Would you leave your child to go on holiday?

I’m going on holiday today. Without my child.

While my daughter stays at home with her grandparents, her father and I are going off on a jolly. We’re ditching her for a few days, neglecting our responsibilities as parents to go and have some fun on our own.

What a mean mum and dad we are.

Or are we?

The thing is, before I became a mum I never ever thought I’d leave my baby for a holiday without her. I just didn’t understand why some parents would go away for a break without their children. Isn’t that what being a family is all about? Sharing holidays and fun times together?

But then I had Frog. And I realised it’s not that simple.

We got married a couple of months ago and haven’t had a honeymo0n yet. The plan was originally to go abroad for a long weekend during the October half term while the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine is freed from teacher duties. But by sheer generosity on the part of friends and family it turned out we could afford a whole week away, and by then it was too late to book anything abroad. So we decided to take a short break to Lymington (in the New Forest) instead and go to Cuba in February.

While we’re on the South Coast, Frog is going to be taken care of by my own parents. She loves them and I have no doubt she’ll have a fantastic time. And after a few days they’re going to bring her to Lymington too, so we can all enjoy a little break together before coming home.

So why am I facing the Mother Guilt? Is it the few disapproving looks I’ve been given by those who haven’t “agreed” with me leaving my one year old while I go away on holiday? Is it that I’m not sure she can really cope without me for more than one night? Or is it that I’m really looking forward to having some time with the NLM on our own, time we haven’t had for a long while?

I wrote an article about relationships after children recently. I interviewed a relationship counsellor who told me that it can be really easy for couples to drift apart after having children, because they come to see themselves as “co-parents” rather than individuals in their own right. It’s like being a parent is the only thing they have in common any more.

I’m keenly aware that, what with me working most evenings and the NLM working most days, we don’t get that much time together. And the time we do get, we like to spend as a family. Most conversations revolve around Frog and sometimes a whole week can pass and I’ve realised I haven’t actually asked the NLM anything about him. There’s the obligatory, “How was your day?” but I’m usually too busy to listen properly to his answer.

So this break is important. For us and for Frog. Because while she won’t actually be with us for most of the trip, she’ll get a mum and dad at the end of it who are happier and more rested.

So yes, I’m leaving my child to go on holiday. Would you?

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38 Comments

Filed under Baby stuff, Being a mum, Family

38 responses to “Would you leave your child to go on holiday?

  1. DSW

    Yes I would and Have!!! Enjoy your break away with NLM!!!

  2. Great post! I’ll be the first to reply and say that yes I would and yes I have! If your daughter is going to be staying with her loving Grandparents she will be just grand 🙂 I’ve left my 2 year old son with my Mum five times so I could have nights away – once for business, once for a wedding, a couple of times when I was looking for a house, and once just because me and DorkyDad needed a night off! For me parenting is always about a balance – sure, you need to make sure your child is happy and safe and secure, but I believe you’ll be a better and more attentive parent if you get some time to yourself too, especially if it’s quality time with your husband (congrats!!). Enjoy your break, and stuff those people who have been giving you disapproving looks 😉 xx

    • Thank you – I couldn’t agree more. It’s really tricky to find that balance and I think recently it’s all gone the other way. We’ve had no time for each other because we’ve been rushing around from one thing to the other. But hopefully this break will realign things the other way again. xx

  3. You’re right it is important and the earlier you do it the easier it is to keep it going and it doesn’t become such a huge issue in the future. Take it from one would didn’t do it when I should have.

  4. Yes, I would and I have. We have been away, mostly around the time of OH’s birthday as it’s in April which is warmer than mine in January, about 3 or 4 times. For 3 of those times, Granny and Grandad moved in here for a few days and the children were spoilt rotten. Mind you, on the last day of our first trip away, Monkey came down with chickenpox which didn’t help exactly but we got through.

    The last time we went away, we actually brought Monkey with us and left only Missy at home. That sounds terrible but it was his birthday and he did ask to come to see his dad run the Barcelona marathon. And Missy asked to stay with Granny. Grandad had actually been in hospital for nearly 3 months by this point so the childcare aspect did look dodgy for a while but we were very fortunate in that he was a lot better by then (and came out of hospital about a week later). She was spoilt again and had lots of trips to hospital to see Grandad.

    Sometimes, you do have to be you. I know some parents will disapprove but I am not a martyr. Living my children 24 hours a day doesn’t make me a better mother. I know I need a space in every day to be Kate and not Mummy. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them and miss them when I’m away but it does make life seem more manageable. And I swear it makes me a better parent for having that break as it helps me to gain some perspective about everything else.

    Wow, sorry for the essay!

    • Thanks for such a brilliant comment – no apologies necessary! I agree that it’s important to get a break if you need it. I wish I could be Super Mum and never need any “time out” but I’m just not built that way. I think it’s better to accept that rather than try and struggle on before snapping. I love your point about it making you a better parent. I hope to achieve the same!

      • I don’t think anyone is built that way, you know. Forgetting who you are must make for difficult times – if not now, then later when your child grows up and moves away from parental ties, whether that’s when they start school or later, when they leave home. My kids know I am there for them when they need me, but equally, they know I have little breaks from them. And they like being independent too; they are going for a sleepover to Granny’s on Monday night as they are taking them to see the lights in Blackpool and they are both really excited.

      • I don’t blame them – I’d be excited about that too! I know what you mean about remembering you are. Even if that’s just making some time for yourself. Easier said than done though!

  5. Nanny Sophie

    Hi Molly,
    I hope you and the NLM have a fabby time! I’ve nannied many children whilst the parents go and have time for them, it is very important I feel! And as you say when you next see little frog you will be happier and have a new load of energy for her! Enjoy and don’t worry about frog, she will be having a lovely little holiday too! x

  6. When our son was born this was a huge bone of contention in our marriage. In our case it wasn’t even leaving him for a few days or overnight, but a few hours to get a quiet dinner alone. I, Dad, thought that once we got him to a certain point say 9 months or so and the grandmothers had the rust knocked off their maternal instincts we should have a regular date night, and plan the occasional weekend overnight. I didn’t want to go far, there are some nice romantic spots locally that worked fine for me. My wife had no expectation of leaving her child until he was “at least three or four”. That first year was tough for a variety of reasons. I used to comment to my friends that I would be glad when my bride remembered she was a mother AND a wife. It took a year but I finally got her out, and the first time we left him was for a quick anniversary overnight during which my wife agreed that this was something we really needed. We have had several date nights and a couple local overnights since, he is a little over two now, but try as I might I cant get a regular schedule going and we still struggle with the wife vs. mother thing.
    If I keep going I will have a blog post of my own, but the bottom line is go! Go and have fun. Enjoy each other and don’t feel a drop of guilt if you can help it. Your child will be better off with two happy parents that show affection towards each other rather than with two, or god forbid one, parenting robot just going through the motions of life.

    • Thanks so much for sharing – this has made me feel a lot better about the whole thing. I think the NLM felt the same for the first 6 months or so of fatherhood. I couldn’t leave F for more than a couple of hours because she would never take a bottle and I hated the thought of her being hungry and me not being there to feed her. Now that we’re over that obstacle I think it’s really important we find some time together for just us again. I agree with you that happy parents make better parents.

  7. Yes, and we have too! Last year we spent a week in Tunisia while the children went to my parents’ house. They regularly stay for a few days as my parents live more than an hour’s drive away, and we hatched a plan to turn that five days into seven and make a getaway. We had our usual family holiday, so the children didn’t miss out on that. But then me and Mr T also spent seven lazy days on a beach, remembering why we fell in love, got married, and chose to have children together.
    We told the children mummy and daddy were going to the beach while they stayed at Nana & Gramps’ house and they said they’d rather be there. Our eldest (not quite four at the time) even asked what time we were leaving about 20 minutes after we arrived at my parents’ house, so keen was she to start her “holidays”.
    Most of my friends were envious of the support we had that made the break possible. One or two swore they could never leave their children (one even gave birth to her second child and was home in time to put #1 to bed), and that’s totally fine. If we had the money (and didn’t have to stand the ridiculous school hols prices now DD is in school) we’d do it again too.
    Hope you have a fab time.

    • Glad your holiday was a success. It sounds wonderful. I love the way you describe it – about falling in love again and remembering why you had children in the first place. You’re right, everyone is different. I know a break without their children wouldn’t appeal to some people but I think as long as you get the quality family time too then it really shouldn’t do any harm. That’s what I hope anyway!

  8. chloe george

    I’m babysitting my 18 month old nephew next weekend whilst my sister and her hub go away together – I say totally!!!

  9. Parenthood is the biggest guilt-trip you’ll ever ride. I think the ‘G’ word should be banned in households with children.
    Little Frog will benefit positively, by spending quality time with loving Grandparents, who will benefit positively by spending quality time with their beautiful Granddaughter. and you and the SCNLM will benefit positively by spending quality time together.
    ……………….Just don’t forget to take the condoms!

  10. Helly

    I dont have any children so can’t answer that one however I do leave Little Man (Jack Russell) with his aunty Lou on many occasions………… What I am interested in is where in Cuba you are going ;0) x

  11. Expat Mammy

    I think its really important to have couple time especially as your newlyweds. Enjoy your time away.x

  12. It’s so weird how what you write about is always so topical for me! We left our little girl regularly but haven’t left our youngest yet. It’s my birthday in a few weeks and we are leaving them both for the first time for the weekend. I cannot wait to have some quality time with The Hubster, it is so overdue. I hope you have a super, wonderful time, you definitely deserve it!

  13. Linda Gale

    I think you need some YOU time! I left my two kids for a weekend with my best friend (who didn’t have kids at the time) to celebrate my 30th birthday with my then husband. We had an amazing time, of course we missed them but felt so refreshed when we came back! We should of done it more often if we had maybe we would still be together now!

  14. Yes I would and I have done myself. I do think it is important to have a break, refresh your batteries and have time on your own to eat a meal without getting indigestion, going to a film thats for over 15’s , and stop and have a coffee or a drink whnever you want. That way you can actually remind yourself that firstly, you are still married and hopefully remind yourselves why you are still married!! That way you can return closer as a couple and ready to be better parents!! 🙂

  15. Home Office Mum

    Ignore the guilt. It’s good to go and remember what being a couple is about or just who you are. Did I mention that I left my 3 and 5 year ols children for five weeks so I could sail across the Atlantic. No harm came to any of us

  16. I not only would but did. Once I left for a short overnight for a birthday party in Vegas (my only time in Vegas thus far). The other time was almost a year ago. With my mom’s birthday and mine on the same day, and it being my first birthday without her, it was important for me to do something that allowed me to celebrate both our birthdays with love and joy in my heart. So I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity–conveniently on our birthday!–for two nights, and I had a blast. Those two days away helped me recapture a little of who I am as not-mom, and that helped me be an even better mom upon my return.

    I’ll likely leave Li’l D for a week in late January. That won’t be for a vacation, but instead to help my just-younger sister with her little one the way she helped me with mine in his first days. I would love, just love, to bring Li’l D, but I’ll need for that little while to help ease my sister into her new world.

    I think it’s important to do these things that invigorate us and allow our children to see that there are a whole lot of adventures awaiting them out there–sometimes, all together, sometimes, all alone!

    • I’m not surprised you have such wise words on this subject, you always do! I couldn’t agree more. For me, it’s really important to have this time and space to remember the reason why Frog’s dad and I love each other and to be better parents in the long run.

  17. I have never really considered it because we don’t have anyone to leave Iyla with! But time alone is very important and you have just got married so I don’t think there is anything wrong with it at all! I think it’s great that she has grand-parents who she loves and is happy to spend time with! Hope you had a nice time x

  18. I would and I will – when she’s no longer breastfeeding at all and definitely closer to Frog’s age. Hope it’s been refreshing.

  19. Pingback: The week I left my baby | Mother's Always Right

  20. Pingback: Would you go abroad without your children? | Mother's Always Right

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