When my Husband pressed ‘book’ on Expedia.com for a childfree, 4-night break to Madrid, to prematurely celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday, I felt a sharp wave of guilt pass throughout me. Am I being exceptionally selfish to look forward to a break away from my life, and my important role as a Mother? Is that even a normal feeling; to want to leave the kids this much?
The guilt remained with me leading up to the holiday for tasks such as doing a food shop for them all, writing my parents out a manual of ‘operating instructions’, and packing my case. No children’s clothes. No mini toothbrushes. No bag of ‘fun activities’ for the flight.
Especially so, was the guilt when the day was upon us (Wednesday) and I had to drop off the children at school and say “See you on Sunday”. Sharp intake of breath by me and I held back the tears. Them? They didn’t even look phased or remotely bothered, skipping off to their class. Until Harry turned back and said, “Oh, and don’t forget to bring us back presents Mum”.
Why is it that we place this guilt-trip crap on ourselves? I moan constantly to my girlfriends about how stressed I am, how busy, how the twins (and Hubby) drive me absolutely crackers. Yet when this vacation was booked I felt mortified for excitedly wanting to escape it all and go ‘pretend’ as though I was carefree again.
Needless to say, that within a few hours of being at the airport (sans children) sitting quietly reading a book, sipping on a café latte and holding hands with my Hubby — I felt A-Okay. The anxiousness of flying off into the sunset without my brood quickly subsided. My shoulders relaxed. I felt good.
Despite having a superb time, soaking up plenty of culture and generally having barrels of fun, I still thought about the children A LOT. Because they’re my entire world and Motherhood isn’t something I can simply switch on and off. But having a little mini-break from the responsibility and accountability of parenting and maturity was needed, and necessary.
Plus I didn’t realise was how much our relationship needed it. Not that we’re having a marriage crisis, (we’re so not), but the ‘mundane’ can be just as toxic as any kind of drama. When you become a parent, life can develop into a treadmill of pleasing and attending to your child’s every need. Swimming lessons, homework, kids parties. And instead of acting loved-up and passionate with your partner every day, you’ve instead both turned into a small entourage for two tiny humans whose lives you place far more significance on, than your own. I find myself constantly running behind the twins, laden with bags, crazily checking my calendar for their next activity. Where’s the time (or inclination) to shoot Hubby a suggestive look, or sex-text him our plans for that night?
So being away was good for us. Escaping parent life (even for the smallest amount of time) was essential. I remembered why I initially fell in love with my Husband, relished his charm and realised why we are such a great team back at home. I also listened to the things he said to me, and vice versa, (with no TV, no phones) and there was zero stress about stuff like, who hadn’t done the dishes. Plus, I was relaxed enough (aka very drunk) to laugh at his jokes…and what guy doesn’t want his other half to think they’re laugh-out-loud hilarious? It literally blew him away.
So next time, (which there will be, for sure – Hubby was seeking out our next trip only last night because we’ve decided to do this as an annual thing), I’m not going to feel guilty, at all. Because I now know that having a tiny slice of time away offers me the chance to fully appreciate Motherhood and my life, hassle and all. Those 4 heady and dreamy nights in Madrid have also allowed me to come back feeling far more refreshed and revitalised then ever before, and once more fully ready to take on the world. Or the washing. Whatever comes first.
Love, Jess x