“I’m not against taking my children on holiday, I’m just not against taking the opportunity to go without them”
This time last year, I was sailing out of Istanbul on a cruise ship with my husband.
We left our 2 kids, aged 7 and 2, in Australia with my sister and we weren’t going back for 2 weeks.
I was thrilled.
I was on my way to Greece (fu*king Greece!) with my man, unlimited cocktails and all the breakfast buffet I could handle.
Im a worse mum than just that though; I was also missing a birthday. Our eldest son was turning 8 the day before we were due to arrive home. Instead of cutting a cake with him, I was going to be ordering pizza and beer from a cabana in Mykonos.
Did I feel guilty? No.
Not even when people said “I could never leave my kids like that.”
Not even when met with all the ‘how could yous’ and questions about whether or not I will miss my children. A lot of people were really concerned about what they would do while we were gone – like maybe we were just leaving them in a cupboard, but I had plan. And a back up plan. I had spreadsheets and itineraries. Timetables and emergency contacts. Everyone knows where they need to be at what time, my will is up to date and my life insurance is on point. I had everything organised, right down to the chocolates that need to go to school on party day. Lock, stock, the lot. Should anything unforeseen happen, I have a plan for that too and I know that everything is taken care of. Of course I will miss them.
But I’m going.
I understand people not wanting to be that far away from their children, I do. When your heart is walking around outside of your chest, you think you might die if you tear yourself away and I get that but; as much as I live for my kids, I’ve gotta live my own life too.
It wasn’t the first time I’d gone away without them and it won’t be the last.
I’m a traveller. That’s my thing. Some people like horses, some people play sport but I want to explore the world and I’m just not willing to wait.
Thinking “I’ll get there some day” is not playing it safe.
My life could be changed irrevocably at any minute and I don’t want my tombstone to read “here lies Julia… she was waiting for the right time.”
I like to use the excuse of “I started having kids when I was 20” meaning I didn’t get the opportunity to go travelling as much as I would have liked to when I was younger, but that’s bullshit.
I’d still be doing it anyway.
There’s a lot of the world to see and a lot of experiences to have in one lifetime. They’ll be OK without me for a couple of weeks at a time while I’m taking my time to learn about it; making memories with my husband and getting inspired for the future when the kids do come exploring with us.
I’m not against taking my children on holiday, I’m just not against taking the opportunity to go without them.
And do you know how many times my crafty son has used this knowledge against me? None. Despite his natural ability to milk any situation and use any ammo he has to get what he wants– he gets it and hes OK.
When we got home after our 2 weeks, we came with presents and the kind of love you give when you’ve missed the shit out of someone. And I had. Even though Id had such an amazing time, coming home to them was always going to be the best part.
We laughed and we heard all about the “awesome birthday” and all the ways our kids had been spoiled while we’d been away. We looked at photos and when our now 8 year old asked us “wheres this?” and we said “Mystras! That was such an amazing day. It’s a Unesco world heritage site. It was built in 1249 and even though there’s no running water or anything up there, people lived there until the 50s!”
He responded with:
“yeah but, what did you have for lunch?”