So, you’ve left your family behind with your children presumably in the care of your partner (though my husband has outsourced this to grandparents on occasion) while you indulge yourself in some sans-children living. Where going to the toilet happens by yourself. Where you can use your phone freely without employing ninja tactics to keep it out of grubby finger reach. Where a cup of tea in bed means just that: not a cup of tea in bed with children and now the sheets need to be washed.
So here are some things you may need to let go of on your return from holiday bliss:
- The administration of food.
Might seem trivial, but if your partner has been feeding the children, chances are one of the following has occurred: a) a huge mess b) kitchen drawers rearranged c) takeaway meal after meal or d) all of the above. Diets and cutlery drawers can be put right. Just think of those uninterrupted coffees you had while away and let it go.
- The housework.
My husband has (in the past) congratulated himself to no end on his ability to feed the children fresh fish and steamed vegetables, but neatly pole-vaulted over the ever growing dirty washing pile and filthy filthy floors to do it.
I’ve found that one 24 hour period away equates to about two housework hours upon return. Again, think of that ENTIRE conversation you were able to have about Miley Cyrus’ lifestyle choices with your friend over a dinner you didn’t have to cook or clean up after. Nearly forgot how rare and precious that was, didn’t you?
- Children’s first port of call.
Usually this is me, but after a few days away, my husband is called upon for such important topics as “Can You Wipe My Bum?” and “Where’s My Incredibly Small Toy Which Is The ONLY One Which Will Get Me To Sleep Tonight?” Now for some this is a Big Deal since it means as a mother, they may not be as important as they think they once were pre-trip. Rest assured mums, this only lasts for an hour or two then it’s back to normal and you’re the Encyclopaedia For Everything.
- Bad Habits.
Children wearing pyjamas all day? Bathing seen as optional? Chocolate Freddo chasers with every meal? Unmetered TV watching? I could go on and on. The thing about habits is that they can be broken and I find the cold turkey method is best. Put on your battle gear once the honeymoon period has ended and cut it all off. Your kids will be back in the United States of Mama in no time.
This is perhaps the hardest and I did allude to it in point #2. Being a martyr mother is a bloody hard job (I should know, I’m devoting an entire blog to it) and while the idea of a little time out makes me giddy, there is also a little part of me wanting my husband to KNOW just how hard it is. I want the kids to tantrum every hour, beds to be wet, appetites to be fussy and the playing of blocks for three hours nonstop to be boring. This way I can triumphantly return with the light of a saint illuminating my towering self and overnight bag as I waltz through the door, soothing a crying child while I pop a mouthful of food into another. I want it to be hard so he KNOWS why doing the grocery shopping alone is infinitely preferable to completing it with the kids.
So when you get home and your partner talks about his/her successes, not the abominable hell of it all, that’s fine. It means your children were in great hands, that they weren’t upset and that you can have more time out as soon as your lying-through-their-teeth-want-to-be-in-the-foetal-position partner gives you the green light. Just give them a kiss and hug and thank your lucky stars you can leave your children in capable, loving hands.
The moral? You had some time off and your kids are still alive and (hopefully) happy when you returned. It shouldn’t really matter how that happened, but simply that it did. And anything your partner says about it being blissful or easy has clearly been self-medicating themselves with chocolate or gin.