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2 Bumps

Is it selfish to go out of town on business and leave your kids at home?

I am a customer service representative meaning 40 hours a week I sit at a desk and answer phone calls. My job is not wonderful and there have been many days where I have threatened to walk out without so much as a goodbye, but lately things have gotten more bearable.

Over the last year I started going back to school to become an obstetric sonographer. Because of this, I was having difficulty balancing my home/work/school life so I asked for a reduction in my work hours from 40 down to 32. It helped immensely. My 4-year-old son stopped acting out so much because I was home more, even if I was studying a good bit of the time. My boyfriend (whom I have been with for 3 years) has been very accommodating over this time and now that summer is here, I am going back up to 40 hours/week at work until the next semester starts.

At work, I have recently been asked to be a part of our web support team and assist with agent calls and escalated calls. As part of this lateral transition, they have selected me along with 3 other coworkers to fly from Pennsylvania to Texas for additional training. We will be in Texas for about a week, all expenses paid. I have never been on an airplane before and I have never been to Texas before. So aside from being a work-related trip, this will give me an opportunity to get out in the world on my own for a little while.

My boyfriend thinks I'm being very selfish and that I should turn down this opportunity because it means being separated from my son for an extended period of time, and technically I am still a single mom so he is also refusing to take any responsibility for my son while I'm away. My older sister thinks it's selfish but that it's a good opportunity personally and professionally (and my son would be staying with her for the week if I go and she has 2 kids so my son will be spending time with family). Even my dad thinks it's a good opportunity for me (but he thinks it would be a better opportunity if my son could come with me, but that's out of the question unfortunately).

I am not posting this question to try and win an argument, but to get some other points of view. I am really torn over this decision. What would you do? Do you think it's selfish?

Answer Question

Asked by JrsWif3y at 11:01 AM on Jun. 1, 2011 in Parenting Debate

Level 3 (16 Credits)
Answers (23)
  • For one week? I can't believe anyone would consider you selfish for going!

    It's only one week, it's not going to make or break your relationship with your child. You'd be silly not to go.

    Answer by UpSheRises at 11:05 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • Not selfish at all. Sounds like your boyfriend is selfish in not being willing to care for your son. Doesn't sound like marriage material or very good step dad material to me. He should be supporting you instead of calling you selfish. Enjoy the trip and experience. Your son will be fine for a week away from you.


    Answer by chaiteamomma at 11:07 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • If you trying to take care of home, then do you. I had to do the same thing after I had my son. Money was getting kind of tight and I had to do what I had to do. I was working over 40hrs a week and then on the weekend I went out of state to make more money. I felt so bad doing this, and everyone was telling me that I needed to stay home with my son. But know one knows your financial situation. I did this for 2 months, which work out perfectly for us. He was working out town during the week and came home for the weekend to care of the little one. We did what we had to do to put one the table and paying bills.

    Answer by babygirl0782 at 11:08 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • I don't think it's selfish. I think you need to expand on your personal growth. This may even benefit your career and offer you better opportunities with that company. Perhaps a promotion? I would hope that my boyfriend/SO would be supportive of me. I think he's going to miss you and that's why he feels that way. Is there any way that he can go with you? BTW, we'd love to have you visit Texas!! :)

    Answer by AFairyTaleGirl at 11:08 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • How is attending a training to further yourself in your career selfish? If anything, it benefits you and your son. If your boyfriend is not your son's father, he really doesn't have to take care of him but your son will be with your sister so he shouldn't worry about it. I think it is your boyfriend who is being selfish by making you feel bad about wanting to do this.

    Answer by nmmama09 at 11:08 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • It's for work and if it could possibly help your career, do it... Years ago, when my DD was about 4, a couple of from work went down to Las Vegas (I know, horrible huh?! haha) for a week to help set up a new office.My child was well taken care of and did just fine.... I think the BF is having jealousy issues or something to tell you your being selfish. Do you have other family that can watch your son?


    Answer by monshine2 at 11:12 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • Thanks, all! I am starting to feel better already. And even though this is a business trip, I won't be staying in my hotel the rest of the time. I don't like to go to bars or clubs or anything, but last night I was told if this is a business trip then I better not come home telling stories about our nights out, etc. And I don't EXPECT my bf (who is not my son's father, btw) to do everything while I'm gone, but I feel bad leaving my son with my sister 24/7 for the 5 or 6 days I'll be gone when my bf could just as easily take him on his day off like he normally would if I was home and had to work.

    I know me and the bf don't always have to agree on everything so we dropped the argument last night, but your answers have been very encouraging and I will be making the most of this trip! :-)

    Comment by JrsWif3y (original poster) at 11:18 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • I don't think it is selfish at all. Could your parents help out with your son while you are at the training?

    Answer by riotgrrl at 11:25 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • One week is probably a good thing all around. Your kids and boyfriend learn to appreciate you. It's exciting for them when you leave and when you return. You get good work experience (always good, even if you're considering changing careers). And think what it's like for you, to be away and to miss them, to re-evaluate your life, etc.

    If it was a real problem for the children's caregiver, then I'd get it was a problem, but she seems fine, and your kids will be OK. If it was a week every month, I could see that being a problem. But it's not.

    Sometimes "selfish" is good for everyone, especially a single mom, who needs all the work training and experience she can get. And think how impressed your kids will be with you! Being so important to be flown across the country. That is a good example you are showing them about being responsible and looking after your career.

    Answer by Tracys2 at 11:32 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • Your BF is sounding jealous from what you've described, and his refusal to help out with your son for 5 days doesn't sound like very good stepdad material. Dont' let him guilt-trip you into going over his own insecurities.

    Go. Get out of town for a few days. Relax and mingle with your coworkers, building stronger bonds so that 1) it will help your career and 2) hopefully make your life there easier knowing these people better. If you do go to a bar, you don't have to drink. Check local events and things to do in the area to make suggestions for after-hour fun.

    And buy your sister a souvenier for helping with your son while you're gone.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 11:34 AM on Jun. 1, 2011

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