‘NIGHT, darlings. Be good for granny and we’ll see you in a few days.’ Turning off my smartphone, I top up my rosé, clink glasses with my husband and do a little jig at the prospect of three nights sans enfants. It was a few years ago but our break to Ibiza felt like winning the lottery.
Research by customer experience company Qualtrics has revealed that 46 per cent of parents would like a holiday without their children, giving them the chance to lie on a sunlounger with the latest Sally Rooney novel, a large cocktail and that rarest of commodities: silence. Who can blame them?
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my three children, but I think a few days by a pool without them does me the world of good. The children get to bond with their grandparents and I have the time to appreciate them away from day-to-day life. Plus I’m very fond of my own space and can get quite antsy if I go too long without a breather. It doesn’t mean I love my children less, it just means I love myself too.
I think more mums and dads need to overcome the guilt of leaving their children and take time out for themselves. We all work hard, home life is busy and as we get older we need to be kind to ourselves. If that means leaving our little darlings in the safe hands of friends or family for a few days then bring it on.
I do keep in touch while I’m away. In fact, I’m a dab hand at remonstrating at bad behaviour and checking their homework over FaceTime, and I always come back refreshed and ready to take up the reins of motherhood once more. They’ve missed me, I’ve missed them and we have a few halcyon days together before we start bickering again.
I’m not the only one. My friend Cathy regularly leaves her daughter with her parents for the weekend. She sees their weekends apart as ‘marital stock takes’. They are a chance for her and her husband to chat about their marriage and careers, holidays and DIY. You know, all the stuff you can’t do properly with a nipper hanging off your sleeve.
Of course, there are times when my mother halo gets a bit tarnished. I’ve missed ballet performances, sports days and school trips, which often earns me daggers from other mums in the playground. That is, until I spot them at the airport drinking prosecco at 10am, when I lower my Ray-Bans, give them a conspiratorial wink and say, ‘Go on, girls. You deserve it.’