There are a wide range of views on the topic of travelling without the kids. Let’s be honest, something everyone has an opinion on is mothering. Some parents would be aghast at the mere thought of holidaying without their young offspring. Whilst others, like me think there’s nothing wrong with it.
Travel has been in my veins before I even stepped into motherhood. Naturally my wanderlust never waned, but only increased with the responsibility of shaping two young impressionable minds. Family holidays have taken us from the backwaters of Kerala, to hiking in the magnificent Dolomites to watching lion kills on safari in South Africa.
So, yes travelling with kids can be glorious and rewarding, but it can also be challenging and really hard work. And sometimes parents just need a break from being parents. An escape from the endless mounds of child-sized laundry and telling your kids on repeat to stop arguing with each other, just to a name a couple of things.
When I contemplate travelling without the kids, am I being a bad parent by abandoning them?
Do I feel guilty?
In a nutshell. No.
These opportunities are a chance to catch up with friends, spend quality time with the other half without the kids in tow and to recharge my batteries. More and more nowadays I travel for work too. Above all, these are moments where I feel like my own person again and not only a mum.
A break is like a reset button from the strains of motherhood and everyday life. It helps to restore your physical and mental well-being which will only benefit everyone else on your return.
I’m not the type of mother that suffers from separation anxiety, many do but that’s not me. We’re all different and that’s ok. Yes, I’ll miss them, particularly their cute smiles and if I eat or see something I know they’d love. On the whole though I relish the time I’m away, safe in the knowledge they’re in the capable hands of their father, or with family members. Strengthening their own special bonds and creating their own happy memories without a helicopter mum around.
So here are my guilty pleasures of travelling without kids:
Going on holiday with kids is not a holiday from parental duties. Even if you’re travelling with a partner or friends – You can still escape and have time alone. Not an option when you have little ones in tow. And obviously if you’re solo travelling you have the dream scenario and can revel in your own company.
I can go shopping for as long as I like, visit five museums in a day, walk the entire length of the Berlin wall taking as many pictures as I want, without being subjected to any moaning.
After a full day of sightseeing, returning to the comfort of my hotel room relaxing with a face mask or reading a book with no interruptions is pure bliss.
Child free city break: Berlin
I know as parents we’re always teaching our cherubs that sharing is caring. But seriously! Why can’t I just eat a chocolate bar or have a bowl of chips to myself without little fingers infiltrating my food space.
On a child free holiday, I’m not sharing. If I buy myself a stroopwafel or a cone of gelato. I get to eat it all!
Child free girls trip: Amsterdam
calling the shots
Not having a day dictated by kids can be so refreshing on holiday. Free to be spontaneous, no advance checks of whether a place is child-friendly or for younger kids accessible for pushchairs. No snack time, nap time or wee stops at the most inconvenient times. And the ultimate, being able to eat where and when I want. As a parent the newfound albeit short-lived freedom is extraordinary.
What is that? I hear some of you say. Imagine noone waking you in the middle of the night. Alarms banished. Well, until you need to board the plane back home. Having a lie-in. Remember those?
Wonderful sleep. Combine this elixir of life with a spa break and you’ll be bouncing back home all rejuvenated.
Child free spa break: Sopwell House, St Albans
Let Your Hair down
In the short term it’s quite liberating only being responsible for yourself. Fancy one more espresso martini? Want to dance the night away until 3am?
Remember, you don’t have to get up in the morning for the kids – so you can! Letting loose once in a while is so good for your soul.
Child free USA break: New York
Travel isn’t for everyone, but for those who dream of travel, it’s definitely worth making it happen.
I also understand this is written from a point of privilege. I’m lucky to have the flexibility, freedom and a great home support structure to allow me to travel without kids. A luxury which isn’t feasible for all families.
There are other ways though where you can still enjoy the same guilty pleasure rushes. Try carving out some ME time during the week to go out for a walk, visit a coffee shop, walk around a museum or gallery on your own. Or a personal favourite going to the cinema in the afternoon with a huge bag of popcorn to yourself. Allow yourself that time and headspace to recalibrate, returning refreshed and reenergised.
It’s self care at its best and we all need it.
Love to know your guilty pleasures. Let me know in the comments box below.
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