Recently, I went away for a long weekend with some friends. It was a much-needed break, but it was so hard to get away! The amount of work it took to get my family ready to go four days without me—including handling all of Kaitlyn’s type 1 diabetes care—made me initially wonder whether or not the trip was worth it. When I got home, the house was fine, everyone was present and accounted for, and I was able to reflect on a few things we all learned:
- My husband relearned firsthand what I do every day. He was completely exhausted by the end of the four days and told me that he had a new appreciation for me. It made me feel good and reaffirmed to me that what I do is important. Sometimes I feel that my role as the stay-at-home mom is insignificant and unnoticed, but you know what—caring for five kids, including a child with type 1 diabetes, is really hard work! The time away gave me a renewed understanding that providing love and care for my family is the best thing in my life.
- I learned that the family can survive just fine without me for a few days and that my way of running things is not the only way or the best way. Before I left, I wrote out an exhaustive document filled with every detail about what everyone had to do and when: school, homework, track practice, chorus, field trips, church activities, birthday parties, an all-day track meet, what they had to pack, when to change Kaitlyn’s site, carb counts, what to pack in school lunches, when to give medicines, what to eat for dinner… etc. Most of it was followed to a T, but for some of it, they just did their own thing. They missed a birthday party, ate whatever they wanted for dinner and lunch, and left the track meet early. That was all okay!
- My kids had a good opportunity to work on being more independent. Typically my children rely on me a lot to help them know what to do for their homework and when to get it done. With me being gone and Dad and Grandma there filling in, they had to do most of it on their own. They took the initiative to just get it done.
- My kids got a great reminder that their dad is really, really fun and that I always come back. Dad is the fun one, and I’m okay with that. He lets them stay up late and have dessert and takes them out to eat. He makes it fun for them so that it feels almost like they’re getting a vacation while mom is on one too.
- I gained a much-needed recharge to refresh myself for the tasks of being a wife and mother. I can’t tell you how nice it was to take some time for myself and let someone else carb count, check homework, and bathe the 3-year-old. Don’t we all just need a break sometimes? I absolutely love my kids and being a mom, but it is very much the same thing all the time… laundry, dishes, vacuuming, driving… repeat. Having this trip to look forward to and getting away for a short time was what I needed to recharge my batteries and be ready to get back into my routine.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.