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
There are so many magic moments in this blog post that linking up to The Oliver’s Madhouse magic moments is a no brainer, click below to read other magic moments: