Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,
But still had the feeling that you wanted to stay.
-- Jimmy Durante
I've been a bit quiet on the blog lately because I've been consumed with work and family of late. I was out of town at a conference in Baltimore and have been trying to catch up with my family and my work since I've returned. Since I left I've been trying to get my head around the emotional and psychological piece of leaving the family for a few days, and I'm not quite sure how to do it. So let me ramble and see if I end up anywhere.
I travel a few times a year for professional conferences. They range from one night to three and take me anywhere in the country. I admit I look forward to the trips; I've always enjoyed my profession's conferences. I get to meet up with friends I only see a couple of times a year, I talk with colleagues who I enjoy, and I get to learn a lot of great ideas. Now that I have kids, I am conflicted. I love the conferences for the aforementioned reasons, but I hate to leave my family. I really miss them. So here is one of the odd psychological things I can't explain.
How come I begin to miss my kids the minute they drop me off at the airport, but I don't miss them when I leave in the morning for work? Is it that I anticipate being away and not seeing them for a few days? Is it their cute little faces saying goodbye and asking me to come home soon? Am I making a mountain out of a the proverbial molehill?
I wonder how others who travel a lot leave their kids. I don't even want to contemplate how military families split up for a year or more. That is a whole other topic I can't dream of. Job-Mom wrote a bit about how to help kids adjust when one parent is gone, and she has one for the parent who stays at home. She doesn't really address how the traveling parent can cope. Should I feel guilty about leaving? Should I leave the conference early to come home (as I learned I and many of my colleagues did at the conference in Baltimore)?
Now that I'm home, I've been conflicted on catching up with my work and catching up with my kids. It's a tough balance, and I am dissatisfied with how well I'm doing both. I know that work and home life have ebbs and flows, but I have just been trying to get my head around that experience of wanting to actively participate in my profession and to be a home-body curled on the floor with kids draped over me.
I guess this rambling comes down to two things. From the intellectual side, I'm curious about the nature of missing loved ones and how one manages competing interests. From the personal standpoint, I want an easier way to manage my emotional unease of leaving and wanting to leave.