I’m in my late thirties, married with 2 children and about to go on holiday. Abroad. Alone. I’m leaving my (more than capable) husband and young sons behind whilst I jet off to discover beautiful Copenhagen. The very mention of this to some friends has left them aghast, some just can’t get their head around me holidaying without the family.
“But why would you want to holiday without your children?”
“Won’t you miss them? What will you do all day without them?”
Of course I’ll miss them. As teenagers and young adults we are encouraged to travel, to get out and see the world, discover new cultures, meet new people and live our lives. As responsible parents we are expected (and quite rightly so) to put things on hold, live our lives for our children. I agree with this and I do that. Day in. Day out. And now, I think I need a break, some time off (
for good behaviour). I want to be responsible for me and me alone for a few days. I’d love to be one of these families that can pack everything into a backpack and set off to travel the world for a year, children in tow and home-schooling along the way. In reality that’s never gonna happen with this family. We can’t all manage to get abroad, so one out of four ain’t bad. My husband enjoyed a weeks family free Spanish hol in August so now it’s my turn.
So for the last six years of; being wakened in the night, scraping food off the floor, cooked meals that aren’t eaten, fights broken up, bumps kissed, screams screamed, crumbs brushed, noses headbutted, poo jokes tolerated, tears wiped, clothes washed, faces scratched, books read, toys stood on, paint spilled, random stains, bloody knees, shins kicked, pen marks scrubbed, car interiors destroyed, greasy fingerprints, babble babbled, squashed tangerines, hours of nonsense tv endured, playtime politics and general non stop exhaustion, I’m taking some time to myself. And that’s ok.
I’m planning to sleep (a lot), and then get out of bed whatever time I like. If I watch tv I’ll choose the channel and I’ll eat when and where I like. I’ll enjoy people watching with a daytime JD. If I want to spend an afternoon aimlessly wandering about, I will. I won’t be on the lookout for the nearest play park or constantly be on referee duty. I can wander Tivoli Gardens, parks, galleries, shops and Copenhagen city centre at my own speed. I’m going to sit and enjoy a canal cruise without having to headlock a small person intent on jumping into the canal (I hope). I know I’ll miss my boys but I’m really looking forward to a few days of child-free time. I’m heading to Copenhagen to get me some hygge. Let’s hope “me time” lives up to its expectations.
I asked a few other parents what they thought about holidaying without the children. Here’s a few of their varied responses.
“I believe very strongly in self care. You need to do things for yourself – relaxing, hobbies, holidays! You know your kids will be absolutely fine at home with your husband, so why not have 5 days of me-time? Especially these days where you are always only a video call away from your family. I see zero problem with this and I would quite happily jump at the opportunity.” Welsh Mum, Cardiff
“I wouldn’t go without my kids. I know that when they reach their teens, they will probably want to spend as much time away from me as possible. I work quite a lot, so I try to spend as much of my free time with them as I can.” Household Money Saving, South East
“Sounds bloody dreamy. You deserve you time as well and as long as you and your family are cool, who cares about the rest? Go girl!” Word Up Mum, Glasgow
“I would totally jump at the chance! Mine 8, 5 & 3. Any younger then I might not but at this age I could easily facetime them everyday.” Me, The Man & Kids, The Cotswolds
“I probably wouldn’t. Me and Husband are that annoying joined at the hip couple. But, we leave the kids to get away together quite happily! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. I don’t even miss mine! I know they’re having an amazing time with my mum and I think it’s as good for them as it is me!” Bobsy’s Mum, Sheffield
“Oh wow I would absolutely LOVE to do this!! Solo holidays are such a good and liberating time!! I haven’t been abroad solo since having children but I dod go to the Spa for some indulgent solo time whats the difference except the location??? I say go for it!!!” Soph-obsessed, Manchester
“Personally, I wouldn’t do it but I don’t see anything wrong with it. I work full time and feel like I don’t see my children as much as I’d like to, so the idea of leaving them for a week to be on my own isn’t something I’d fancy (as much as the quiet time would be nice!). A weekend with friends or just my husband would be different though as I wouldn’t feel like I was using up so much annual leave on myself.” Baby Holiday, Wales
“I went away to Barcelona with my girlfriends for a short weekend and, even though I had a great time, I felt massively guilty leaving my 4 and 5 year old boys. My eldest asked me to never go away without him again because he missed me too much and that just confirmed for me that I wouldn’t do it again. Not until they’re much older anyway.” Motherhood Diaries
“I’m in Corsica right now with my husband and my 2 and 3 year old are not with us. It’s AMAZING! It’s doing me the world of good and it’s wonderful for us as a couple. I don’t miss the kids at all. We facetimed for the first time this morning (day 4) to say hi and my son thought I was his auntie (my sister) – typical!!! I might not bother facetiming again. We have been away without the kids lots of times, and me on my own/with friends – I think it’s really important.” Five Little Stars, Paris
“I’d love it, in fact I’m day dreaming about it now… My kids are 6 and 3. I’ve been on a couple of hen weekends without the kids or Husband but that isn’t quite the same as pure ‘me time’ But actually I think my Husband would be too jealous and would want to come along with me!” All About a Mummy, Surrey
“We just left our 6 & 2 year old & went to Rome for 6 days. It was absolutely the right thing to do because we all had time to miss each other and I came back a better mum because I had a chance to rest and recharge for the first time in six years. Crummy Mummy, Hove
What do you think about holidaying without your children or partner? Have you done it or is it something you might consider? It would be great to hear from you …