Last week the hubs and I stole away for an early 5 year anniversary trip to sunny southern California (I know personal travel and NOT business travel! woo hoo!). We surfed, we sailed, we went wine tasting– it was amazing and wonderful and so refreshing to be together with nothing to do but enjoy each other’s company. I have to admit it felt strange at first, without the kids, I felt like I was constantly forgetting something But the feeling quickly dissipated as I realized the sheer JOY of being able to shower AND pee uninterrupted. Now don’t get me wrong, leaving the kids for any amount of time ALWAYS brings about feelings of mommy guilt (you know what I am talking about– the fear that the kids will feel you have completely abandoned them, no longer love them and that you will never come back) – it is pretty awful stuff. I have not yet figured out how to avoid the gut wrenching guilt whenever I leave the kids; but this trip helped me better understand the benefits of RESPITE.
I have often heard the term, usually in the context of caretakers of the elderly that are exhausted and need ‘respite’ from their role as sole provider (a noble and understandable need) but have always felt the term (whenever I tried to apply it to myself as a Plane Jane) was plagued with just a little bit judgment…like the feeling you get when everyone else in the office is eating at their desk-working through their lunch break– and you are the only one heading for the door; soooo ready to escape the phones ringing and stress– even for a 30 minute break. There is a feeling of ‘leaving your post’ or ignoring responsibility. Even though we ALL know that we are better people, better employees and better parents when we have an opportunity to rejuvenate and re-center ourselves.
Anyway, I was trying to reconcile the problem of guilt vs. respite so I did what any ex-English student would do and looked up the word. I swear it was like being punched in the face with a bag of puppies; the term Respite come from the Latin word ‘respectus’
Respectus as in RESPECT? Could it actually be that by making sure we take time to recoup, refresh, (especially as a Plane Jane) it is an act of respect? I promise you that as soon as I read that I got it. I understood why (even though the guilt will never go away) I HAD to take time– it is not because I am selfish, or don’t love my kids– it is because I RESPECT them. I know I am a more patient mom, a silly mom, a mom that is willing to say ‘poopy diaper’ in a funny voice in the middle of the grocery store to make my 3-year-old stop crying when I feel filled, rested, and my relationship with my hubs is in a good place.
Respite time or RESPECT-TIME is essential friend
Respite time or RESPECT-TIME is essential friend. If you have an opportunity (maybe it is just turning on Go Diego Go for 30 minutes so you can take a moment for YOU) is not something that should plague you with feelings of guilt, but instead make you feel like mommy of the year– you are respecting your kids when you take time to keep yourself YOU.
When was the last time you took some respect-time?