That women are under stress and pressure isn’t a surprise, but what some women are doing about it may be: They’re deciding to spend some time apart from their families during the summer to focus on their careers and their peace of mind.
So after eight to 10 hours at work, instead of coming home to cook dinner, do laundry and drive children to various activities, these women are hitting the gym, going out with friends and focusing on themselves.
One such mother is Susan Hoffman Hyman.
“Since I went back to work, this is my busiest time of year,” she said. “So we decided that I would stay and work … they’d go off and do this fun trip and then I’d come in the middle of the trip and be with them.”
Asked whether she felt a little guilty not having her children, ages eight and nine, around, Hyman, a screenwriter from Los Angeles, acknowledged that she did.
“I felt guilty when they left, when I dropped them off at the airport,” she said. “My son was like, ‘Later,’ but my daughter was bummed that I wasn’t coming.”
Even though she appreciated the time apart, she wouldn’t want it always like this.
“I missed the norm of what we have too much, but to have it for a little while in the summer… I would definitely do again,” she said.
Jess Wade spent every weekday for one month away from her husband and children, ages seven and four, to work on her fashion business.
“There’s a part of it that’s a recharge because you can do all those projects that you haven’t been able to do or have been putting off because your priority list changes,” said Wade, of New York.
Wade and Hyman credit supportive husbands for making their alone time possible.
Jonathan Hyman likes the extra time spent with his children.
“It’s kind of nice because they open up to me maybe a little more than they would do otherwise,” he said.
Added Wade’s husband, Andrew Clark, “I don’t think people question men being gone from their children that much. If you are in a more modern progressive marriage, where you both have a career, there are going to be moments where one partner is going to have to be away from the children.”
Karen Ruskin, a family therapist, said it’s normal for mothers to spend time away from the family to focus on their careers and themselves, but she noted that moderation was key.