This afternoon I read a Mumsnet post about whether holidays should be about family time and not just kids clubs.
It struck a nerve.
I’ll admit, if I think about a holiday, my wish list always includes a kids club and preferably a babysitting service. I’ll justify my desires with ‘I want my daughter to have fun and play with other children’. Deep down though, there is the standard pang of guilt.
Am I being selfish?
There are thousands of pictures, posts and websites about the idyllic family holiday. Children bounding through sand or trekking happily alongside their parents. Tents and campervans, a dog or two, messy faces and exhilarated adults.
The proud smile from Mummy as she watches Daddy and the offspring cavorting around whilst she prepares the early evening meal of sausages, jackets and beans. Afterwards, they all gaze up at the stars and truly relish the joy of a outdoorsy family holiday. This is what it’s like isn’t it? ** remaining blissfully ignorant of tantrums, tiredness and bad weather**
I wish that was us.
But we’re not those people and I don’t think we’re alone.
As terrible as it sounds, I want it all. I need to be partner as well as mummy, and I need my holidays to de-stress. I love my daughter with all my heart and I love being with her, but sometimes I reach a limit.
With only 25 days holiday a year and the start of school looming (or more to the point, the start of lengthy school holidays), I am facing the fact that it will get increasingly harder to justify taking a day of precious leave during term time in order to get my fix of ‘me time’.
This scares the hell out of me.
I want to have the patience of a Saint and I want every precious moment with my child to be memorable and enjoyable. However, I know that to spend all my holidays in the companionship of an under 5 will be disastrous for me, for her, for my partner and for our family.
I can’t do it. I can’t be that Mum and hold down my career without it affecting me mentally. I’m a jack of all trades and master of none and that goes for being a mum, being an employee and being a lover. Being an aspiring blogger just adds to the challenge.
I do my best and I teeter on the brink of collapse most of the time, never satisfied with my accomplishments in any of the three roles. Being a lover sits at the bottom of the priority list – always. Being a good employee and earning a living to support my family comes very close to the top, and of course being a Mum is at the very top, but plays second fiddle to an employment contract.
It is just the way it is.
So back to the holidays.
We will no doubt have some breaks that will be all-embracing of the wholesome family-time ethos and we will love it, bad weather and all. However, we will also occasionally take a holiday that gives us a chance to properly relax – one which will enable some adult time whilst our daughter plays in the kids club or is watched over by a qualified babysitter.
It may seem selfish but I’m juggling and struggling and until I can retire, win the lottery, or write full-time (and manage my time myself), then I will take any kids club or babysitter I can so that I can be the best Mum I can without totally losing my identity.