Sometimes You Have to go for the Travel Pillow


October 10, 2013 by Katia

“Well, which one is it going to be?” They ask me super politely.

I stand there showered with so many personal anxiety triggers:  a. I’m holding up the line. b. I’m choosing. c. I’m choosing between me and my kids.


Let me paint you an infographic of my moral dilemma:

I am represented by a travel pillow. My kids are represented by a teddy bear. I’m at the Blissdom Conference in Toronto last week and I am choosing my swag.

The travel pillow has a lot of super special features and it’s the comfiest travel pillow in the universe. The fact that I don’t travel much is being deemed irrelevant and tossed aside by my imagination. The travel pillow is a promise of self fulfilment, it’s potential encapsulated in a dark little crescent. My spirit is already travelling to all those future conferences and speaking engagements that would merit the use of the world’s comfiest travel pillow. My grandma’s sister, who I called auntie, is the opposite of self indulgence embodied in a person. She would occasionally buy my grandma an item of necessity such as a bra and explain: this is the kind of thing a person won’t buy for themselves… In her WWII shaped book, buying a bra spells luxury. While I am not a self denying ascetic by any means I’ve always felt the same way about travel pillows. Just the idea of buying one for myself makes me feel like one of those “what-do-you-get-a-person-who-already-has-everything’ Kardashianoid type human beings.

And then there’s the Teddy bear, who bears a different kind of promise, that of my children’s excitement, smiles and laughter. And digging a little deeper will reveal yet another layer of significance, the bear is also a sacrificial lamb – mommy’s token of guilt and regret for missing school pick up and bedtime today. There’s so much potential in the bear too, that of happiness that of appeasement.

“So basically you’re asking me to choose between me and my kids” I ask with a big smile and a nervous giggle. The ladies laugh understandingly. I know there are some moms among them. “Your kid doesn’t know you had a choice” says one of them “just sayin’”. I know exactly what she’s saying. Mommy deserves a break. And they won’t know. Neither will my husband. I could just grab this “future speaking engagements potential” and walk away, but I’ll know. I’ll know that I chose me.

There’s a good choose you and a bad choose you. Sometimes choosing you is a necessity. A sanity saver. Sometimes choosing you is just plain selfish.

Once in public I saw a parent choosing themselves over their child. I was on the subway commuting back from work and in the car with me was a guy in a suit with a stroller. His toddler that he was picking up from a downtown daycare, I would assume. The father was towering over the stroller listening to his ipod the whole time never once speaking to the child. I knew it then and I know now that I was judging based on external parameters only, but it made me sad.

So I chose the travel pillow. So how come we ended up with this?


Easy. My travel pillow was Blissdom itself.



A couple of things before you go.

A. Catch me guest posting today for one of my most favourite writers (she’s going to be famous some day) Emily at The Waiting. If you haven’t been reading her, I’m sorry.

B. This post is a Finish The Sentence Friday post on the topic: Once in public I saw someone…

If you haven’t been reading these ladies, I’m sorry too.

Stephanie at Mommy, For Real

Kristi at Finding Ninee

Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?


33 thoughts on “Sometimes You Have to go for the Travel Pillow

  1. No matter how hard we try I think we always end up choosing our kids. Trust me,I lost the meaning of selfish over almost 5 years ago and never quite looked back. And adorable teddy bear and looks like someone was more then happy to get him!! Thanks as always Katia for linking up with us 🙂

  2. Jean says:

    Well this is damn perfect again and I can’t wait to read what you put on Emily’s blog. I love her too!

  3. Rich Rumple says:

    I’ve seen so many parents in line at stores telling their kids “No” to a candy bar, and then putting a case of beer up on the counter. Drives me crazy! You definitely made the right choice. Besides, the bear could always double as a pillow if needed! 🙂

  4. Gorgeous way to finish the sentence 🙂 Love this. Keep choosing right, and keep sharing it 😀

  5. Just perfect, Katia! Such a creative way to express such a profound idea. I love the way that you describe your “choice.” And you definitely did choose right!

  6. joellewisler says:

    You would never have enjoyed that pillow! It would have been the guiltiest pillow ever.

  7. Need to work on your negotiating skills. I would have tried to talk them into the bear needing a travel pillow for the ride home so you both could have scored (or all 3 of you if you count the bear). 😉

  8. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    Ahhh, the perfect, perfect symbolism of the travel pillow!!! You nailed it- it was almost painful to read, because I wanted that travel pillow so badly! This post was so deep and resonated so very much with me. I feel that pressure on a daily basis- am I choosing myself or my kids? Sometimes I choose myself and tell myself that really, everyone wins when Mommy is happy. That’s true sometimes, right? I hope you had a wonderful time. I have been off the face of the blogosphere this week, which has been great for me, but I have missed your voice!

    • Katia says:

      And I missed yours not having spent much time here either! 🙂 Thank you so much, my friend and I’m sorry for making you crave that pillow. Maybe some day we could chip in and share… And, yes, it’s definitely very important that mama’s happy, because we all know that ain’t mama happy etc… Love you.

  9. So true – sometimes we have to choose ourselves for our health and/or our sanity. However, I think it is in our motherly nature to choose our children. I love you travel pillow/teddy bear analogy. The whole thing is just perfect!

  10. findingninee says:

    I so adore you. I would have come home with the bear as well. What a lovely most excellent and amazing story. It makes my whole self happy. Also, never heard of Emily so I’m excited to read your words over there and meet somebody that you love! Because if you say she’s awesome, she is.

    • Katia says:

      And I you. And I have no doubt you would come home with the bear 🙂 I’m happy I made you happy and you won’t regret “meeting” Emily. She is incredible.

  11. Dana says:

    Now I understand the photo 🙂 You are right – going to Blissdom was for you. It’s better than any travel pillow. Which you wouldn’t have loved nearly as much as your son loves that bear.

  12. Oh, to be a mama. I remember so many times when my mother chose us over herself…and we’ve never forgotten it. 🙂

  13. […] “Well, which one is it going to be?” They ask me super politely. I stand there showered with so many personal anxiety triggers: a. I’m holding up the line. b. I’m choosing. c. I’m choosing between me and my kids.  […]

  14. Sarah says:

    Oh, Katia, I loved this! I felt the same way about BlogHer {that it was for me…. I never had to choose the swag there!}

  15. This is but a little story with such profound meaning.
    I came from a family of 5 and I had to fight for myself. When I left the coop, it was all me…so you can imagine what a dramatic shift it was to be a mom. He always…always comes first…except when he isn’t. That’s when I need to be me. To just be Kimberly. It’s a fine balance that weighs heavy on our consciousness.
    Love this.
    PS. I wanted to be there.

    • Katia says:

      It’s very hard to transition back into a mindset and a reality you were trying to move away from. I can only imagine.

      PS. I would have SO LOVED to meet you there. Maybe next time 🙂

  16. As moms, we very rarely do things for ourselves. The bad thing is I also think we forget to take care of ourselves. I’m as guilty of it as any mom. The bear is very cute!! I would have chosen the same way. 🙂

    • Katia says:

      I know, Michelle. We go into this different mode once we become moms and I guess it’s the way nature intended it, but every once in a while it sure is nice to be reminded of us. Pure us.

  17. kidbrain says:

    I am last in line. This is just a thing nowadays. I’ve made favourite foods, attempted to speak badly pronounced French for the sake of my French-immersion attending child’s homework, given baths, tackled 3 small bodies into pjs, read and read and then read just one more story, and finally after a full day of mommy superhero-ness it’s all I can do not to flop over onto the floor and close my eyes…I’ve met lots of moms who always put their kids first while failing to EVER do anything nice for themselves. The other day I decided to buy a small gift for a fabulous mommy I know who never treats herself. I have sent it anonymously in the mail and can’t wait for her to receive it. She not only deserves it but how often do we wish that something awesome (instead of bills!) would find its way into our mailbox…

  18. You said it perfectly! Right on! You know where to hold them and when to fold them.

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