I am on a plane travelling to my field’s major international conference and I am absolutely thrilled to hear about the latest and greatest in my area of research focus.
At the same time I am experiencing all of the typical mom guilt that seems to bubble to the surface when I am planning to be away from my family. A quick google search of working mom guilt and traveling mom guilt generates a long list of blogs and news articles describing the incredible lengths that some mothers go to in order to “keep up appearances”.
Getting myself organized for an international trip takes a lot of time including things like remembering to update my typhoid vaccine, packing a travel medical kit, organizing my groups conference materials, and making travel arrangements. Once I have done all of the required work/travel tasks there is no time for making freezer meals, generating detailed daily schedules, and creating elaborate scavenger hunt games for my kids to complete during my absence unless I don’t sleep. And guess what? Sleep wins every time.
I mean, as long as the kids are safe, fed, and generally happy that should be sufficient right? I am fortunate to have an incredibly supportive partner who is more than capable (and willing) of managing all of the necessary kid and household associated stuff that will need to happen while I am away but the guilt still lingers.
So as I type this from an airplane somewhere over Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut on my way to Thailand, I am calling for a full boycott of the travelling mom guilt. Why should I feel bad? I am showing my kids that mothers have different roles to play and this week my role is to be scientist mom on the other side of the world. I am actually pretty sure that they are probably eating happy meals for dinner in front of the tv and wondering how they got so lucky!