I have just returned from five nights away from my husband and two sons, meeting my little sister Amelia in Hong Kong for some precious time together. Many things needed to happen for us to take this child-free vacation, and I am still in debt to my husband and his family as well as Amelia’s family and all of our friends who helped to care for the kids in our absence.
All of the planning that went into this holiday was totally worth it however, as even now a week after my return, I am struggling to come down from what was a fantastically fun break from being a wife and mum. I know not everyone can take an overseas trip away from family, but I strongly believe that a no-kids-allowed break, should be made law for all hard-working parents.
Psychologist and founder of Empowering Parents Giuliette Moran agrees. She says:
“Parenting is a really challenging job, it is high-pressure, fast paced and can be highly emotional. In the workforce, you would have annual leave for some time-out as well as personal leave and in some instances, mental health days. Why should parenting be any different?”
Aside from the obvious pleasures of uninterrupted nights of sleep and eating exactly what and when we wanted, there were some lesser known, unexpected joys to this adults-only vacay, as I discovered…
Even just thinking about going away gave me months of excitement. There was the booking of the flights and the hotel while communicating by multiple excited face emojis with Amelia on What’s App. The buying of the guidebook and deciding what to do with our days together; researching cocktail bars, restaurants, events and walks we wanted to try. All of it completely unsuited to children and utterly flexible if we changed our mind.
Anyone who has ever travelled with kids knows what a horrible experience that can be. From crying babies on planes to tantrummy toddlers at expensive theme parks; I’ve been there myself many times with that feeling of utter dread the night before a ‘holiday’.
Take young children out of the equation and suddenly catching a train with a coffee and a magazine becomes a rather simple and quiet activity to be enjoyed. The airport wait is not a matter for survival, but an opportunity to read a book and have a glass of wine. Much like the flight itself. I derived great pleasure from watching film after film and then dozing off without panicking about upsetting other passengers.