This is the second instalment of our post about our first Christmas holidays since having our babies. We each approached the holidays with a different plan in mind. Our previous post was about the advantages of renting a villa, and here is my part of the story….
On our way back from our fist summer holiday with our 6 month old baby, feeling more tired and looking paler than ever, my husband and I decided we need a “real” break. We reminisced about out mornings sipping coffee in bed, our days spent reading on the beach and our after dinner cocktails. With a mind clouded by exhaustion, we booked a 10 day holiday in South America combining all sorts of non-baby friendly activities (such as sailing) and arranged for the grandparents to come and look after our baby. They were very excited and it all seemed months and months away, too far away for us to have to think about it.
As the departure date was approaching, I began to dread it more and more. First, there were some hard and uncomfortable issues we had to deal with. With both of us away on the same plane, what if we never came back? We had to do our will and think long and hard about who would look after our baby if we both passed away, make financial arrangements for the future and even consider our funeral plans…not exactly the ideal preparation for holidays.
The departure day came, and after months and months of sleepless nights, the prospect of a 12 hour flight seemed for the first time like …..heaven… Needless to say I was the happiest customer in aviation history, 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep, unlimited cinema releases…food and drink brought to me every few hours. I was re-discovering the simple pleasures in life and it all seemed good and promising. We arrived safely and once check-in our hotel slept for 11 hours. Once I woke up rested, that is when the trouble begun. I missed my baby so much, I would find myself crying at the slightest thought of her. It was a feeling I had never had before. I had been away from loved ones before, but this was something else, a terrible feeling I cannot compare to any other.
In the meantime, our baby was happier than ever… she had two grandparents who were crazy about her, playing with her all day as well as grandma’s gourmet food (pancakes, organic home-made chicken nuggets and all sorts of other yummy things that my steamed vegetables could not possibly compete with).
The grandparents would skype with us each day and our baby looked so happy, but every time I saw her it became harder and harder for me to have fun or even to consider continuing being there. I would try and rationalise with myself: ‘it is only 9 days….I am so tired I need some rest…being away does not make me a bad mom…I should be able to have fun, life does not stop just because I have a baby….’ but nothing worked. I think that I started to look for return tickets on my third day there….going back was all I could think about and I was even prepared to leave my husband behind.
We lasted SIX days away.
So here are my thoughts on holidays without your baby if you want to keep your sanity. For what it is worth, I have arrived at these after hours of crying and considerable thinking. And, even though I felt like this, I WILL be going away again without my baby.
- be confident and happy with your childcare arrangements. There is nothing worse than knowing that the baby is not happy or being well
ooked after when you are trying to have some fun.
In our case, the grandparents were with us for almost 10 days before we left and we were 100% confident that our baby was happy being with them.
- chose a reasonable destination and a realistic amount of time away. Yes, in retrospect, 10 days away was too much and it was not helped by the fact that we were on the other side of the world. I think that had we gone to a closer destination for lets say, 3 to 4 days it would have been an ideal and restful holiday and essential time to spend as a couple.
- do not be afraid to say that you want to go back. It took me a few days of utter misery to admit defeat and come back early from our holidays, and once I did it, I was so much happier. Sometimes, you just have to disregard other people’s feelings and just do what you feel is right for yourself.
- remember that being away from your baby does not make you a bad mother. A chance to recharge your batteries, focus on yourself and your husband and rest is good for you and good for your baby.