Before I left for my trip, a friend told me I'd have an existential crisis while I was here: I'd be no one's mother, no one's wife. I'd just be me.
I've thought a lot about this and have concluded that I don't agree.
I'm still a wife and mother. Very much so. I think about my family every day. Some days I miss them, other times I just think about them. Feeling like I'm no one's mother would surely entail feeling disconnected from them and my mothering role. Which isn't true of me.
Feeling like I'm no one's mother would also imply that I believe the role of mother is dependent on the stuff I do. Tidying, hugging, making lunches - that stuff. I'm very much opposed to that point of view. It's like saying you're only a lawyer while you're in the courtroom. You're always a lawyer, but you're also a whole person - you eat and you go out and you socialise - you do things that are unrelated to your role as a lawyer.
Which brings me to my last point: I feel like her warning implies that I'm only a mother. Nope - not true. I'm Janine, the whole person, who feels passionate about a whole lot of things that aren't tied into mothering specifically.
Which is all a long way of saying that I'm having no existential crisis at all: I'm here, I'm missing my family, and I'm having a ball.