All the Guilt of a Mama
Last year I did something we don’t normally do, it’s well away from the realms of my ‘normal’ life; I took a trip away with my husband to Madrid, and while it was awesome in every way I still felt a twang of guilt. I’ve been a Stay at Home Mum for the last ten years of my life, my job by it’s definition is caring for other people, full time, with no pay, no days off, no annual leave.
And while I know on every level how lucky and fortunate I am to be able to do this for my family it’s not always easy. Like all parenting whilst being amazing, incredible and rewarding, it is also relentless and exhausting, everyday.
‘Yes, we are leaving the children behind’
Harrogate Papa and I have always tried to get away just once a year on our own. It’s usually just one night away at a nice hotel somewhere not too far away. When it was our ten year wedding anniversary we ventured abroad together, alone, for the first time for five days- which was beyond awesome.
Last year we were lucky enough to get away for three nights in Madrid. Each time we go away I have the same nagging doubt, the slightly embarrassed reveal with friends, that yes we are going away, yes, just the two of us and yes, we are leaving the children behind. And while I know none of them judge us for our choices, I can’t help but judge ourselves.
Feeling Selfish and Irresponsible
Is it irresponsible to leave our kids behind, jet off on an aeroplane to a foreign country, miles and hours and days away travel -wise from returning if they should need us. Is it selfish to spend the family income on something that doesn’t benefit the whole family, are the kids jealous we’re jetting off and leaving them behind. Will they miss us and wonder why we’ve abandoned them. Is it fair on the grandparents we leave ‘holding the baby’.
There are 365 days in a year
So while all these thoughts run around in my head, I have to hold on to the reasons we do this. That there are 52 weekends in a year that for 51 of them we are always there, running them around to weekend activities, dropping them at their friends birthday parties, making lunch and dinner, watching DVDs together, going to the park. That for just three days out of the 365 in a year they will actually okay without us. That actually to spend some time away from them is good for everyone.
The Importance of Your Other Half
The importance of spending time with your husband is huge. Your partner is the biggest influence in your children’s life and in your life. They are the central part of your existence, the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with. And while you are busy vacuuming the Rice Krispies off the floor, going to parents evening and making sure you’ve got something in for tea ultimately you need something to hold you two together. You need your other half, that’s why it’s called that.
Especially when you’re a parent who is so busy giving your time, love and attention to the humans you have created it’s really important to ensure you put some of that energy in to each other.
And while those girlie breaks away and nights out with like minded mamas are essential too – there is no trip more essential for you as a Mama than they one you spend with your partner.
Hanging Out with the Grown-Ups
While we were away in Madrid we explored, we adventured, we did what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it without the time constraints that young children bring to travel and trips. We hung out with the grown ups, drank in bars, ate late, walked km after km, saw things that the kids wouldn’t have been remotely interested and ran around the city like a couple of carefree teenagers.
But the single most important part of that is that we did it together, creating memories for just us that the two of us will go on to shrare for a lifetime. I know it’s an indulgence, I know it’s a luxury, I know it appeared selfish – but what could be more important than investing in your long term relationship, in your happily ever after, in making more glue that holds your family together than a trip away.
Getting Off ‘Real Life’ for a bit matters
What’s more is that as parents we returned refreshed, revitalised with life, glad to see our family, even more of a family unit than previously. The kids have missed us, they liked us again for a little bit (and we liked them). The day to day ness of parenting will always be there. For a couple of nights, the money, the time away from the kids, the getting-off real life for a bit has made us better people, better parents and a better family unit.