As a single parent (or indeed a partnered parent) you might have a golden opportunity to holiday without your kids.
The natural reaction is to jump for joy and then dust off your suitcase and start packing. But, in reality, as mums we spend hours/days/weeks of guilt-infused deliberation trying to justify whether it’s ok to ditch the kids and take a break.
I have written this article to help you justify that YES it is absolutely fine to take a kid-free holiday. And, even more so, it’s important that you do.
Keep reading to ditch the mum guilt, embrace the opportunity and start planning your holiday wardrobe.
Here are my reasons not to feel guilty about holidaying without your kids.
Further reading: 7 Budget-friendly solo travel ideas for women.
Reasons not to feel guilty for holidaying without your kids
It will give you balance
Ah the elusive life balance!
As mums, it’s virtually impossible to find a healthy balance between looking after ourselves, caring for our kids, managing the home, making money … and the many other plates we spin.
If this balance can’t be found in everyday life, going on holiday without your kids might be the only way to reset the scales.
I used to find long flights intensely boring. Now, the thought of an eight-hour flight without children is up there as one of my all-time favourite activities.
If you feel the same, it might be that a holiday minus your little angels is exactly what you need right now. Not just a luxury, but a necessity.
You will rediscover who you really are
If you only vaguely remember who you were before your mini-me’s came along, then it’s time to step away for a bit and reconnect with yourself.
Holidaying without your kids allows you to rediscover yourself. You relearn and reconnect with your truths that range from the most inane things to profound self-concepts. Remind yourself what makes you tick, what makes you happy and what your own personal goals are.
Maybe too much Paw Patrol has made you forget that there is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. Or, perhaps, eating your kids’ leftovers day-after-day has distracted you from exploring different foods and cultures that really interest you.
You can’t enjoy being a mum if you can’t celebrate who you are as a person. So take that holiday without your kids and rediscover yourself.
It will make you a better mum
Going on holidays without your kids is a great way to load up on fun adventures and new sensory information. You will gain knowledge and experiences to share with your children without them tagging along on your trip.
Aside from taking home lessons and stories to share, you will come home happier and relaxed. Yes! Holidays without your kids can make you a better mum than when you are constantly running your household and fussing over your kids.
Experiencing another culture and observing other mums can even help you pick up new practices and ideas which you can incorporate in your journey as a woman and a mum. You become more open to new fashions, cuisines, and habits. These are things that can positively transform you as a mum.
You will role model self-care to your kids
Motherhood is the most selfless job in the world, in any culture.
And a lot of times, we wear that selflessness on our sleeve and absorb it as part of our identity. Some of us will even go as far as believing that doing anything that doesn’t directly benefit our children is – *gasp* – selfish.
How many times has the thought, “Why would I take a holiday and not let my kids enjoy it?” crossed your mind? Countless, I’m sure. We may even be guilty of judging other mums for taking their holidays without their kids! “How dare she leave her kids behind just to bake her bum in Bali? Grrr!”
This may stem from hearing our mums or older women regard personal holidays as a grave sin in motherhood. It makes us believe that to be an acceptable mum, self-care is limited to the rare yoga class, online shopping, or watching our very own Netflix show. Nothing more ‘extravagant’ than that.
This is something we need to correct as modern mums.
By taking a holiday by yourself … on your own or with your favourite adults, you set a good example for your children that taking care of yourself is important at any age.
Give your kids a chance to grow … without you
One of the reasons why you are hesitant to leave your kids behind is that you believe that they need you ALL THE TIME.
Well, yes, in a sense your kids need you. But they also need you to leave them alone. Remember that time when your mum left you with Nan and Pops so she could take a work trip? It was probably the first time you learned how to unpack and pack your own bag and fold your clothes amongst other basic life skills.
Your absence can help develop independence and build confidence in your children as they try to make decisions and take care of their own selves.
Remember this when considering holidaying without your kids.
It will lower your stress levels
Removing yourself from an environment that your brain associates with stress can lower your stress hormones.
Let’s admit it, raising your kids and running the daily errands to maintain your household can be a huge source of stress. Sustained stress will eventually affect all aspects of your health.
A break from home and work life (including the people whom you work for, a.k.a. your kids) will give you a chance to reset your body and lower your stress.
Leaving for a holiday without your kids and doing activities that boost your happy hormones, whether that’s shopping or riding a jet ski, can lower your anxiety, reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases, and improve the quality of your sleep.
You deserve this
If you’ve run out of good-enough reasons to justify going on a holiday without your kids, remember this:
You are a mum, and YOU DESERVE A HOLIDAY.
The reality is that holidaying with your kids is not yours to fully enjoy. Travelling with your children requires your complete attention and care.
On the other hand, holidays without your kids are all about you, you, YOU.
So, you’ve got the chance of holidaying without your kids?
Don’t be a martyr. Take the holiday, leave the guilt behind and go have the time of your life. Because if there is one thing I know, the minute you get home, mum duties will begin again and you’ll be grateful you took the opportunity for some well-deserved time off.