A few days ago while I was at a kids’ birthday, one of the women there was an aunt in despair, telling me all about how her 5 year old niece was having a hard time adjusting to the short week where her mother was abroad for work. I reflected upon the times I had to travel for my blog or on a solo soul searching vacation, and drew a blank as to what to reply to this lovely lady facing me, because I have never been in that situation. When my husband and I both traveled together on vacation and my daughter was still a toddler, she would manifest missing us by getting sick. But when I traveled alone it was never the case.
Let me share with you the reason for that with hopes that my experience might benefit you.
It is nurture.
What do I mean by that? All children are dependent beings and rely on their parents for comfort, help and anything else they might need, and that is nature. By nurture I mean the way you help your child deal with your absence, whether or not he knows you are an independent being, and if he believes he is capable on his own for short periods of time.
Here are some ways you can help your child cope, and the sooner you implement them the better.
1. Make it a habit of heading out and leaving them with their father or caretaker during the day while you run some errands. Evolve into evenings out and have someone else be in charge of their bedtime routine. Why? Because when your child sees that you have “a life” outside of being a mother he begins to accept your absence for longer periods of time.
2. Never do things behind their back, don’t sneak out of the house, don’t say you’ll be back in 5 minutes when you’ll be gone for 2 hours. This builds trust, and once you help that trust grow it will lead the way to greater things and you will be able to share with your child that you will be absent for a few days.
3. Before your flight test the waters to see how your child feels, say things like “when I travel is there anything you want me to get you?” Although material suggestions may not be ideal but let’s face it, it works and in this delicate situation there is no time for other options. Build up their excitement and soon enough they will accept it.
4. Soothe their anxiety by explaining to them that they will be in good hands, walk them through the routine, tell them you will be communicating with them daily and how much you are proud of them and how big they are.
These methods have worked wonders for me, and while we can never rid ourselves of our guilt for leaving our kids for a short while, at least we can have a bit of peace of mind knowing that they are accepting our leave.