I generally don’t travel much as part of my job, but recently I’ve had to don the traveller’s hat, stand in queues for visa and brave the 10 hour+ journey across the seas. For someone who has always compartmentalized every thought and activity into two buckets – office work and family work, such opportunities were heaven-sent. Since graduating from being Ms. Ramya to Rohan’s mom/Shriya’s mom, I’ve never ever travelled ‘alone.’ And, I’m sure all you mothers out there would echo my sentiment on how appealing the word ‘alone’ sometimes can be
So, there I was, standing ‘alone’ in the long security check queue watching and analysing the exciting mileu at the airport… there I was, browsing ‘alone’ through all the books in the book store without having to read kiddie books out to my 5-year old… there I was, sipping a cup of tea ‘alone’ at the restaurant reading an e-book…there I was, watching regular Hollywood movies in the plane ‘alone’ – you get the drift.
My packed schedule of back-to-back meetings were full of intellectually stimulating conversations, working lunches, et al. It was refreshing to get back from a typically rushed day to relax in the hotel room to gather my thoughts, make notes and check up on emails without bothering about cooking dinner, ironing uniforms and thinking about what to pack in the little dabbas for the little ones! It was relaxing to be able to step out at the end of the day to go shopping in the nearby malls (after all, which working parent has ever come back home without the promised boxes of chocolates and cookies.) It was lovely to get ready in peace without having to rush to drop kids at the school bus stop (despite the practice of seven years, I still run out of the house with my boy at 7:26 am to catch the school bus at 7:30 am.)
At this point, I think I must mention that I have also been the dutiful mom by having scheduled Skype calls with my kids twice a day and religiously picked up every item from their shopping list and of course, I do miss them
I’ve always been told and have always read that every mother needs some “me-time” and must admit that I’ve categorically dismissed all of it as hogwash. But, after two such official trips, I have learnt to accept the importance of spending some time alone. It makes me a better person – both at work and at home, and, most importantly, a better ‘me.’