As you may have noticed (ahem…) I was recently whisked off to Rome for a long weekend to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was an amazing surprise organised by my husband, who not only chose the perfect destination but also scoped out the best hotels and things to do whilst there. What he also managed to organise, was childcare – with Liv spending a few days with her granny.
Yep, you read it right.
We holidayed sans child.
A pretty controversial topic but one I’m going to broach from MY perspective.
Obviously my situation is slightly different with the planning being taken out of my hands, but if the shoe was on the other foot, I 100% would’ve made the same decision.
Firstly, the destinations my husband chose were Rome & Naples – places which I have been desperate to visit for ages (hellooo carbs) as I’ve not had the chance to explore much of Italy before. For anyone who has not been to either, they are busy. Not just down the town, shopping on a Saturday busy, but BUSY busy. To the point where I felt like a sardine crammed in as we walked down the main shopping alley in Naples. Not good for prams (nor those who struggle with claustrophobia for that matter) and DEFINITELY not suitable for a very independent, wants-to-be-walking-everywhere little toddler. There are also a lot of stairs into some of the most famous landmarks, with either no or very hidden, wheelchair/pram access.
I’m by no means suggesting that it’s impossible to take a baby/toddler, as we saw plenty of families there, but it would certainly have made the days a lot more stressful at times.
Obviously with it being my 30th, I was quite keen to celebrate (and also drown my sorrows a little bit) with good Italian wine. I’m not a big drinker, and very rarely have a drink in the house if Liv is there. I don’t know why, but I have a very irrational fear of needing to drive in an emergency with Liv, and being unable to because I’d had a drink gives me the fear. So I just don’t.
I believe this fear would multiply ten fold whilst being in a foreign country and not speaking the language. Not only that, but we ate quite late every night as we were so busy cramming everything in during the day, that it would completely throw off Livs routine. I know a lot of travelling families rely on a pram for their baby to sleep in but we have huge issues with getting Liv to sleep in her pram these days (too busy being nosy) so it just wouldn’t be an option for us.
A big part of going away is relaxing routines and enjoying food and drink – which for anyone who has a toddler knows, is just near impossible.
Finally, we rarely go for nights/meals out as a couple these days. We either cant justify the expense or favour spending our limited time off with Liv – and quite rightly so. But it can mean that our quality time together as a couple has pretty much dwindled to none. As we all know, having a child can put a massive strain on a relationship/marriage and the irony isn’t lost that the time we need to try and nurture our relationship the most is the time when we have very little free time to do so. So having the weekend to do just that felt AMAZING.
We joked, laughed, relaxed (not to mention SLEPT) and properly listened to one another without any distraction or worries of daily life. And as my husband pointed out at the end of the trip, we managed to get through the whole trip without any arguments or niggles – surely unheard of in day-to-day life?!
Of course none of the above outweighed the fact that I missed Olivia like CRAZY. I don’t think there was a single hour we didn’t speak about her and by the end of our third day, we were desperate to get home and see her. She was so well looked after by her granny and the stream of photos and texts of her smiling/getting up to mischief was so reassuring to us that she was having as much of a ball as we were.
It doesn’t fully placate the ‘mum guilt’ I felt though and I doubt anything will. I also appreciate that there are parents out there who categorically could NOT leave their baby to holiday, which I totally get and don’t pass judgement. I’ve seen/heard the argument about how we’ll have plenty years of holidays without our children when they’re grown up which is absolutely true and I cannot WAIT to go on holiday with Liv and im sure we’ll have an absolute ball, albeit in a slightly stricter, more responsible way…. 🤭
Ultimately, this weekend was about celebrating a special occasion, relaxing and spending some quality time together as a couple while Liv is still young enough not to realise. I highly recommend if parents get the chance and are swaying about what to do, to go for it!