The first few months of motherhood felt like prison in some ways. From adjusting to breastfeeding and the many lifestyle changes that come along with the commitment of dealing with a baby who loathed car seats — and whose protests in the form of piercing screams last for hours on end — getting out of the house was something I did sparingly. And even when I did venture out, it was never too far away from home. While I thoroughly appreciate being a stay-at-home mom during my daughter’s formative years, being home makes you a little stir crazy after a while. As a result, I’ve been in desperate need of a change of scenery.
Thankfully, my daughter now seems to be slowly transitioning out of the anti-car seat stage. So when my mother mentioned that she and some other relatives had plans to head south for Thanksgiving, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to get the hell out of town. It seemed like the perfect scenario. The trip is short enough that I could probably manage to keep my daughter from wilding out and if she did happen to become unglued, at least I would be with nonjudgmental relatives who would lend a helping hand as opposed to serving up disapproving glares and snide remarks.
Though my mother was initially over the moon when I told her that me and the baby would possibly be tagging along for the trip, she quickly descended back to earth and killed all of my dreams when she learned that my husband would be unable to join us due to prior obligations.
She went into a lecture about why it’s a bad idea to get into the habit of splitting up your family on holidays and how she couldn’t condone something like that — especially for the baby’s first Thanksgiving. When she was done, she dismissed me as though I was 12 years old again. Then she went on about her business and booked her tickets without me and without further discussion.
I, of course, was in my feelings. Part of me understood the principle. It’s ideal for families to spend the holidays together. However, another part of me felt that she was being a bit extra and dismissive. I was struggling to see past the fact that I had grown weary of being confined to my small town 95 percent of the time. Trips to the grocery store and mommy and me classes left a lot to be desired. Furthermore, I felt secure enough in my marriage to know that one Thanksgiving apart wasn’t going to ruin us, but I decided to take heed to her advice.
Needless to say, my husband was in agreement with my mother. He wasn’t fond of the idea of me packing up the baby and leaving for Thanksgiving either, so I dropped the issue completely. However, I’d be lying if I said that the whole ordeal didn’t leave me feeling a bit stifled and it definitely made me wonder about future holiday plans.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever spent a holiday away from your spouse or kids? Do you consider spending a holiday apart to be a big deal?