I just returned from a business trip. My first business trip since having kids, in fact.
Sure, my kids are already 3 and 5 now, but I've managed to avoid travelling for work all this time. Why? The fear of the what if's...
What if something happens?
What if they need me?
I finally put my fear aside and hopped on a plane. By the time I got home, I asked my partner the big looming question I had been harboring for five days now.
"So... how did it go? I mean, how did it REALLY go?"
The answer, of course, was "Fine."
Everyone was fine. Everything went fine. One kid had an epic meltdown before bed one night. The other kid bumped his head. But the days went fine. The evenings went fine.
I don't know what I expected to hear. Did I think the world would end when my flight lifted off the runway? Well no, but I certainly didn't think everything would be just fine.
I am, after all, the circus ringmaster. I orchestrate the elephants, the acrobats, and of course, the monkeys. Without me, I had a slight suspicion the whole circus tent would go crashing down.
But it didn't and I'm not ashamed to say that stung just a little. Because as the mama and the ringmaster, I like being the star of the show. Who doesn't? But to hand the baton to my partner, who plays a central figure in the day to day anyway? It's not as big a deal as I made it out in my head.
And my kids? They missed mama too, but I'd be kidding myself to think a few days break from their mom is going to have a negative impact on them. In fact, a little time without me there was probably good for everyone.
As I return back to my circus ring, grabbing the baton again, I realized the beautiful truth in all of this? The guilt, the worry, the stress I projected for the past five years and what kept me from travelling for work? It was all for naught.
And I think this lesson bleeds into the day to day, too. The school drop offs, the missed fall festival, and signing up for the soccer team too late? I've blamed my work on a lot of things, and I've put myself through a lot of guilt for it.
At the end of the day, whether I come home late or miss an activity or two... the kids are fine. The house is fine. Everything is fine.
This is my circus. These are my monkeys. But us working mamas? We need to cut ourselves some slack.
The show will go on.