The butterflies took over every time I thought about what was ahead. Own time with friends, stormy seas (I didn’t count for the landing to the Faroes though…), fresh breeze pushing us along on daily hikes and hot cups of tea on autumnal mornings. With a sly smile I dreamed of the late summer’s holiday ahead until I remembered the constant conversations with the littlest lady of the family.
“Mum, why do you have to go?”
Well. What can I say?
Mum needs eight hours of sleep every once in a while (even less without interruptions would do) and she would like to come and go without the 7pm “need to put the kids to bed” curfew. She’s missing long hikes and bike rides without constant snack/pee/tantrum/“where’s the chocolate?” breaks. And she’d liked to sit on a sunny terrace with a frosty beer with her friends and maybe even attempt a few dance moves at a night club instead of the living room floor. It’s been a long time and I’m pretty sure clubs have few other tunes besides the soundtrack to Frozen.
Mum has to go, because sometimes she likes to be just her. Not a mum.
There’s been no “don’t touch that camera lens!!” moments on this trip to the Faroe Islands. Nor has there been any kids.
The little hick-up in this “not being a mum” plan is that although last year I took off to biking the west coast of Ireland pretty lightly, this year it was all different. Last year, I was in the end the 2nd maternity leave and for a year I had fed, played, sang songs and travelled with the kids, often alone. This year on the other hand I have worked, traveled for work and for pleasure while my husband has done the same, and our daily life has become quite the scheduling jungle. Sometimes “papa” is holding the fort at home alone. Sometimes it is me. And just sometimes, we are all at home together.
Happy good-byes at the train station. “Mama, I want to go with the big girls”. Maybe next time…
Although the kids seem to adjust to these changes with ease, we do have few routines to make sure the parents get over the separation anxiety as well.
- Skype. If there is wifi, there is a virtual date, preferably at breakfast. Porridge and stories go down the best before busy day at work and kindergarten.
- Schedule. To illustrate what a week or two weeks really mean, we have drawn and attached a calendar to the fridge door. Anyone can add events, scribbles or colour out half the days as they wish.
- Fun awaits. It could be an evening dinner with waffles, or trip to see granny, we try to make sure that those who stay behind have something fun to look forward to as well.
What we haven’t yet marked in the calendar is that this mama is heading back to the Faroes soon after she gets home. And that right after she goes to Greenland and quite soon to New York too. Alone!
If you want to read more about traveling with babies/kids check out Wild Junket’s “Why You Should Travel with a Baby”. And more on traveling without the kids on Alastair Humphrey’s site that I wrote a little while ago: Not the Mum of So and So, Just Me
Pictures: Kate Cornfield