Ok, so as you will see all our situations differ from each others. Staci's position on this matter is very common and my view will be different for obvious reasons. Aliyah's father is not involved in her life. Not since she was 10 months old. Our custody agreement gave him specified days and times to have her. This was obviously short-lived and so I never got to experience the full-blown days away from my growing girl while she lived under the other parent's roof. However, she did frequent my moms place (who luckily lived across the street) or my dads some Friday nights. Being a single mom, without the other parent to share the responsibilities, can make you feel overwhelmed and extremely isolated if you don't get the chance to get out on your own. Interacting with other people (and not just the little one) is crucial... just watch the movie Cast Away and you'll understand. Last thing I wanted was to end up talking to my kitchen appliances or something!
I must say I'm extremely fortunate to have the friends I do because no matter what, considering my limited free time, they always made the effort to get me out to do the fun things we liked to do. I got to enjoy myself and let loose because being a parent -and a young one at that- didn't mean I had to give up socializing and partying. People assume that as soon as you bear a child, you're restrained from being the pre-child you. Everyone should be responsible and know their limits but free time is ME time and I'll do with it as I please.
Let's talk about that sting. I know that sting very well. I've felt it 20 minutes after dropping her off. That little pit in my stomach that somehow knots itself and makes me feel queazy. Any mom knows this and its normal. I've gone on vacation for a few days and you must be strong-willed to spend that time away because that feeling is recurring. It was actually Staci's older sister, Shawna, who reassured me that the feeling will actually subside and well... more relaxing as they get older. I do miss her when she's not around or if I happen to be away, but at the same time... CHILDREN need it, too. Spending all your time with your own children has its downsides. They rely on your presence all the time and can become clingy and too attached. We want our kids to be adventurous and fearless and explore the world around them and interact with others. You need to give them little bits of freedom from you to do this. Even if it's staying home with a babysitter... it's teaching your kids to build relationships with people other than yourself which will benefit them in the long run.