Firstly my lovely readers I need to apologize for being rather missing in action last week, but I was on a mummy holiday. I went away to Mykonos and Paros for 5 days for my sister’s birthday – without the kids!! Leaving them was a super big deal for me and I wasn’t sure that I could do it, but it was a big birthday and I couldn’t miss it nor could I miss out on the idea of 5 days of just being me.
For ages I wasn’t sure that I could go. Excuses not to go were flying out of my mouth left, right and centre. This is what happens when I am anxious; my brain creates reasons that my fears are justified so I don’t have to admit that I am just scared. I knew I wanted to go, but I was frightened; frightened of flying, frightened of leaving the kids and frightened to be doing something just for me. I never used to be like this; I have always been anxious, but I didn’t let it stop me. Since having my children and specifically since having the twins it has been out of control. I am afraid of everything and anything; even going on the tube which I used to do on a daily basis. Once I accepted that I was just afraid and my excuses were just nonsense it was like something clicked and I realised this just has to stop. I can’t keep missing out on things because I am frightened and so I decided to go and I am beyond glad that I did. I can’t tell you how much better I feel having taken that leap.
Honestly since deciding to go something has lifted from me. I don’t why, but the shackles that I felt were holding me down have released. I have no longer felt held down and caged by my fear and have started to believe that I can do things even if they are outside my comfort zone. I feel like me again; the girl who is scared, but does it anyway.
The thing about health, mental or otherwise, is that you never know when you will feel better or indeed when illness might strike. So we all really need to live for now. I have not been doing that as I have been too busy worrying about what might happen. I think the trauma of having a baby in the NICU and PICU was affecting me everyday. I have seen that stuff can go wrong and this created a permanent justification for my fears. That is frankly bloody exhausting. Today I feel like I am back to my normal self and I am ready to throughly embrace the reprieve from the overanxious me. Hopefully she won’t be back any time soon! As not feeling anxious has opened up my world. It has enabled me to have this mummy holiday which I so needed. I have been reminded of who I am without the children and have a much better idea of how to merge those two identities together so that I don’t put so much pressure on myself. I am not perfect and I cannot protect everyone from everything constantly. I have accepted that I need to let go (well a bit!!)
I feel so lucky that my parents and husband filled the gap so that I could go and spend 5 days with my sister, my brother in law and her friends. I had the best time. Leaving the kids was so hard and I cried all the way down the road when I left. I did miss them loads and was a bit emotional one afternoon, but it was worth it. Having 5 days where I could do what I wanted when I wanted was a luxury and I felt so relaxed. I even stayed out till 4am dancing which I haven’t done for I don’t know how long. Trust me I paid for that the next day, but I had a great night dancing to euro pop. I laughed so much everyday and just felt entirely rejuvenated by the experience.
It sounds so stupid to say, but I feel really proud of myself that I did this on my own. I not only flew alone, but also took a ferry from one Greek island to another and spent 24 hrs alone in a hotel. Now this was no hardship; it was a fabulous hotel where I lay by a pool drinking champagne and espresso martinis (which by the way are the work of the gods) and just read my book. I am fairly sure that sounds awesome to many parents.
It was bliss! Since a few months ago getting on the tube was a huge deal for me doing all of that by myself and not feeling like a total basket case of nerves felt brilliant.
In case you were wondering Mykonos and Paros are stunning; amazing food, great drinks, beautiful settings and certainly, in my case, a great group of people – what more could you ask for? I will write about the lovely places we stayed as the owners definitely deserve a mention and the islands themselves, but for now I will just say that, if you can, I really recommend taking a mummy (or a daddy) holiday. When I came home the first thing I said to my husband was that he needed to arrange a trip of his own. It is lovely for us to get to go away together, but that isn’t always possible and after my experience of leaving the kids for 5 days I think it is a great thing to do for any parent. The fact that the other parent is still at home makes it so much easier to go. I mean what is there to worry about if their father or mother is taking care of them? It certainly made it easier for me to relax and just enjoy myself. If you do decide to do a trip leaving the kids you will undoubtedly miss them, but the battery recharge that it gives you makes it all worth it. I genuinely feel like I can be a better mummy to them now. I took a step back and everyone survived… The world did not stop turning when I was me and not just mummy. For me it has been an important lesson and one that I very much enjoyed learning under that Greek sunshine.
If you are going on a mummy holiday you might also like this post about packing as a mummy.