Last week I did something I’ve not done in years. Something that, as a single girl — or even a married woman without children — I wouldn’t have thought twice about.
I went on holiday for a few days.
Without my children. Without my husband.
I had been invited away by one of my best friends; with some of her other close friends and family members. And a couple of Fridays ago eight women — who’d all been let off the parental leash — skipped off to various airports; and boarded flights to Portugal.
The Great Escape
Now, as a married woman with two small children, this is something that takes an inordinate amount of planning. And a lot of generosity on the part of your partner. Our twins are now two and a half and this is the first time I’ve ever left them for any length of time; without my husband in tow.
Any occasion I’ve left them over the last couple of years, I’ve been with their daddy (generally because we’ve managed to wrangle some childcare and gone to a festival) but the most I’ve been away for, by myself, since the boys were born is one night.
Four nights, away from motherly duties.
Three days of adult conversation (apart from the Karaoke and cocktail night — there wasn’t much adult conversation to be had that evening).
Being able to get up (or go for a nap) whenever I wanted; go to the toilet without an audience.
It was a blast from the past, not to have anyone to answer to and I’d *almost* forgotten what it was like. It was lovely to be able to read a magazine from cover to cover, drink a hot cup of tea. Eat my breakfast without any distractions (Mama, I’ve dropped my spoon/more toast mama/JUICE MAMA!!).
Laze about. Who does that these days?
The weather was a bit mixed; grey skies and a little bit of rain but, even so, it was heavenly.
5 thoughts on leaving my children.
1/ It’s important to do this every once in a while.
Just to rediscover yourself again. Although you’re a wife and mother, you’re also an individual. No labels. It’s lovely to just be yourself —even if it’s just for 24 hours.
2/ Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
I missed my three boys SO much. As they did me.
I Face-Timed them, a couple of times whilst I was away, so I did see them but it’s not the same as being in the same room. Or even in the same country. Coming home was as exciting as going away in the first place. Genuinely.
3/ The joy of a hot, uninterrupted drink should never be underestimated.
This is something you wholly take for granted, pre children. As a mother of twin toddlers I can tell you that it’s something to be treasured.
4/ It’s just as important for your partner to have some one-on-one (or in our case, one-on-two) time with their children.
My boy had such a lovely time with our sons. They went in little outings, did ‘boy-stuff’ together. And, upon my return, the Twinkles daddy actually said — and I quote —
‘What’s all the fuss about? This parenting malarkey is a doddle.
Ahem. That’s a pink ticket for another weekend away, if ever there was one ;)
5/ Finally — and this is perhaps the most important point — if you want a fully relaxing time away from your children and wish to come back feeling fresh and rejuvenated, never — I repeat NEVER — go away with seven other mothers.
A combination of freedom, late nights and too much alcohol does not a rested woman make.
The following week I felt totally and utterly broken.
Regaining a Sense of Perspective
For most of us ‘normal’ people, who don’t employ the services of a full time au pair or nanny — or have willing grandparents who’ll step in at a moment’s notice — leaving our children is a real luxury.
It’s not often easy to sort out childcare for more than one night but, another thing I’ve learned is that, whilst it’s a luxury it’s also pretty important to get away every once in a while.
Leaving my children gave me a real sense of perspective. Sometimes when we’re getting bogged down by the minutiae of life — dealing with toddler tantrums and trying to juggle a million and one things without dropping the metaphorical balls — we forget to be kind to ourselves.
It’s all too easy to give ourselves a hard time for the things we’re not doing and not appreciate the all things we do manage to cram in.
Having a break from my little family and leaving my children for a few days has given me a renewed sense of purpose and made me appreciate everything just that little bit more.
It also made me realise that looking after twin toddlers is much, much easier than trying to keep up with a group of mothers who’ve been let off the leash for a few days.
Now that is exhausting ;)