Mom Guilt & The Childless Disney Trip

A long, long time ago, in a South Texas city far, far away lived four girls. Two in marching band, two in the dance team (they performed with us in lieu of a color guard for all you fellow band nerds out there). They survived three-hour, two-a-day practices in the blazing 118 degree Texas sun, and overnight trips on charter buses to competitions.

Lifelong friendships ensued, and even though NINETEEN years have passed since we all first came together in ninth grade (even longer for some of us in the group), we all still hold a very special bond. Since that time there have been three marriages, four kids, and countless moves from city to city to city, so that we eventually all became separated by time and distance.

The last time we were all four together in the same place at the same time was six years ago, for the wedding of one. But the beautiful thing about these kinds of friendships is that it never seems to matter – time does not weather the things so engrained in our hearts.

The four of us six years ago, plus my sister in the middle (who still lives in NYC).

I say this today because as of last Wednesday at precisely 8:37 pm, the stars all aligned, and I booked a trip to join the other three in Orlando, Florida the first weekend of April.

It just so happens that one of us has worked at Disney World since college, and so in true Disney magic, kids’ and work schedules were shuffled and rearranged and budgets and husbands consulted, and the three of us still spread out across Texas were able to make the trip all at the same time.

I wanted to share all this background, because despite all of it, I still felt (and feel) an enormous amount of mom guilt. And I know, cognitively it’s something I don’t need to feel – that I don’t deserve to feel – but it’s all part of the mom package.

So I’m gonna vent in here, in hopes that it will help someone else out who struggles with the whole “me time” and “self care” movement, and in hopes that I will somehow purge the guilt and allow myself to feel the very-much merited, unencumbered joy of the whole situation.

Mom Guilt Item #1 – Fairness & The Budget

Now, my husband and I have been budgeting and killing as much debt as possible. As a result, we haven’t been on a “real” vacation since he graduated from law school seven years ago and we went to Jamaica to celebrate as a couple. Every time we’ve traveled in the last seven years since has either been for work, to visit family, or attend someone else’s important life event – a wedding, a baby shower, eleventy-thousand graduations.

We. Are. Over. DUE.

And although I’m offered girls trips with my friends quite often, it feels wrong to spend the money on a trip for just me, when we’ve both worked so hard on saving. If we’re going to spend the pennies we’ve pinched, I want it to be together. So I’ve said no. A. Lot.

But this time was a little different.

I already knew we could stay in her house in Orlando for free, and get into the parks for free with her cast member pass, but when I found a flight from DFW to MCO for $138 round trip, I took it as a sign from God and BOOKED THAT THING. I’m determined to make this the most economical trip to WDW in the history of ever. (Because, really, for me it’s more about seeing my friends than all the parks.)

Mom Guilt Item #2 – A Three-Year-Old With a Toy Story Obsession

My husband and I do eventually want to take our son to Disney World. It’s the next big thing we’ll save for once we get our debt tackled. And the timeline for this really got moved up once the Toy Story section opened up, and Teddy became oh-so obsessed with Buzz Lightyear.  And lately we’ve been making the mistake of watching YouTube video guides to Disney travel on our TV in our living room. To the point where Teddy now asks to watch them when we are home. And last weekend had a crying episode because he wanted to go on the “up-plane” to Disney World and then we had the impossible task of explaining delayed gratification and the concept of time to a three year old.

So yeah, he’s crying to go to Disney, and I’m going WITHOUT HIM in less than a month. I really feel like parent of the year, here.

Where Does That Leave Us?

I’m over-the-moon excited, but still riddled with guilt. Is this just what it’s like to be a parent, always? I’m seriously asking here. If you’ve done a similar trip or something for yourself, will you leave it in the comments and tell me how you handled it?

So far, I’ve been generically referring to it as “the Orlando trip” to avoid making my child cry. Yes, really. And I’m even considering skipping the Toy Story section altogether because I want to experience it for the first time WITH Teddy. Am I insane? Am I terrible? Should I just not worry about it? How many souvenirs SHOULD I buy out of guilt, considering Spirit Airlines charges for carry on?

Lol. Help. Me.

This whole heart-living-outside-your-body thing is tough stuff.

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One thought on “Mom Guilt & The Childless Disney Trip

  1. First off this is a re-con mission that Buzz Lightyear himself is sending you on because he wants you to make sure it will be safe for Teddy to join you in the future. (Let me know if you want an official letter to show Teddy)

    Having lifelong friendships that you finally get to see after 6 years at a discount is something you have to JUMP on when the opportunity presents itself. I know your husband is just as excited for you to get to see them and get recharged as you are.

    You will have fun, you will see a million things and think “Oh my gosh Teddy will love this!” and you will miss him. THAT IS NORMAL. And will make it that much sweeter when you take him because you will know all the spots to take him because you already scoped them out!

    He will think whatever souvenir(s) you bring him are awesome and will be so glad to see you after a few days away that he won’t even understand!

    So have a blast, don’t let the guilt get you down and drink a Brown Elephant in Epcot for me!

    **Spoken from someone else who runs themselves down and does not take nearly enough time for self care, but who also went on a girls only “re-con mission” 2 months ago!