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.
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.