I Took a Two Week Break from Motherhood

I took a little break from full time motherhood this month while we went on our big Euro Trip without the kids. One of my fears in going was that I might realize that I prefer living my life without the pressures and responsibilities of caring for two kids. What if I went on this trip and realized that I liked my life better without them? Kind of morbid right?

Well to my surprise, I didn't. Just the opposite, in fact. During everything we did I found myself thinking of them and wishing they were with us. Every playground we saw, or new bus or train or car we rode in, I kept thinking how I wished I could share it with them. (Even my gelato. I might have shared.) I saw moms struggling with strollers down narrow alleys and through doorways and upstairs (there were A LOT of stairs) and I glared at them with a tiny bit of jealousy. And then of course I tried to help them, because traveling with kids is hard, no doubt.

We are home now and I'm already neck deep in dirty dishes and diapers and bath time and cooking normal meals for my family. But, I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. Sure, we're no longer dining in the piazza or waking up to a view of the Mediterranean. But we are dining together, and I am waking up to the sounds of my children laughing together over the baby monitor. It's surely not as glamorous or relaxing. But who needs sleep anyway??

I'm already dreaming of the day we get to drag our kids to Europe to show them our favorites and find new ones with them. No doubt, our days will look far different than this trip. There will be more parks and fewer museums. (I'm not mad about this one.) More pit stops for potty breaks and I'll definitely have to carry a bigger purse. But we'll be together, and I'll get to see it all through my eyes and their's. And there is nothing more magical than witnessing the world through a child's eyes.

I guess this all comes down to something I learned almost immediately after Gunner was born and we found out we'd be moving to New York City. Having kids doesn't mean your adventures are over. It doesn't mean you have to settle down and stop traveling or stop following your dreams. It means the fun has really just begun!

I think there is this common misconception that parents don't realize what they're missing out on by choosing to raise children instead of going wherever and doing whatever they want. I worried that once I saw what my life would be if I didn't have my kids limiting where I go and when, that I'd prefer it. But I was so relieved to learn that that freedom is overrated. Sure it was great to have one on one, uninterrupted conversations with my husband. And it was great to sleep in as late as I wanted. And some of our favorite things we did, we couldn't have done with our kids in tow. But, none of that could fill the ginormous toddler shaped hole in my heart. None of that compares to the joy of showing my kids the adventures that the world holds. 

So no, I wouldn't trade this exhausting, messy, stressful, and sometimes lonely lifestyle of motherhood I've chosen. I wouldn't trade it for a lifetime of sleeping in or eating at fancy restaurants. I can say that with confidence now, because I tried it. And I'm happy to say,  given the choice, I'd still choose my life.
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