Last week, my husband told me what he wants to do for his 40th birthday. He wants to go on an overseas holiday… without me and the kids.
His plan is to go to New Zealand so he can watch a certain sporting event, and then do a bit of sight-seeing. It’ll be during term time, and I don’t believe in pulling kids out of school for a holiday, so there’s no chance of us all tagging along with him. He knows that, but he doesn’t want to make the trip at another time. He wants to see this particular match.
He can’t see anything wrong with his plan. I can.
Holidays. It's a family thing, right? Photo via iStock.
To me, once you have a family, you have family holidays. Sure, as parents, you have your own interests. You go out, on your own, with your friends. You might go away interstate for a weekend, to see a concert or a grand final or something.
But the whole thing of renewing your passport, shelling out some serious cash for an airfare, packing a suitcase and exploring a new country — surely that should be something you do as a family?
We've got two kids and we both work. It's not like we have unlimited money or unlimited holidays to play with.
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Before we had kids, my husband and I used to travel overseas a lot. Since we had our first child eight years ago, we haven't been out of Australia. We've talked about taking the kids somewhere, and New Zealand has been top of our list. We just haven't quite got around to organising it yet. Now here he is, planning to go without the rest of us.
I know I'm going to sound really mean if I say I don't want him to take the holiday. It's his 40th birthday. Why shouldn't he do something that makes him happy?
That, ultimately, is what bothers me — his idea of happiness is getting away on his own, whereas I couldn't be truly happy on a holiday without the kids. All the new sights I'd be seeing, all the new things I'd be experiencing, I'd want to share with them. I'd want to see things through their eyes, as well as my own.
Seeing things through kids' eyes just adds to the experience. Photo via iStock.
It makes me realise that we see parenting quite differently, and that makes me sad.
Look, we can afford it. And of course I can cope for a week on my own, with two primary-school kids. I will probably end up saying yes, sure, go for it, have fun.
I just wish he hadn't asked.