As I pack up my belongings and go over for the hundredth time the list that I have prepared for my caregivers in my absence, a sharp panic rises in my blood.  I flush and realize I am sweating profusely and almost in tears.

For what I’m about to do feels about the most unnatural thing a mother could ever do:  Freely leave her children.

In only forty-eight hours, I will be boarding a fifteen hour flight to China leaving my two young children at home with my husband and mother who will watch them while I’m away.   It is my choice.  I am the one who is voluntarily leaving them, leaving behind all my responsibility and going on vacation.  Me, a stay-at-home mom whose life revolves around my children, is leaving them behind thousands and thousands of miles away.

This isn’t the first time I have left.  The first time was not even a year after my son’s birth, after surviving three long months of terrifying post-partum depression, I actually got on a plane and went to South Africa, just as my son was taking his first steps.

Then the following year I was pregnant so I remained at home.  Yet only four months after my second child was born, Sophia, I left again while my mother took care of a newborn baby.

For the last six years, I’ve gotten accustomed to leaving.  I have always felt the same.  Sadness, guilt. Anxiety, excitement
and stress.  I am sad, guilty and anxious about leaving my young children behind.  What if something happened to me?

I certainly don’t need to go anywhere.  Yet, there is this fire burning deep inside my blood.  A strong, unstoppable desire to
travel and see the world.  It is a huge part of who I am.  It is a piece of me that I felt I lost when I had children.

Is it wrong to do something for myself?  Is it wrong to leave my children behind while I travel across continents to faraway lands?  Is it wrong to volunteer in Africa and Central America when I have a responsibility to my children and family?  Or is this the best thing I could possibly do?  Give back, volunteer, see and understand the world and teach my children what I’ve learned along the way. 

All these thoughts will be deep within my heart as I prepare to leave for a ten-day trip to China this week.  I know that I will be stressed in the upcoming days and that leaving will be the hardest part.  There will be tears.  There will be guilt.  There will be anxiety.  Yet, once I’m on that plane, on my way, I will find myself again.  That never-ending wanderlust who loves to explore, see the world and help others understand what they are missing!

Have you ever left your children and felt mixed emotions about it?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by thirdeyemom of Minnesota, USA.  To read more of her blogs, please visit either or

Photo credit to the author.

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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