Could you go on holiday without your children?
I wrote this post over 5 weeks ago, on the last day of a child-free, week-long holiday to Sharm el Sheik, in the Red Sea.
I have two children – L will be 7 next month and C turns one in just a few days. But I am here, without them, on holiday with my husband, their dad.
When I tell people this their reactions vary greatly; my French friends tend to take this as normal behaviour, while my British friends range from utter envy at the escapism, to shock at leaving my children for such a long time, especially with C being so young.
Hubs and I first went on a holiday sans enfants when L was 2 years old. We went to the Dominican Republic for 2 weeks, and whilst the initial idea brought me out in a cold sweat it was one of the best things we’d done for our relationship. We had been going through a stressful time with work, and needed the full-on break that a child-free holiday can provide. I missed L like crazy, but she had a ball in our absence, and we came back relaxed and refreshed – two happy, chilled out parents.
Since then we have left L for a week, to go to New York, when she was 4, and for a week’s holiday in Kos, Greece when she was 5.
But this is the first time both of us have left C, and if reports from my parents are to be believed she’s none the worse for it (eating and sleeping well).
Whilst it is hard to be away from my girls, and whilst I miss them horribly, having time away with Hubs, just the two of us, is essential.
When I met Hubs in 2001 we were both 25, neither of us had children, and life was pretty footloose and fancy-free. When we went on our honeymoons (a week in Tunisia immediately after our wedding in 2003, and our real honeymoon – our wedding present – of 10 days in the Maldives in January 2004) we didn’t have any children and were only 27, with relatively stress-free lives.
Fast-forward a few years, add in many wrinkles, grey hairs and a fair amount of stress, and suddenly a honeymoon type of holiday sounds like some kind of paradise on earth.
Whilst Hubs and I both adore our kids, and love spending time with them, we do need time for ourselves as a couple. It is easy to just see each other as the other half of your parenting team, to communicate only about what food to buy, spelling tests and dirty nappies. But this is dangerous. I don’t know about you, but that’s not why I fell in love with Hubs (although I do love what a great dad he is). It’s so important to go back to who you are as individuals, the two people who fell in love with each other, before kids.
And that is what we have been doing this past week. We’ve spent an enormous amount of time talking, you know real talking, not “have you paid the water bill/taken out the bins” talking. We have lounged together by the pool, reading book after book (we are both voracious book worms – I’m on book 5 of the holiday).
We have had romantic time together: going to a Bedouin camp in the desert at sunset, followed by star-gazing (the camel ride beforehand was less romantic!), going on a boat trip to snorkel areas around the famous Ras Mohamed island, including seeing a beautiful turtle swimming away under us.
We have had delicious foods such as a platter of lobster and other fresh seafood. And yes, as it’s a holiday for just the two of us, there has been “just the two of us” time too….!!
I wouldn’t say it’s been like a honeymoon as it’s been better – before children I didn’t appreciate our one-on-one time, now we have two kids every minute that you can do what you want is a little piece of heaven. In fact it has felt like we’ve been in paradise together for the last week. I feel blessed, and lucky, and very, very happy.
It has been perfect on every front. But the final upside to my holiday is knowing that when it’s all over I get to go home, to my beautiful daughters, who I have missed like crazy. And as much as I have loved being away from them, I can’t wait to see their faces and to hold them in my arms again.
Have you ever gone away on holiday without your kids? Do you agree with this or is it a big no-no for you?
This post is dedicated to my fabulous Mum and Dad, who came up to stay at our house, to look after our girls 24/7, to dog-sit, cat-sit and do all our general chores for a week while we disappeared. They even dealt with an overnight power cut. Thank you – you’re the best! xx
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I have mixed feelings, as you say, part envy, because a week or even a few days away with C on our own would be bliss, but also part “gosh, could I leave my kids for that long?” as well. We have done one or two nights away, and left the kids with my dad and they have been utterly fine, and I think I missed them more than they actually missed me, and like you with your parents, my Dad is brilliant with them, so I have no worries about leaving them with him. When he comes back from his travels, next year, we are thinking about going away for a few nights,possibly to Paris, and he will have them both. Maybe when Matthew is in school full time next year, we might do a longer time away. You look and sound like you had a fabulous time. I think parenting and life in general makes maintaining our relationships quite hard, so going away for some proper time together is a good thing.
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The first time I was a nervous wreck before we went, and I only went because Hubs “bullied” me into it – in France it’s really totally normal, due to their massive school holidays and working parents, so kids get sent to stay with grandparents. But after doing it the first time it’s become a no-brainer. Hope you get a break next year.
Rather envious. Unfortunately I don’t have anyone to leave Monkey with, so holidays alone are never going to be possible. I had a night away with blogging friends a few weeks ago and that was the first night away from him I’d had in 2 and half years! Good for you #MagicMoments
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I have so many friends in your situation so I certainly count my blessings for what I have with my parents. Thanks for popping over.
We haven’t even had a date night since Aaron was born and he is 3.5 years old. Wow, you guys are no doubt doing the right thing for your relationship – I should probably take a leaf out of your book.
These sound like great holidays.
If I could afford one, I think I’d be tempted by Mark Warner as the childcare sounds awesome.
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Wow! That is a long time – that must be one solid relationship, not sure we’d last that long 😉 I’ve heard such great things about the Mark Warner holidays, but of course good quality has a higher price tag. Thanks for popping by and commenting 🙂
I couldn’t have done it a few years ago, but I could now! Just no one to leave them with x
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There should be a rent a granny service for those who don’t have (willing) grannies nearby 😉
When you have grandparents who love your kids and are willing to hold the fort of course you should go, we have done it before with my brother, a great opportunity and looks like you had a wonderful time.
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That’s what I say – everyone is a winner here 🙂
oh im soooo jealous… Me and my Partner fell pregnant very quickly into our relationship so we have totally missed out on just “US” time… we have had the odd night out to a restaurant or night out drinking with friends. But sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to just spend a whole week together without any kids, but then im not sure we would have anything to talk about haha
The problem is finding someone you feel happy enough leaving your baby/child with, but once you do….then you’re laughing 🙂
I think this is fantastic idea and one i so wish we were able to do too!
I think every couple needs time to be a couple.
thanks for linking up and sharing with #MagicMoments
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I think having couple only time is very healthy, but it’s not always practical for everyone unfortunately.
I think you are doing absolutely the right thing, I definitely fall into the envious camp! It’s hard for us at the moment being over seas, away from anyone who could look after the kids for more than a night, but given the chance, I would certain take it 🙂 #MagicMoments
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When we used to live in France it was harder, but now we’re back in the UK, with my parents not too far away, it’s so much more doable fortunately.
Grandparents? Aunts and uncles? Just a weekend is a good trial. Hope you manage to get some couple time!
I completely envy you 😉 But I’m not sure I could do it! We’re talking about our honeymoon at the moment and are probably going to have a few days away from B and then a few days with her in a different place.
I hope you had a fabulous time and well-deserved break from it all! Maybe us English parents need to get over the separation issues and just GO??! I’m sure we’d all be far more relaxed! xxx
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It’s very hard for the first one – it took me 2 years, and that was living in France where it’s very common. I think it is much easier with 2nd and 3rd children. That sounds like a great compromise for your honeymoon. Xx
Being half French and half English, we were always shipped off to various distant French relatives for weeks at a time over the summer, and I had no idea that was weird. I loved it though. And none of my siblings nor I have ever had any anxiety about leaving home or seeing the world a little, so I would say it did us a lot of good, as well as giving our parents a break.
It’s so good to hear that it works out well, I can go on holiday with zero guilt now 🙂 I think this is one case where the cultures differ greatly.