I suck at multitasking, as do most other people if they are honest with themselves. It's been proven that you can't truly multi-task. Maybe you can juggle things well, but how much less are you getting done by doing many things with only half (or less) of yourself present?
I've written before about how multitasking burned me... literally... but this time I didn't even know what was happening until it was over.
At the beginning of August, Kelsey and I attended the Texas Style Council Conference in Austin, Texas, to speak to a group of women about budgeting. It was an awesome experience (our first time speaking on that topic to a group) and we were away from Rooney for three nights.
It was our first time away for that long. The whole "being away from your baby overnight" thing has been a progression for us. Last December it was one night away to KC for some Christmas shopping. Then in March it was a birthday trip to Minneapolis for two nights. And then in August, three nights away to Austin, Texas.
Why It's Important to Get Away
I think it's super important for parents to spend time away from their children. I think it's beneficial for both the parents and the children, and here are a few reasons why:
- Recharge: It allows us as parents to fill up our tanks and rest from the daily stress of being a parent. Especially with a toddler, we didn't realize how exhausted we were with the day-to-day routine until we were able to step away.
- Quality time with others: Rooney gets to spend quality time with other loved ones. When we took our trip to Austin, Rooney got to spend nearly four days with her cousins who are ages 6, 6 and 2.
Other people get to bond with Rooney: Allowing someone else we trust to care for Rooney allows them a bonding experience they wouldn't get if we were around.
When We Were Away
When we dropped her off and tried to say goodbye, she didn't even take her eyes off the tractor she was trying to ride. She was busy. She's a toddler. Despite us telling her multiple times on the ride and as we were preparing to leave, she didn't comprehend what it meant for us to be gone for three nights. She also had plenty of other things to do keeping up with her three older cousins.
When we were gone for those three nights, I didn't really think about Rooney too much, either. I knew she was in good hands, and we did get some video and text updates a few times that reassured us that she was having a blast. It was like she was at summer camp.
Kelsey and I had a few moments of down time where we both agreed it would be great to have Rooney with us just to squeeze for a minute, but all in all we knew the time away was good for both of us.
But every good trip comes to an end, and sure enough as we found ourselves done with all of the conference festivities, we longed to be teleported home and skip the 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. travel time. But, we had to wait. So I distracted myself with podcasts, blog posts and Angry Birds.
Back Together Again
When we finally met Kelsey's sister in the DSW Shoes parking lot for the handoff, it finally hit me, like a ton of bricks. I missed my daughter so very much. I started to get butterflies of anticipation in my gut as I waited for them to pull up. It was like my heart was storing up all the emotions and love I had for her while I was gone. The ones that I usually get to show her every day.
I was so excited to squeeze her. It was an amazing feeling. And as the following week went on, I found myself loving and appreciating my role as a father so much more than before the trip. Our time away allowed for some great perspective on how lucky I am to be Rooney's father. It's an important role for sure, and I've been trying not to take it for granted since we've been back.
P.S. We don't get too much time away from parenting responsibilities on a weekly basis. I think it's because we don't have family in town. I know some others who get a shorter time between recharging by taking a weekly date night and getting a babysitter.