As parents we’re constantly looking after the needs of our kids. How about our own needs? Tulika Singh tells us why we need kid-free holidays.
I wasn’t born an obsessive mom. Truly I wasn’t. Like I said before I wasn’t even a kid-friendly person till the twins came along. And then I was transformed into a mum – all of me. And I’m not complaining. Well most of the time I’m not. Oh okay… I don’t really mean it even if I do.
Every mum needs a break and holidays without kids will ensure you get one!
“Is there bread for tomorrow”, “Did I put the curd for setting”, “The printer’s down again”, “Did the kids finish their homework?” “What shall I make for lunch”, “Ah the maid isn’t coming in again”
But mums need a break, even obsessive moms. Not just from the kids but also from home and the entire shebang that comes with it – “Is there bread for tomorrow”, “Did I put the curd for setting”, “The printer’s down again”, “Did the kids finish their homework?” “What shall I make for lunch”, “Ah the maid isn’t coming in again”.. A break from the mental preoccupation that comes with the territory.
Last week, after much debating (with myself) and plenty of prodding (from friends and family) we planned a break without the kids – three of my pals and I. I won’t write about what we did there. No, we didn’t paint the town red, we didn’t booze till the sun came up, we didn’t break into a song and dance in the market place – yet it was a holiday we’re not likely to forget in a hurry.
It was a holiday where the usual everyday stuff was special in its simplicity, only because we were four relaxed women shorn of our everyday responsibilities and worries. We had no agenda, no places to visit, no shopping to do, no hurry to get anywhere.
I recommend it strongly for every mum – in fact the more you are into your kids the more you need to do this.
1. It puts you in touch with your ‘before-the-kids-came-along’ self
Often the more fun carefree you, with the kids you become a different person – you need to be a different person – responsible and grown up and more than a little anxious.
While on holiday we broke our own rules. We had snacks for lunch, roamed the markets till late at night, stopped at whatever took our fancy, stayed up talking books past midnight then lazed in bed next morning and lingered over breakfast.
An outing like this puts you in touch with the fun-relaxed you, reminding you of the joy of letting go once in a while. When you come back with that reminder you become a more fun-relaxed mum – and that’s good for the kids.
2. It gives you a reality check
Bringing home the fact that the kids can survive without you and happily so,which for a sane mum, is the most liberating of thoughts. It makes you less clingy, (if you thought only kids were clingy, think again) encouraging you to give the kids more freedom, equipping them to handle more responsibility which is good for them, right?
3. It shows you a new side to your kids
My SIL, who was with the twins while I was away, said she grew sick of listening to them saying, ‘Mama said… , ‘Mama said…’, ‘Mama said…’. This was amazing because it meant they had actually been listening while I was talking and were doing what I asked them to in my absence. Woohoo! A miracle! With this new found perspective I can perhaps begin to perceive them as somewhat responsible tweens rather than the babies I think them to be…. and that’s good for them.
4. Oh and it’s rejuvenating
Which means you can get back to the task of mothering with ever more happiness and enthusiasm and the belief that you are on the right track. Which means you can be a better mum, and that again – yes you got it – is good for the kids.
So for your kids’ sake – take that break.
Disclaimer: Let me clarify – this is just a way of selling the idea to mums who think they’ll be deserting the kids if they go on vacation. You should do this more for yourself than for the kids or the husband. You should do it even if life for them isn’t quite perfect when you’re away. You should do it even if they protest. They’ll learn to value you more when you’re around.
You owe it to yourself!
*This post originally apppeared on Obsessivemom