I’m writing this week’s post from a lavanderia [read: laundromat] in a small barrio in Barcelona, Spain. I’m with one of my dearest friends, Sissy, who right now is on a mission to find an ATM and a panera [bakery] for our morning croissant. This ten day trip has been in the works for over a year.
When another childhood friend announced she was getting married in Europe, Sissy and I jumped at the chance to make a long trip out of it. Our only rules were no spouses, no kids, and no regrets. We should have added “No Guilt.”
This isn’t my first trip away from my family. As a Project Manager specializing in business operations, I’ve made plenty of business trips before. And every year since my son was born, I’ve planned girls weekends with my friends. But this is my first “mom-cation” - my own vacation from being a mom. It’s ten glorious days of selfishness, indulgence, sleeping in, and staying up late. It’s an experience of a lifetime.
So why do I feel guilty about it?
Sometimes I feel that when I gave birth to my son, I also gave birth to a new unlimited capacity for guilt. As mothers, I think we often get trapped into the cycle of mommy-guilt. When our babies our newborns, we feel guilty about doing something as small as taking a shower (what if the baby cries??). When we return to work, we feel guilty for leaving our babies behind. On the rare chance we go out and do something for ourselves, we feel selfish. It can be an endless cycle - do something for you, then feel guilty for not giving enough; live only for kids and work, then feel guilty for losing yourself.
Sissy and I have spent plenty of time on our trip talking about our kids and resisting the urge to buy them every little trinket in the countless tourist shops. We are also resisting the urge to feel an insurmountable amount of guilt about not being home. We miss our children. But our experiences here are once in a lifetime.
If you think about these ten days in comparison to our lifetime, it wouldn’t even register on the map. It’s a teeny fleck in time. A moment, really. And we want to experience and live in that moment. This moment. Guilt-free. After being mothers, working full-time, being the cook, the baker, (and yes, at times even) the candlestick maker, I think we deserve to live in the moment.
As we move our clothes from the washer to the dryer here in this lavanderia, I know once thing is for certain. I can never take a vacation from laundry.