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5 Stages of First-Time Separation Grief

Time to party.

This past weekend, I did something I've never done before as a mommy. Something wild. Something crazy. Something I never thought I'd ever get a chance to do again.

I went away for the weekend without my kids.

Yes, I did it. I went on a girls weekend with my college friends to attend our college reunion. We planned the trip a full year in advance, but I will still so nervous to go away for a weekend without my kids. (Even though my husband was home with them The. Entire. Time.)

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Now that I'm back, I can honestly say: it was great. Amazing. A wonderful experience that I'm so glad to have been a part of (thanks to my husband for insisting that I go). The kids are totally fine, the house didn't burn down, and I had nothing to be worried about in the first place.

But, if you're planning to be away from your kids for the first time ever, there are some things you need to know. You're gonna go through some things. I call them: the five stages of being away from your kids for the first time ever.

Stage 1. Denial

I'm not going away by myself. Is this really happening? How is this happening? Is the world about to come to an end?

Stage 2. Anger

Why can't I leave my house without feeling a huge wave of guilt? A man would never feel guilty about going away for a weekend. I should be more like a man! Why was I born a woman?! Why me, dear God? Whhhyyy meeeee?!?

Stage 3. Bargaining

I'm going to be fine. This is going to be fine. I'll just do a little FaceTime chat with the kids to assure myself that everything's okay at home, and then I can go and enjoy my weekend.

Stage 4. Depression

The video chat was fun, but now I miss them even more than before. I'm not going to be there to kiss those little angels good night? [By now, I've been away from them for about four hours, long enough to forget the messes, the whining and general mayhem I've left behind at home.] How will they sleep if I don't sing "You are my sunshine" to them three times in a row, while rubbing their backs in union, in the voice of their favorite cartoon character? How will they go to sleep? HOW WILL MY PRECIOUS LITTLE BABIES SLEEP?!

Stage 5. Acceptance

Who cares whether or not they sleep? After all, I won't be there in the morning to deal with the cranky behavior, complete with throw-themselves-on-the-floor tantrums. That's my husband's problem since he's there and I'm not. All those times I got woken up in the middle of the night and he slept blissfully while I stayed up half the night? Payback, sucker!

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BECAUSE IT'S MY WEEKEND AWAY! And I'm going to enjoy every second of it. I'll pretend I'm single again. (And by single again, I mean a person who takes a shower without a tiny human opening the shower door every three seconds, a person who sleeps through the night without being disturbed, a person who is allowed to eat her meal without having to cut up the pieces of her breakfast/lunch/dinner companion's food first.)

Time to party!

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Image by Brenda Janowitz

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