Sink Or Swim

Relaxed in Porto Morelos, Mexico, January 2014

Relaxed in Porto More­los, Mex­ico, Jan­u­ary 2014

I was that close to win the imag­i­nary “Mother of the Year” award.

Yoga dur­ing preg­nancy? Checked. No alco­hol? Checked. Barely ate any sushi or rot­ten cheese? Checked. Nat­ural birth? Checked. Breast­feed­ing? Checked. Com­plete devo­tion to that lit­tle cry­ing thing? Checked. Bond­ing with baby using a sling and car­ry­ing said lit­tle thing nested on what was left of my breasts 24/7? Checked. Vac­ci­na­tions and pedi­a­tri­cian vis­its? Checked. Tran­si­tion to solid food with lov­ingly pre­pared meals (WalMart-bought fruit purée and cook­ies counts, right?)? Checked. Walk­ing at 12 month? Checked. Early potty train­ing (pee­ing butt-naked on the beach counts, right?). Checked. Thou­sands of pic­tures taken and shared? Checked. Pro­duced cute tod­dler every­one seem to love? Checked.

And then I made a deci­sion that may cost me a few thou­sands in ther­apy ses­sions when Mark is older.

Oh well.


We came back from Mex­ico last Wednes­day. I didn’t want to leave the place where I finally felt good, where I finally felt like myself. I offered to keep Mark with me in Mex­ico and to stay there for a while. Feng thought it’d be too hard on me. Maybe he was right.

I threat­ened not to board the plane. Of course I did—I’m not that crazy.

I cried as we took off. Mark was just fine, though, a sea­soned trav­eler. I did the cry­ing for the two of us.

We landed in Ottawa. I didn’t want to be here. Noth­ing per­sonal against Ottawa or Canada—I still love this land and its peo­ple. But it’s not where I need to be right now.

I need some space. I need some free­dom. I need to do things by my sched­ule. I need to sleep when I’m tired, to eat when I’m hun­gry, to pee when my blad­der is bursting.

I need some peace and quiet, some rest.

Win­ters are tough here. They are tougher with a kid (all the moms say it, it’s hard to keep them busy indoors!). They are awful when you don’t feel that great. Empty streets, salt-bleached roads, minus-too-fucking-cold tem­per­a­tures, lit­tle or no peo­ple outside—you gotta be strong.

I am not that strong right now.

So I am tak­ing that freak­ing break. I’m going to travel alone for a while.

Yes, I am leav­ing Mark and Feng behind this time. It would be unfair to drag Mark on the road again—after all, he is only fifteen-month old. And Feng has work that he must do in Canada—I can take my work with me.

It’s not an easy deci­sion to make.

Tra­di­tion­ally, dad­dies go on busi­ness trip, go to war—like the Pink Floyd said, Daddy’s flown across the ocean”. No one bats an eye.

Mommy leaves home, it feels dif­fer­ent. Worse—mommy doesn’t even have the con­ve­nient excuse of a busi­ness trip, she is going traveling!

But this is my ther­apy. Some peo­ple take drugs, I take my pass­port and go. I used to travel alone. I love being anony­mous in a for­eign coun­try, to dis­cover a new cul­ture and to walk new streets every day.

I know Mark needs me. I need him too. But he deserves a mother who has it together and right now, I am fak­ing it. He is not stu­pid. He feels it too. I’m not being con­struc­tive here. I was a great mom in Mex­ico and I want to be a great mom here in Canada too but I need to fix myself first.

This is not one of these “fuck the world” trip. I am per­fectly sane (no, really!) and every­thing is planned. Mark will stay with my in-laws in Ottawa (and Feng is here too if needed). And I do have a return ticket.

I feel guilty but at peace with my deci­sion. Judge me or don’t, I don’t give a damn. I am in sur­vival mode.

Wanna fol­low my trav­els, once again? I picked a cool place, I promise!

I am pack­ing and leav­ing soon.


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


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