I’m going to my sorority conference this week, which means Dad’s in charge at home. Unfortunately (for him), that means he has all mom-chaffeur duties. Unfortunately (for him), the kids have about fifty-eleven activities this week. And these are the ones I really wanted to attend, the culmination of all the previous mom-miles and waiting hours I’ve put in to practices. Cue: violins and mom-guilt.
Mom-trips are different than dad trips, though, aren’t they? My husband travels a lot for work and when he does he packs his bags, says “bye,” and leaves. That’s it. Pretty easy. With me leaving, my last day home is pretty busy.
Checking the grocery list. Making sure the fridge is stocked with the makings for sandwiches, milk, fresh fruit, easy to cook dinner options, snacks for all the activities. Of course, when I get back, with the exception of the snacks, all this will still be sitting here, fruit getting soft, and to-go containers will be stacked in the trash.
Doing hair. At least the two oldest girls can do their own hair. And the youngest would be fine except that she swims e.v.e.r.y. day and unfortunately she doesn’t have that braid and swim and keep moving hair. The best I can do is put her hair in a couple braids, leave a big bottle of conditioner and cross my fingers.
Downloading my brain onto paper. I’ve got my routine and who-to-call-in-an-emergency in my head and on my phone. For Dad and kids, I’m printing out the family schedule, with notes on directions, other folks we know who will be there, and packing lists for each event. With full knowledge that I will still get several texts per day about where someone is supposed to be, or I’ll find out when I return that they just skipped some activity.
Packing a book and crochet. Okay, that’s anytime I leave the house, but this takes special thought because whatever I take, I’m stuck with until I get back. Unless I go to a bookstore or find a yarn shop while I’m gone.
Getting in my last hugs. Every time I leave my kids, and it’s not even that often since there’s not too many full-time mom reasons to leave the kids (not legal ones anyway), I start missing them before I even leave. I get this weight of sadness of all the things that I will miss while I’m gone. I kinda hope that all my
whinings reminders of “put your plates in the sink,” “hang up your towels,”
“get your summer work done” will kick in while I’m gone, my voice ringing in
their heads. At best, this new-found
responsibility will continue when I return.
Or worse, what if they realize how much they can get along without me,
that I’m easily replaceable by Uber, Chinese take-out, and a housecleaning
service? Leaving can be a bit risky.
Here I go. Packing my bags, hoping my family will be intact and take me back on my return.