[Ad] Question: would you go on holiday without the kids?

Is it selfish? Or self-care, and the best thing you’ll ever do for your marriage and for your own mental health?

Back at the beginning of the year, we made what felt like a brave decision to book our first proper family holiday abroad. And while I tend not to get excited about things in case something goes wrong(!), I was looking forward to it.

Holidaying without the kids - selfish or self-care? Is it okay to go on holiday with the children? #holidayswithoutthekids #selfcare #familyholidays

Family Holidays Mean Parenting In a Different (More Expensive) Place

We did a cruise when Pixie was old enough to enjoy the kids club and Elfin was still a baby. We took my mum with us, with the idea of having some help so that we could enjoy some time to ourselves too. But it wasn’t the easy breezy experience we’d hoped, and it didn’t have us itching to book our next foreign getaway.

Cruise Ship

Despite going somewhere we’d been desperate to see for years and ticking a destination off our holiday bucket list, it felt very much half-done. We had minimal time alone; we made minimal use of the extensive and (apparently) excellent entertainment on board; we do not feel that we have done that holiday. Ultimately, it was an extremely expensive experiment, and it backfired.

We parked family holidays abroad for a while, and decided to continue enjoying occasional breaks in the UK, which meant less travelling, less money, and less pressure for it to be perfect. 

Center Parcs Elveden Forest Review

Our Second Attempt At a Proper Family Holiday Abroad

So, by the time Elfin was approaching three – and finally beginning to sleep a little better – we decided to go for it. The girls had never been on a plane, and we were desperate to return to Italy. It holds a special place in our hearts, being the place that we got engaged (Venice) and returned for our honeymoon (multiple stops on a cruise). 

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But we also holidayed in beautiful Lake Garda, and that’s where we chose to return to with the girls. We researched the most appropriate location for a family, and it should have been perfect…

Except, of course, we chose the exact area sandwiched between the initial european breakout of a pandemic, at the exact time at which it broke out. Needless to say, our holiday was one of the very first to be cancelled when this all began.

So. Like many other families, we’ve not had a holiday this year, and we’re left wondering what to do for the best. I know a few people who’ve been abroad since lockdown lifted, and I can’t deny I’ve been envious. And while we’re there quite yet, it’s definitely led to some holiday lust and late night browsing of the Voyage Privé website!

Looking At Holidays Post Pandemic

And now the landscape has shifted unimaginably, and I’m very uncertain, about so many things. Yet, I also suspect that in the not too distant future things will feel on more of an even keel, one way or another.

We cannot live this way forever, travel corridors are already opening up, and I’m remaining positive that a vaccination will become available.

Holiday Villa

Which leaves me with a whole new dilemma…

Should We Consider a Holiday Without the Kids?

We’ve had lots of weekends away in the UK, usually for just one night, but once we went for two. And it’s always been fine, wonderful in fact. The girls have lovely relationships with their grandparents so it’s a treat for them too, and having some adult time to reconnect feels revitalising for our marriage.

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Here’s the thing… I have an illogical fear of something happening to us or our babies while we’re in a foreign country.

Beautiful Beach With Sunhat and Flip Flops

It’s silly, it’s based on nothing, but the irrational anxiety remains nonetheless. 

Aside: This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve acted on an irrational sense of tempting fate, and then been proved right in a stranger-than-fiction scenario… When Elfin was tiny and extremely challenging due to her allergy-induced colic, I refused to let my husband take her out for a drive further than he’d be able to get home on foot – just in case they broke down and she needed feeding.

The very first time I relented – I kid you not – on a slip road approaching an A road, the cam belt went destroying the engine, and I never drove that car again! Took my husband half an hour to walk home. (And I felt validated!)

So, with the girls older and less dependent on us, and the challenging year we’ve had, and the fact that (as we’ve established above) a family holiday is not really a holiday for the parents at all, I can’t help wondering whether we should consider a break for just the two of us. Honestly, the idea is hugely appealing – yet equally overwhelming.

What to pack for a family holiday abroad

If I could make peace with my worries, I would love nothing more than a short break in the UK with the girls, and another weekend break abroad with my husband. But I am so undecided.

If my apprehension were not a consideration, I think ultimately that so long as a holiday without the kids doesn’t replace a holiday with them, then why not? If you’re in the fortunate position of being able to do both, and you’re comfortable to do so, then it is probably very beneficial – both for your relationship – and even for the children too.

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How long for is another topic altogether of course!

Have you or would you consider a holiday abroad without the kids? Should we just go for it?!

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An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.

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