In a couple of days time, I am leaving for an overseas holiday with my Mum and I'll be gone for two weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary really, except that I have three children, and they're not coming with me.
I saw a post on social media recently where another Mum was in a similar situation, and I felt for her, I really did, because some of the comments she received were horrible. She was called selfish, a bad parent, and irresponsible, just to name a few. There were only a small handful of people (including myself) who actually supported her choice to go on a kid-free holiday, and I found that very sad indeed. Why people find it necessary to be so damn judgmental is beyond me. This poor woman was doing something very similar to me, and her children were of course, going to be in safe hands with their father while she was away. Yet still, in their eyes, going on a holiday without your children was a massive no-no.
I must admit, I still have a lingering feeling of guilt about my upcoming trip; after all, I am going to miss my children terribly, which is natural of course. BUT, I've realised that the guilt I've been feeling is not so much coming from within, but externally, from people like those commenting on that woman's post, who have this preconceived idea that it's wrong for a mother to have a holiday without her children.
So, to those people who think that this is somehow 'wrong', I ask you the following:
If it were Dad taking this holiday, would this be viewed differently? (Mind you, in my case, Dad is taking his own holiday later this year)
If it was a business trip I was going on, would that make a difference?
Do I not work hard enough, live each day on hardly no sleep, give my heart and soul 24 hours a day enough to deserve a break?
I noticed one comment on that particular post where someone had said, "You're a Mum. That's your job. You don't get to do things like that when you're a parent."
Well, I disagree. Yes, I am a Mum, and it's the best job in the world. I love my children unconditionally. But I am also human too, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with honouring myself as a person as well as being a Mum. Being a Mum is not the only thing that defines me as a person; I am many other things as well.
So, I am going on this once in a lifetime trip, and I am going to do so with no guilt, because there is nothing for me to be guilty about. I am going to relax, explore the culture of the places I'm visiting, and be grateful for this amazing opportunity. I am going to enjoy a much needed break, and quality time with my Mum. I am going to share my experiences with as many people as possible, without feeling as though I should somehow be ashamed of what I'm doing, because that's what people do when they go on holiday.
As for my children, they are going to spend some quality time with their Dad, and are of course, in great hands. I'm sure they will miss me just as much as I'll miss them, but you know what? I am going to come back home in just two short weeks, getting right back into the swing of things, but there'll be one difference. I'll be relaxed and re-energised, ready to keep being the super awesome Mum and wife that I already know I am.