Ummm…Yes,I go on holiday without my daughter *hand on mouth gasp*
Why does that sentence paralyse me each time it rolls off my lips to answer the eyebrow lifting judgemental question “are you going on holiday alone?”
When my daughter was 6 months old, I went to Paris for my birthday weekend with a friend. I left Ariella Petra with her father armed with only a feeding schedule, bedtime routine reminder and a good luck note. Let me say that again, I left her with her f.a.t.h.e.r, not a stranger or pack of wolves for weekend rearing. Her loving, doting and fast learner,capable parent. And for the rest, well I was confident he would figure it out just like I did and try whatever worked for him and when all else failed, to do what any good man would do …. call his mother.
What could possibly go wrong? … Well, I am happy to report that NOTHING went wrong. Instead, dad got to enjoy some one to one bonding time with his daughter without my interfering or telling him what not to do. Since then, fast forward 4 years and I have booked a round trip for ONE every year. Yup, I checked out for some me time. Conscious soul sifting is what I like to call it …without hubby and without my daughter.
I returned from my first solo holiday well rested, light on my feet and energised like the ever ready bunny. I was a 33+ working mum that had a bit of me time. Throw in the mix a BFF, retail therapy and couple glasses of bubbly minus the breast pump and you can only imagine how I bounced through the door. Secret: The hardest part was not leaving…but coming home and realising Ariella Petra had not even noticed or remembered that I was gone knocked the breath out of me. Talk about heart wrenching moment. Now I ask you, who is acting like the baby?
From then on between running businesses, broadcasting, podcasts and gunning for a mother of the year award – I take a holiday, by myself. A gift from myself to myself -with love.
The almost dreaded part of this, is announcing I wont be making a play date or birthday party “Because I am going on vacation” and then the dreaded question “alone?” … The nerves kick in – you would think I was in first grade giving a dissertation on the worlds presidents – palms sweating, tummy churning…bottom lip quiver …I swallow and politely whimper “yes, alone “ quickly followed with “ she will be with her daddy and friends having so much fun “in case they thought I was leaving her locked in the courtyard with only fresh water.I spend my days presenting to a plethora of dragons den-esque businessmen and woman, but one judgemental parent (agreed this is total projection on my part) and I am unravelling as fast as my kid unwrapping a present.
From the moment I walk out the door and wipe away my guilty tears – yes that’s right – I never said I did this without feeling guilty, I put aside (still work in progress) all the pressures and challenges of business, family, friends and motherhood.
So why do I continue to go on holiday without my daughter? Because I can… and because I return with enough bounce that would put Tigger to shame, overwhelming appreciation and awe of my little girl and her father and patience of a saint (for a couple of weeks at least). Conscious soul sifting is one step closer to a better version of myself, which means I’m a stronger, happier mom.
Just a foot note – in case you wondering – yes of course we go on family holidays together. (There I go again – What is it with us mums justifying our parenting styles?)
So would you go on holiday alone ?