Week before last, The Husband and myself were in Italy. We were eating, and drinking, and walking, and shopping, and we did so for three whole days. For three whole days we were ourselves, we were just two adults enjoying the sights and scenes of beautiful cities. We could wake up at our own leisure, we could get ready to go out in thirty minutes and I was able to go around with a small bag. I finally got to spend quiet moments applying make-up and I even finished a book I had started a month before.
It was beautiful.
We lose ourselves in parenthood. Our children take over our lives. Everything you do is for them, and you end up with little (if any) time and energy for yourself or others. And so a break, even a short one, is not a luxury but a necessity.
Some of my friends have openly told me that they would not imagine going away for a couple of days without their children. “But how can I leave them behind?”, “But I’d feel so guilty”, “But they’re my children and my responsibility”, and perhaps the saddest reason I’ve heard – “But what would my husband and myself do and say all day long?” I have seen split-second moments of disbelief and shock on some friends’ faces when I tell them that we’re going away and leaving the children. I can read their unsaid thoughts on their faces – and they generally aren’t pretty thoughts.
You were half a couple before becoming a parent. You were allowed to be selfish and attend to your and your husband’s needs and screw the rest. Then you became a parent and priorities shifted. And rightly so.
We missed Cesca and Bettina, of course we did. I missed holding Cesca’s hand and seeing Bettina’s smiles. But I also knew that some me-time would recharge me, and make me do my job better.
So I would definitely suggest a short getaway to all parents, without the children. You’re no less of a parent for wanting some time away, doing what makes you happy and indulging in your pleasures, be them as selfish as they are.
In our case, a brief holiday like this one is one of the very few moments we can relax and find time to be ourselves. You see, I miss the Josepha that I was pre-babies. I miss the carefree people we both were before life and responsibilities set in.
And no, that does not mean that I don’t like my life, or the wonderful beings in it. I wouldn’t change anything if I was given half a chance. The girls make me the happiest mother on earth, and I can’t even begin to think of my life without them. So that is not the case.
It just means that sometimes you are allowed to be a bit selfish, and do what helps you. You’re a parent, but you’re also a person. I don’t believe that being tired, nervous and exhausted will help your family and children.
Mothers are constantly engulfed with guilt feelings. But we shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to be better.
That’s what I think at least.