fun every week or every weekend. Working is a necessity, but sometimes, so is some mom fun. I wrote a post about Mommy Guilt…

Leandra August 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

I think the mom guilt just comes with the job, much like stretch marks and saggy boobs. Men don’t get those either, dammit. Try not to stress out about it too much. You deserve some fun in your life, too. And my children are ALWAYS better behaved for other people. It will be fine. Go. Have fun!

Mel August 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

Happy birthday to your mum.
I could have easily written this. Josh feels sad when he goes to work, but I feel guilty. How are men and women made so differently and are there men who feel guilty and women who literally never feel an ounce of guilt when they are away?

Corey Feldman August 3, 2010 at 9:36 am

I don’t think it is a gender issue. I have had to travel a bit this year for work, and I always feel guilty leaving Melissa and the boys.
Happy Birthday to your mom.

Jessi August 3, 2010 at 10:32 am

Some of us are just more prone to this kind of guilt. But yes, it’s fine. You’re fine and Michael will probably be a better person for spending some time with your sis. Also, Happy Birthday Jodi’s mom!!

Katie August 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

Believe it or not, children are not traumatized by being left with family they enjoy for a few days, nor are they traumatized by their parents being away a handful of days out of the year. He’ll be just fine :)
My mom used to have to leave for various conferences 2 or 3 times a year, and she’d leave me with my favorite aunt/uncle/cousins, and my brother with his – we always had a blast and hardly even knew mom was actually gone.

Kari Weber August 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

Happy Birthday Jodi’s Mom!
AND- I take my boys (5 and 16 months) to my sister-in-laws on Thursday for a week because my husband and I get to go to Hawaii for a wedding. I feel AWFUL! I know my 5 year old will have a blast and understand that we are coming back. I know he understands time. But my baby?! How do you explain that you are coming back, when coming back doesn’t happen in an hour? or a few minutes? I am afraid that he will be walking around saying, “Mom? Mom?” all around my SIL’s house, and won’t recognize me when we return… I couldn’t afford to take the kids due to my 5 year old requiring another plane ticket. I could have taken the baby… but then how do you take one and not the other?! I am excited to go. But I am devastated that my baby won’t get the snuggles he loves… and what if they don’t know the best way to get him back to sleep? And what if they don’t know how he likes this or that or a million other things??? I know he will be fine. BUT knowing and feeling are two different things. I feel you Jodi. But I also know that my husband and I NEED this. And I think that you NEED this blogHer conference. JUST. FOR. THE. FUN. Michael will be fine. Any boy that can say, “For the record…” will be fine.

Janine (@twincident) August 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

OK, for the first time I DON’t feel guilty for going to a conference. Last year I went to 3 conferences and felt terrible guilt for each one. This year this is my one and possibly only and I know I will come back recharged as a blogger, businesswoman, and parent.
It’s also a great time for my kids to bond with their friends, and their dad (in our case). Plus, not flying helps me feel less guilty too.
I hope you can find your “I deserve this” groove. I am a tweet away if you need a reminder (or a drink)!

cindy w August 3, 2010 at 11:58 am

Last year I felt guilty for leaving, because I’d never left my husband on solo-parent duty overnight before. And our daughter was only 2, and she seemed SO little.
This year? Whatever, man, I’m OUTTA HERE. And they’re going to have a blast while I’m gone, since Mommy is usually the stick-in-the-mud who makes everyone STICK TO THE ROUTINE. He’ll probably let her have chocolate right before bed. And you know what? It’s fine. We all need a break every now & then.

baltimoregal August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

IT’S FINE. I’m sure you will have plenty of chances to make it up to your sister, whatever the damages (which will probably be minimal to none).

Solmaz August 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm

That’s why they say it takes a village. Just be grateful you belong to a great village!

flutter August 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

You are allowed to take a break, have some fun and do something that is just for you

Mom2shoo August 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Do.Not.Feel.Guilty. You deserve a break. Everyone does. Wy moms think they don’t (myself included) is beyond me. My husband never feels guilty when he gets to do things by himself. And, trust me, your son will have an awesome time and likely ask you to leave again. (I always love coming home to “why are you back already”. Warms a mom’s heart, I tell you).
Have a blast!

Colleen August 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Michael will probably have an all out blast with his aunt and cousin. He’ll probably be no trouble… because the whole situation is novel. Zoe and Ana are staying home with Nick… and I still have pangs of guilt though. Like you… this weekend is totally about doing something selfishly all for my own fun, enjoyment and learning. Nick took a day off work so I could go. I feel guilt… although I know I shouldn’t. Hell, I haven’t done anything all on my own for 5 years. I deserve it.
Sort of a slightly different but related topic. My sister-in-law has 3 kids. She is constantly offering to pick up Zoe and add to her chaos. I barely ever accept or ask for her help though. I mean… she has 3 kids of her own. She loves it though. She’d take on Zoe AND Ana all weekend if I asked her.

mary August 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

You will be better off for having gone and recharged yourself with your friends and that means you will be a better mom and wife when you get home. Also, Michael likely will be better off knowing that there is a whole other family that loves him too and can take care of him (although of course not as good as you, just a smidge less well).
On another note I thought of you today when we were at Target and they seem to make 8 x 10 1/2 single subject wide ruled notebooks and 8 1/2 x 11 single subject college ruled notebooks BUT NOT 8 1/2 by 11 single subject wide ruled notebooks (and I can’t believe they want second graders to have college ruled — the supply list just said 8 1/2 x 11 and didn’t specify the width of the lines). I am likely over analyzing this as that is what law school does to you even if you are a recovering lawyer but I remain annoyed. I HATE shopping for school supplies as a mom (I loved it as a kid).

Safire August 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm

You only have one child mommy guilt. I have 3. We’ll totally be fine, I hope! And you can have all my drink tickets.

ParentopiaDevra August 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Aviva and I will both be at BlogHer. We can leave guilt reducing messages on your hotel room voicemail. What’s your room number?

The New Girl August 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

Yes, sister. *I* will have some extra drink tickets with your name on them.

Issa August 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm

You can have all of my drink tickets.
For me it’s a hobby too. I felt so bad last year leaving my kids. I would this year, but mine are in the land of Grandma is cool.

Heather August 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I am really looking forward to this weekend. It is going to be so much fun. And Michael is correct I never get mad at him. Have a great time at Blogher and take worrying and feeling guilty about leaving Michael with me off your list.

AmandaJo August 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I’m not going to Blogher, so I won’t be able to give you booze, which means I such, but have a great time. Your boy will be fine, and lots (AND LOTS AND LOTS) of people are doing it just the way you are. No guilt. Just fun.

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