“How Can You Spend Time Away from Your Child?”

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“how do you spend time away from your daughter?!?”

it’s hard…but it’s not the worst thing ever.

maybe not what you thought i’d say? of course we miss her. i find i need to have one big cry on the first airplane (much to my surrounding plane mates delight) and then i’m pretty okay. instead of thinking ‘omg we aren’t seeing her for 20 days!’  i like to think of it in another way.

in social work and the mental health world, we call this a reframe.

reframing means taking something and looking at it from another, more positive angle.

sometimes i can be thinking, “wow i really miss atlas. am i being a bad mom by not being there every second of her life?! should i be feeling guilty? does she miss me? am i screwing her up by traveling without her?”

here’s how i reframe it:

“i miss atlas but i’m so glad she has so many people in her life that love and care for her. she is learning new and different things from all of her caregivers. she has fun with everyone and for different reasons. she will grow up knowing she has a whole community she can turn to in times of need or for certain skills!”

both statements are true but i’m reframing my mind to focus on the positive aspects of what her parents traveling means.

of course we miss her and yes, when she’s a bit older she will probably come along on most of these exciting trips (i mean, she’s been on 20+ trips so she does come with us most times). plus, this is her normal.

but for now, asking her to be quiet and sit still on 16 hour flights and then jumping from hotel to hotel isn’t fair while we are in australia. she wants to sleep in her own bed, be able to run around and scream outside (we are working on inside vs. outside voice).

plus, she’s coming with us to the united kingdom again three weeks after we get back from australia. it was quite the adventure traveling there last year with her when she was but a wee babe (9 months old)! this will be a whole new ball game with little miss independent-determined-vocal-walking-sassy-pants toddler!

ravery and i get to spend quality time together, work late into the night on our business and do different things than we would do if she were with us. so yes, it’s hard (and we can do hard things) but positive things come from it as well.

what do you need to reframe in your life?

ps. australia is incredible, obviously:

8 Comments

  1. chelsea jacobs

    May 9, 2018 at 8:55 am

    YES. I have a post about this in the works too. It’s all about perspective!

  2. Joanna L Burns

    May 9, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Love this post Chelsea. Atlas will be one well adjusted and happy kid! Think of all the service men and women who are gone for months at time. Atlas knows you are coming back. People used to think I was nuts when I sent my kiddos to overnight camp when they were six. They had been practicing at their grandparents for years. They are confident kiddos, they know how to work with and rely on other adults and make friends when their parents aren’t there. You go girl…parent the way it works for your family.

  3. Amberly

    May 9, 2018 at 10:51 am

    I love this!! I love that you two are giving her opportunities to travel but that you’re also ok with leaving her behind with other loved ones while you pursue your goals and dreams and time together!

  4. Lisa

    May 9, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    “She is learning new and different things from all of her caregivers” is such a wonderful (and true) way to reframe the situation. The challenge, for me, is recognizing those negative thought patterns, so I can look at the situation in a new way. Any thoughts on how to keep from spiraling?

  5. Jennifer Haston

    May 9, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Brava to You! Self-Care

    You are also teaching her balance!

  6. Audrey

    May 10, 2018 at 8:05 am

    From my perspective, it’s 100% ok that you don’t take Atlas every time! First of all, you’re right! She wouldn’t enjoy the hopping around and you’re AT WORK so it makes sense not to take your little one! Also, your parents and in-laws are getting to make SO MANY memories with their little penguin! They wouldn’t have opportunities like that if you whisked her off for large chunks of time over and over again. I think you guys have a great balance! Plus that time alone as a couple is sooooo necessary!

  7. Susan

    May 11, 2018 at 10:58 am

    An old friend of mine-a family therapist held the view that the critical time to be “with your child” is in the middle school-high school years”. That is when they have to know you have them close and are there to support and be their conscience as they mature. As in “ I can’t do that or I better go home now, or my parents will….”
    Glad you are having a great time.

  8. Kate

    May 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I think it’s great that you are able to travel and do great things for your career, and make sure that Atlas has a good routine and loving family members to take care of her! I struggle with reframing my perspective a lot…I get stuck in negativity and worry, and I know it’s something I need to work on in general.

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