The Big Chill
Recently Mummy needed a little break to recharge her batteries. When Mummy starts speaking in the third person it is a sure sign she needs a holiday.
So in a minor miracle of leave scheduling and securing of cheap flights – and before my husband could change his mind – a four day break to Bali was booked with two girlfriends in similar dire need of tropical vacay.
And no children.
I repeat, no children.
Child-free holidays can be calculated like dog years. The relaxation quota in four child-free days would take 28 days to accrue on a holiday with children (This is my own formula and in no way scientifically tested).
It’s okay, my daughters are far from neglected in the holiday department. We have taken them on several wonderful Bali trips. Only after you have travelled with children can you truly value the luxury and freedom of occasionally travelling without them.
There was no being held captive on the beach for hours while the kids had their hair braided and were convinced they also needed to take home bracelets for all of the girls in their class.
In its place were massages and facials in an attempt to prepare my mind, body and complexion for the year ahead.
There was no lining up for the waterslides behind Aussies with sunburn in the shape of Bintang singlets at Waterbom Park. Instead, were cocktails and Gado Gado at a series of beach clubs.
Travelling solo means only needing to re-apply my own sunscreen, packing just one beach bag and reading a book without one paranoid eye trained on counting heads in the water.
Someone else was making breakfast, and more importantly cleaning up after breakfast.
Cocktail o’clock is midday right? And dinner can be eaten after six?
Then there was sleeeeep, blissful, uninterrupted diagonal-across-a-king-sized-bed in crisp white sheets sleep.
The red-eye flight home, while still horrendous, is slightly more bearable when you don’t have to find a patch of carpet at Denpasar International Airport for your children to nap before boarding, upon which they will sprawl across you for the next five hours therefore erasing most of your precious holiday zen.
But please don’t lump me in the ungrateful, selfish mother category because I snuck out of the country for four days without my offspring.
I love holidaying with my children. Some of our happiest family memories have been made on trips to Bali.
I missed them. I looked for children’s meals on the menu out of habit, I scouted all the sunnies, bags and toys that were on their souvenir wish lists and I pictured their wonder at the sights, sounds and smells of returning to Bali.
But parents are entitled to an occasional break if they are lucky enough to be able to swing one. Missing your children and having them miss you is important if you’re not to be constantly taken for granted.
Now I’m recharged and ready for the school year and the madness of March.
Happy, relaxed Mummy equals happy, relaxed kids. You can tell your husband and your travel agent that while you’re planning your own girls’ trip.
(Also, just quietly, cocktail o’clock is actually 11am!)