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?