Do I Stay or Do I Go?

by Marinka on November 27, 2010

I am undecided.

Earlier this year, I signed up to attend Mom 2.0, a blogging conference in April. I’ve heard great things about this conference, it’s smaller than BlogHer and it’s in New Orleans. Husbandrinka reassured me that New Orleans  reconstituted their police force, and I bought my ticket to the conference and also an airplane ticket.

Because I didn’t feel like walking.

I was excited. I was going to room with Wendi and Amy, both of whom I like to the point of adoration and who worship the ground I walk on in return.   Or at least they ‘re getting really close to not forcing me to sleep in the bathtub.  And some of my very favorite bloggers will be speaking. Like Mr. Lady and Finslippy and Stephanie and Jenny and Heather. It’s like my Blogroll in human form. And because Mom 2.0 is relatively small and intimate,  I was sure that it would lend itself to many Misery-like encounters between us.

But friendlier, of course.

But then I realized something that stopped me cold in my tracks.  Or at least would have if I had been moving at the time.

Because this is the year that Young Ladrinka goes on a week long trip with his class.  It’s somewhere in Lord of the Flies, New Jersey.  It’s a week long trip and they live happily there with their classmates and teachers and without their parents.  And that trip is the same week as Mom 2.0.

When my daughter went on the trip three years ago, I was a nervous wreck.  “You must be prepared to pick her up at a moment’s notice,” I explained to Husbandrinka.  Because my beautiful daughter likes to sleep at home and I couldn’t begin to imagine how lonely and heartsick she would be for us.  Surely, she’d get absolutely no sleep and send us a stream of tear-stained letters.  Except the letters never arrived.  And when I met her on the Friday of their return, she thrust some pre-addressed envelopes into my hand.  “Here,” she said.

There were three letters and I read them all in three minutes. Several times.  “Hi Mom and Dad,” one read, “I had the best time and it sucks that it’s over!”  “Hi! It’s me again,” another one started.  “We’re about twenty miles out of the city, so I’ll see you soon.”  The final one was a real tear-jerker:   “I can see you from the bus, mom!”

Yes, she wrote all three letters from the bus on the way back home.  Apparently I missed her a lot more than she missed me.

But I remember how fantastic it was to see her get off the bus and hug her and be with her after a five day separation.

Do I dare go to Mom 2.0 and miss my 9 year old son coming home from his first trip away from us?  I know, it’s one trip. But it’s the first trip.  And Mom 2.0 is just one conference.  But it’s a conference that I committed to go to.  Not for anyone else. For me.

It’s a tension that I’ve felt before–is my blogging, tweeting, writing, conference and event attending interfering with my being the best mother that I can be to  my kids?

Yes, I’ve said “let me finish this post” or “I’m heading out!” when my children would have much preferred that I stay with them, pay undivided attention to them, be with them.  And don’t all children deserve that? Don’t my children deserve that? Or do they deserve a mother who will say, “I trust that you will be well taken care of in my absence” and “I have a life outside of you, a commitment to blogging that is important to me and I will follow it to New Orleans.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about mommyblogging , and how I embrace the term.  I think about how much my children contribute to my blogging by constantly supplying me with material and by being, without any dramatic overtones, my life force.  And sometimes I wonder if I betray them by blogging, not because I reveal too much about them, but because it takes me away from them.  Never for very long, but daily.  And sometimes for a long weekend.

I’d love to hear your input on this.  Young Ladrinka’s trip is from  Monday to Friday, the conference is from Thursday to Sunday.

Do I stay or do I go?

One year ago ...

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly November 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I would go. I think it’s good to have a break from time to time. While the timing isn’t great, I’m betting he will have a fantastic time.

Plus if you stay home you may end up annoyed that you did, whereas if you go when you come home the reunion will be so much sweeter.

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Lynn MacDonald November 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Go to your conference. I assume SOMEONE will be there to welcome your child home. It’s ONE small step in your Childs life. Tell your child, before they leave, that you know that they’re growing up and becoming independent. Assure them you’re proud of them and then LIVE YOUR LIFE. Showing your uniqueness and that you have your own life is a great lesson to impart. It’s REALLY difficult to ruin kids. Trust me, If I couldn’t do it, nobody can. Just saying…

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Wendi
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm

If you don’t go, I’m getting my tattoo of your face removed from my lower back.

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Suzy
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I think you should go.

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Suzy
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I think you should stay.

Now read both of my comments out loud. Whichever one pisses you off the least is the one you should listen to.

Added bonus to going? I WON’T BE THERE.

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Deb Rox
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I’ve traveled a lot in my careers, and as single parent I’ve missed a lot. My kids say they have loved that I modeled independence and build their confidence and self-reliance amid relative privilege, and I tend to believe them. Through the years I’ve found it is so hard to separate our childrens’ actual needs from the needs we have as mothers that we project on them. I’ve watched my sons’ friends grow, and I’ve seen extremely absent on a day-to-day level parents launch confident teens, and also clingy teens and troubled teens. I’ve seen the same come from very attentive parents. And everything in between. I’ve come to decide that each individual action matters much less that the deeper threads of parenting. You’ll know what’s right, what you can handle. I do know that if you come to New Orleans and for some unlikely odd reason you need to get home, an entire Twitter brigade of smartphone-tapping kick-ass women will rush you to the NOLA airport to be home in NYC in a matter of hours. We might keep your nice jammies and swag and sign our bar bills to your name and stuff, but otherwise you will be well-mama-ed by other mamas who have been there and know that there are ways to honor all of your commitments as a complex woman who is a parent, too. Or maybe I’m just being selfish and projecting all this on you because I want you there….;)

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GrandeMocha
Twitter:
November 28, 2010 at 11:50 am

With friends like Deb Rocks there, how could you not go?

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Heather November 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

What kind of question is this? May I pose a different question???

Do you REALLY want Wendi and me making voodoo dolls without you? If you do, don’t question the sudden pain in your hips and why your hair color will no longer hold.

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Jan November 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Oh definitely go!!!!!!!!! You need to do this for you! Your son will have a great time and so will you.

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Bostulla November 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Go.

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Mom101
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 5:57 pm

After Deb’s comment mine is uh…yeah. What she said.

I’ll be there! Hope you will too. Besides, there’s always Skype to say hi on Friday. Rumor has it a few of the guests will have laptops with them.

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K-Line November 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Oh, Marinka. There is no doubt in my mind that you should go. I think you overestimate how much your son is going to want to have you there on his return (though of course he loves you more than anything). Someday he’s going to be an adult and he’s going to do his own thing. You should enjoy your liberty. This isn’t something you just decided – you have a ticket and friends who are looking forward to seeing you. I hear what you’re saying but I still think going is entirely the right choice. Really.

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christy November 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I feel your pain, but in the end, I think I would go. That being said, I’m already panicking about being away from my kids for BlogHer – and that’s not until AUGUST. AND it’s in freaking CA! I have freaking awesome roommates. Still, I panic.

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Scary Mommy
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Oh, admit it- there is no class trip, you just don’t want to go because I can’t make it. Nice try.

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Peajaye
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I think you should stay. And don’t leave the house the entire time your son is gone. Make sure you have yellow wallpaper in the room in which you’re sitting. Maybe invite your mother-in-law over to stay with you so she can teach you the correct way to make Italian food.

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Donna November 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm

You go. Of course you go.

You don’t need to spend the week of his absence missing him AND feeling bitter that someone else is making voodoo dolls without you. And think about it – it’s only two days you’re missing, Saturday and Sunday. During the week, he won’t think about you or miss you at all, and doesn’t THAT thought make you feel all better?

p.s. my 10-year-old is about to go on a school camping trip to Wadi Rum, in southern Jordan, far away from me, and he has specifically stated that I may NOT sign up to chaperone the trip because “it just wouldn’t be as fun with you there.” Ouch. Why do we have kids, anyway?

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Suebob
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I was going to say something smart, but Deb Rox already said something smarter than I could have written. Go.

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anna see November 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I think you should go. The times I have taken time away for myself have been great experiences for my family. Wow, that makes it sound like life is much better w/ out me, which is not what I meant, although I wonder if my family would agree….

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Yuliya
Twitter:
November 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Go. Because…

a) it’s non-refundable and I hear the Tribe kicks you out for such egregious money wasting

2) you can simply tell Young Ladrinka how excited you will be to see him after his first trip away on SUNDAY (when you get back) that way he won’t even realize you won’t be there when he gets back (I hear kids are slow on the uptake)

or ignore my advice completely as I am the woman who has left her nine month old exactly once because I needed a root canal, yeah pathetic.

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Loukia November 27, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I’m going to say you should still go. And this is coming from me, a mom who still sleeps with her almost 3 year old becauase I’m very attached.

And remember how totally nervous I was to go to BlogHer? And I only stayed 2 nights because I thought my kids would never forgive me for staying the Saturday night, too? Well, as soon as I got home and hugged my boys on Saturday afternoon, they went of and did their own thing, not even thanking me for coming back early and I was left with sadness and depression because I was not going to be wearing a cheeseburger bag on my head that night.

I totally under your stress right now, though. This decision would keep me up all night. Heck, I am already suffering from anxiety over going to San Diego and that’s a LONG time away.

Your son will be fine until he sees you on Sunday, though. Truly.

Also, now I really wish I had considered going to to Mom 2.0!

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Lisa Rae @ smacksy November 28, 2010 at 12:39 am

Dude.
See you in New Orleans.

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Jonathan November 28, 2010 at 3:38 am

I second the yellow wallpaper room idea. Although I might be afraid to turn down mr. lady.

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carmen
Twitter:
November 28, 2010 at 8:15 am

You go. Totally.

Deb Rox always has amazing advice, and this is no exception. When I was at Blogher this past summer, my daughter turned 13. I called her about 10 times with different people to sing Happy birthday.

You are raising your kids to realize that they are NOT the center of the universe, and that’s a great lesson.

Now, if I could just impart that lesson my hubby – Blissdom is over HIS birthday…

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Ann's Rants
Twitter:
November 28, 2010 at 11:13 am

Have a great time. Because if you stay home you become so bitter from all the conference tweets, and your family cannot afford that level of toxicity.

Thank you Deb, for those wise words.

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Mwa (Lost in Translation) November 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I don’t think any child will be scarred terribly by that kind of thing. If you were daddy, no one would wonder about it.

I say follow your gut. If you’d be disappointed not to go, go! Bring him a present or something. Your happiness is important to your family. Fair enough your blogging takes up some time, but how happy would you be without it? I think blogging makes me a better mother because without it I would have gone mad ages ago.

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Maravonda November 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Hello Marinka! I’ve been here reading but haven’t had much to say in awhile…but since we were having a conversation similar to this at work today, I would say…ask the short kid if he minds! He’s going to say no, I guarantee you, because he’s at that age where it’s all about him. That age continues in boys until he is roughly, oh, 65. But I digress. For one thing, he is old enough to understand that it matters to you what he thinks, and he is old enough to be glad to be rid of you. So it is win-win. And years from now, when he says “Do you remember the week in 2011 when I went away and You Weren’t There When I Got Home?????” you can remind him that you talked about it.

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the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
November 28, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Having lived in New Orleans for 4 years, you don’t miss a trip to New Orleans.

Bring him home the most awesome gift ever. An empty cup form Tropical Isle.

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Sheila
Twitter:
November 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Go to NOLA. Buy him a present. Call/Skype on Friday. See him when you get home. Easy-peasy

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Nadine November 28, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Always willing to supply an option — send me! I would be willing to wear a Marinka mask the entire time and would totally keep a voodoo doll of you from being made… promise.

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dusty earth mother November 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Go. He knows you love him beyond words. Go.

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laura @ hollywood housewife November 28, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Go.

But also, thanks for reminding me about Mom 2.0, I’ve heard so many great things about it. Is it sold out? Checking now…

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Hally November 29, 2010 at 7:34 am

When I grew up, my mother was a stay-at-home-mom. Now, I love my mom, but I can promise you that my sisters and I loved the days and weekends when mom wasn’t home. Dad would let us do a few things she wouldn’t and although his cooking is horrible, it was always so much fun 🙂

Besides, you can make up for it by getting him a present while in New Orleans, I’m sure he’ll see it as a bargain 😉

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Gdot November 29, 2010 at 7:35 am

Go…
He’ll need something to talk about in therapy the next week.

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Alexandria
Twitter:
November 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I would be wrestling with the same thing as you if I was in your position. But you should certainly go.

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Jennifer
Twitter:
November 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Well, darn. I wanted my vote to be the tie-breaker. So much for suspense and drama.

You should go.

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Abbey November 30, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Anything with the words “It’s in New Orleans” immediately outranks whatever it is being compared to.

Reply

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