I am finally back from my child-free holiday and raring to blog again.
Well, technically speaking, I was actually back last week. But since my baby got sick a day later, I decided to take the rest of the week off as a holiday.
(Yes, I’m actually having to designate ‘weeks off’ while on maternity leave. It’s a funny old life.)
However, this gave me some time and space to reflect on the wonderful holiday I’d had. For although I missed my daughter every second of every day, it was really nice to be me again for a little while.
I love being a mum
I love it with every fibre of my being. My daughter is the be-all and end-all and I’d do anything for her.
But spending a day just sitting and reading a book – without being on high-alert, waiting for the next meltdown – was absolute bliss. I felt the tenseness melt away as my constantly jangling nerves realised they could take a rest. My jaw, that is often so clenched I get a headache, has never been more relaxed.
It’s not something I could do often nor for longer than a few days. But it certainly re-charged the part of me that was struggling to deal with the overwhelm of being a new mother. Everyone tells you how hard it’s going to be, but you don’t actually believe it until you’re in the thick of it.
However, it was also an opportunity for a bit of learning. Before having a baby, there are a number of things I took for granted on holiday.
Not any more. So naturally, I made a list!
Here are the 5 key things that I learnt to appreciate on my child-free holiday:
1) Thinking about myself
Not in a selfish or narcissistic way of course! I actually considered my well-being and did crazy things like drank plenty of water and reapplied sun-cream throughout the day. Standard self-care practices, but ones that come way down on my list of priorities as a mother. Usually, I realise that despite Moo having multiple cups of water and regular top-ups of factor 50 a day, I’ve got burned shoulders and a single coffee in my system. It felt good to be hydrated, let me tell you!
2) Glamour is overrated
I used to buy into the whole ‘beach body‘ philosophy, desperate to ooze poise and glamour on my holidays. The only trouble is, baby or no baby, that just is not me. I’m more of the squeeze into a bikini, become a sweaty mess within 10 seconds of heat exposure and sport hair frizz to rival Monica-from-Friends’ kinda gal. There is nothing remotely glamorous about me in a hot country. And do you know what I noticed? That applies to most other people too. Usually I’d be seeking out those that look ‘better’ than me and frantically comparing my pale muffin top to their toned, tanned vibe. This time, I didn’t bother with comparison and instead paid attention to those people who were just letting go and enjoying themselves. Out of anyone, they were having the best time – so I wrestled into my bikini and joined them.
3) More energy
A combination of hot, lazy days and wine-fueled evenings often leave me feeling very lethargic on holiday. However, that was before I knew what 9 months worth of broken nights felt like. For 4 whole nights I slept completely undisturbed – and I’ve never felt more alert and awake in my life! I had to take 12 flights of stairs rather than the lift to our room just to burn off some extra energy. It’s amazing how refreshed you can feel when you sleep properly. Once Moo is older and sleeps well, I feel like I’m going to be unstoppable.
4) Crap buffet food
Food is usually a big part of a holiday – especially for me. I don’t stop eating from the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep. I love it. But since I’m still hovering around the overweight mark, the fact that the hotel dinner buffet was a pile of crap actually really helped. I didn’t over-indulge once (OK, apart from the shop-bought chocolate and wine every evening). On returning, I weighed in at the same weight I was when I left… a result if ever I saw one!
5) Other people’s children
I’ll admit, I used to be one of those miserable people that wasn’t a fan of children. Other people’s children. The messy, sticky, noisy, irritating, little monkeys that they are. But since creating one of my own, I’ve done a complete 360. I can’t get enough of little ones (in a completely non-creepy way FYI). When I see babies or toddlers, my automatic reaction is to start entertaining – I even became an impromptu babysitter at a recent wedding. While on my child-free holiday, this feeling intensified to pure jealousy of every parent passing me with their offspring. I missed mine so fiercely that I had to keep myself from jumping in to join other people’s family activities.
My child-free holiday was absolutely amazing, but I’m immensely glad that I’m home. I’m trying to put some of my learnings into practice – like remembering to drink more water – for a more balanced life.
Have you been on a child-free holiday? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!