We did things a little unconventionally when we got married. My husband proposed the night before my birthday on a three week trip round Argentina and Brazil, excitedly we put our plans for children on hold until after the wedding.
My eldest had other ideas as that was also the night that I got pregnant.
You couldn’t have written it, landing home after a 12 hour delay in Rome thanks to snow that positive pregnancy test showed up the very next morning. Shocked, yet delighted, was the feeling all round. Vowing to keep it our little secret we rang everyone with news of our engagement where wedding plans and honeymoon ideas came forth.
Three days later and another change to plans as my dad died unexpectedly. News about the baby filtered out and through to others while the wedding of the century continued on. And on. Until 11th May 2013 I wed the love of my life.
The 11th May 2013 was also the day I found out where we going on honeymoon, my husband having kept it a complete surprise until he announced it in his wedding speech.
There was never any question of my eldest, then a bouncing 7 month old, not coming with us. I was aghast whenever anyone suggested he may stay at home with quality time with grandma. No, we were all going or no one was going. So we all went.
Fast forward to a year later, yes just one little year, and we began to see the benefits of going away just the two of us. No little people around at all. No being woken in the night, no Peppa Pig at the dinner table, no chasing a small naked person round the pool endlessly worrying. A break. A full on break, from work, from life, from parenting.
A childless holiday
Plans put in place, my mum flying out to Dubai to take our tiny terror for the weekend, and exactly one year after our wedding we flew to the Maldives to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.
That mum that was so aghast a year before at the thought of leaving her poor defenceless baby behind practically skipped to the airport after bidding a cheery farewell. Sat in the airport lounge, sipping a chilled glass of wine (and eating a Big Mac, classy bird) excited about the weekend ahead.
The mum who couldn’t imagine entrusting her child to anyone else, not only doing so, but leaving the country at the same time.
It was as if I felt all the tension released as I sat on the plane and I knew that I only had to look after myself *and the slightly inebriated husband who had been on a stag do before we flew* the wine delivered on the flight, sipped slowly rather than gulped down. The tray table that was able to stay down without being knocked.
Arriving at our hotel and finding that we didn’t have a room for a few hours, and it not mattering (except for the killer hangovers that started then) because we didn’t have to find somewhere for him to nap.
It was liberating.
It was freedom.
To remember everything about my husband that made me fall in love with him as a person, not just him as a dad. We went swimming together, we ate dinner together, we lay and sunbathed together, we ignored each other as we read books. It was like being the couple that got newly engaged on that so long ago South America trip.
It was much needed, a reminder that as a couple we need to work together to stay together. Keeping our relationship fresh and a stark reminder that there is so much more to me than just being Mum.
Yes, we missed our biggest boy, and yes we Skyped every day. But you know what? He had a ball with Grandma, he slept, they played, they went on day trips, he got throughly spoilt with new presents. They built their relationships and it was a reminder to him that he is loved by many.
It was, for all, a perfect weekend.
And now there are two
Now we have two little monsters. Double the love, double the trouble. Since that perfect weekend in the Maldives there hasn’t been a chance to repeat, first I was pregnant, then he was newborn, then we were moving home… no to Qatar, there hasn’t been a chance to go away together. I’ve been away on my own leaving the boys with my mum, my husband has been away on his own. We’ve just not managed to do it together.
We have our next weekend away all planned in and are headed off on a city break, where we will also squeeze in a friends wedding. Leaving the boys behind!! Yippee.
Yes, it’s not until September this but the thing with living in a different country to your mum is that it needs careful planning. My mum is flying out to Qatar to stay with the boys, carry out their day to day routine, while we fly out for a long weekend together.
Another chance to reconnect. To act like newlyweds, being together in a way that we used to before one of us was alway chasing after a small person. Generally in opposite directions.
I cannot wait. That is why I holiday without my kids, with just my husband. And while I couldn’t do longer than a long weekend, or do it very often, it’s healthy for us to make the time to do it. For our relationship, for the boys relationship with their Grandma.
Thomson holidays asked me to share my views on going on a city break and although holidaying without your children might not be for everyone, for us it’s perfect –Would you holiday without your kids? Where would you go and how long for?You can follow our adventures from the sandpit (and beyond) over on Facebook, see you there!