I realise this topic is going to be controversial but let me start by making it clear I’m not saying NEVER TAKE YOUR KIDS AWAY WITH YOU. If you read my blog or follow me on social media you’ll see that I love going on adventures, near and far, as a family.
We’ve been away the four of us, with friends, with extended family and, shock horror….either just the two of us or each with our own friends.
All the trips we’ve been on have been amazing in their own ways.
Aside from work trips I’ve only ever gone away for 1 or 2 nights in the past to go to birthdays, weddings and hen do’s. Until I recently went on a trip with my best friend. A trip for no reason other than we wanted to go away for a few days together.
We planned and saved small amounts for two years. Two whole years. But as the time to go away became closer I had a serious case of the mum-guilt.
How selfish were we to go away and leave our children for 5 days!
It wasn’t a work trip, we didn’t HAVE to go away, it was 100% because we wanted to. And this knowledge did make me feel bad. I found myself pre-empting the judgemental questions and defending myself before anyone had even said anything, explaining that I see the kids more than ever now that I work from home. I also didn’t want to seem like I was ‘too excited’ about going away without the family.
That, coupled with a lot of the conversation being about how dad would ‘cope’ stopped me in my tracks.
It’s interesting that there still seems to be this notion of dads being babysitters, as opposed to joint caregivers. There’s certainly none of the ‘how will you cope’ chat whenever Alan goes on a trip.
I also remembered that I’ve spoken before about mum guilt, how we need to stop beating ourselves up and how society as a whole needs to back off and let parents make their own choices. So there I was, not listening to my own advice.
The last time Alan went away he had said how it was a nice break not have to think about anyone other than himself for a few days. Quite right! And he reminded me of this before I went and said I should do the same. Enjoy being a bit selfish.
So I did!
We stayed up late, drank in the middle of the day, read our books, walked and walked and walked without having to stop ten million times with snack bribes…actually finished sentences. Utter bliss!
Taking the children to see new places and experiencing trips with them is of course amazing. I love seeing their little faces when they see something new. And I love being able to relax the rules and let them run around wild.
But likewise, if you’re lucky enough to be given an opportunity to go away for a few days without them, do it. It’s a great chance to let your brain relax, to see sights that you may otherwise miss, eat where and when you want….and to have as much vino as you fancy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a little selfish now and again. It’s self care isn’t it. We all deserve to look after ourselves a little.
So, I’m already planning the next girls trip and I can’t wait.