The Balance

Fourteen years ago, I had a successful career as a journalist and a busy personal life that included frequent trips abroad. I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, went diving with dolphins in Honduras, scaled the Acropolis in Athens, and surfed the waves off the coast of Spain.

When I became pregnant, I traded my power suits and pumps for khakis and loafers. I exchanged my night courses for night feedings. I packed away my suitcases and purchased a diaper bag.

Sometimes, late at night, after baths, prayers and two readings of Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse, I found myself longing for my old life. I did not regret giving up my career to stay home with my children, but I did miss the stimulation I got from traveling to foreign countries. Trips to the park and Gymboree were not enough for me. I wanted adult stimulation.

Finally, my husband decided I deserved a vacation from motherhood. He sent my mother and me to Paris, where we spent seven glorious days touring museums, monuments and chateaux. I came home refreshed, rejuvenated, and anxious to spend time with my family. Since then, I have made it an annual event to take a trip without my children.

My husband is supportive and encouraging of these trips. He is able to see the benefit of giving me time to nurture my soul. He also enjoys the one-on-one time with the kids. I have encountered people who think my decision to leave my children at home is selfish and neglectful. Some have even suggested that I must not like being a mother. This is preposterous.

I love being a Mother. I love picking my daughter up from the bus stop, then splashing with her in the puddles on the way home. I love getting to know my son’s schoolmates when I volunteer in his classroom. I love making caramel apples for the Fall Festival. I love that I am the one helping my children with their homework, cooking them healthy meals, and tucking them in at night. I love knowing that I am raising two people who will grow up to make positive contributions to society. But, I also love to travel to foreign cities, to immerse myself in another culture. I love to go to a bistro and order dinner knowing the only meat I will cut is my own.

Someone once told me that motherhood is all about compromise. I don’t think that is true. You don’t have to compromise yourself or give up the things you enjoy, like traveling solo, just to be a good mother.  Motherhood is all about balance.  It’s finding that perfect pose that allows you to walk the tightrope that is your life.  Sometimes you will be graceful, sometimes you won’t.
The trick is just to get from one side to the other.


TAVA... said...

So true Mama...so true. Great post! I have more to say but I just woke up and I'm really groggy...

Unknown said...

Let's plan on doing some soul nurturing together!

Stephanie said...

Even though I do not know what it is like to be a mother, I completely agree with your vision of a well-balanced life. Let's face it: a happy mom makes a happy home!

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Lindsey said...

I don't have kids yet, but I totally agree with you. If your husband agrees with you, then no one else matters! It works for your family, and that should be good enough!

Petit Minou said...

When my children were smaller I used to pop across to Paris from England with a friend for a 'culture fix' - museums, theatres, the ballet, restaurants etc. Now the girls are older they come with me, because I used to tell them what I had seen when I was away, and they wanted to experience the things I was so passionate about.