A couple of years ago, I went away on a holiday with just my girlfriends. But I didn’t want to.
I resisted the idea because it would mean leaving my kid behind. Pathetic, I know. But in my defence, I had been a sole parent for seven years by that time, meaning I had a slightly dysfunctional co-dependent relationship with my nine year old son. (I’m only kind of joking.)
“I don’t need a break from my wonderful life, away from my wonderful kid, thank you very much,” I thought to myself.
Forced to go by my so-called “girlfriends” in the name of sisterhood, I reluctantly went.
Turns out, it was the holiday I needed – and deserved. (But more on that later.)
Fast forward to 2018, and just as I am enjoying (a.k.a. revelling in) two ‘nights off’ when my son is at camp, a psychology professor has come out and said the words that mums who love their alone time have been waiting to hear:
It is healthy, nay essential, for you to have a holiday without your family.
You won’t believe it, but she even has a name that is similar to mine: Nava Stilton.
But don’t think I just made that name and research up myself to justify my guiltlessness.
Dr Nava Stilton appeared live last month on Fox5NY earlier this year to talk about ‘momcations’:
“Motherhood can be very stressful—whether it’s financial stresses, time stresses, just trying to get a whole lot done in a very short period of time,” she said.
“I think it’s really important for mothers to be rejuvenated and refreshed.”
I can just imagine every mother reading this nodding in agreement. Of course, it applies to fathers too, (but, presuming that most people reading this are mums, I’ll suggest that there’s no law saying you need to share that information).
Silton continued, adding that seeing their parents’ needs met is good for children.
“It’s very important for kids to see that balance that ideally needs to be achieved in a family situation,” she said.
So, back to my 'momcation'.
I'm not sure how to say this without sounding wanky, but basically, one of my dearest friends invited our small school-mum gang on to her yacht for five nights, that was moored on Hamilton Island.
Yes, we were spoilt rotten.
There was a Captain who booked all our dinners, and bought all our alcohol (I can't stress the significance of that enough). There were staff to make our beds, coffee, and breakfast on the deck every morning.
There were late, late nights of barefoot dancing, followed by sleeeeeep inssss...
We enjoyed long, leisurely lunches where we could talk uninterrupted for hours that looked like this:
Yes, I ate that whole steak - and didn't have to take anyone to the bathroom between bites.
For five utterly exhausted mums, it was the holiday we didn't know we needed - but definitely deserved. We returned feeling like new women.
And that's why I can speak experience when I echo Dr Nava Stilton's advice to parents: put your oxygen mask on first.
Obviously, it won't always (or ever) look like a luxurious yacht escape. But even if the best you can manage right now is a trip to the shops, or getting your hair done, without a rugrat around - do it.
Try at least to have a momcation in your mind.
And whatever "me time" you choose, know that Nama Winston/Nava Stilton totally back you up.
How do you feel about the 'solo parent holiday'? Are you well travelled in that department, or gearing to go? Group discussion is open in the comments.