A Child Free Holiday

I feel like I’m only talking about holidays this week so apologies. The reason for this post is I’ve just been on a child free holiday. Whoop whoop! It was only for four days but those four days were wonderful and I am ashamed to say that although I missed the girls it was nowhere near as much as I thought I would.

I’ve left the girls for a couple of nights before for work or weddings but I have never left them longer. So when our friends announced they were getting married in Madrid it seemed the perfect excuse for a few days away. Now I will point out that the girls were actually invited to the wedding but after consulting with friends no one else was taking kids so we followed suit. We decided to tag a couple of extra days on to explore Madrid and ended up going Wednesday to Sunday.

I wasn’t really too sad to be leaving the girls as they are old enough now, five and nearly four, so knew they would be absolutely fine. It’s also been a hell of a long time since Edd and I had a break on our own. In fact I think it is probably seven years since we went to Barcelona for our second wedding anniversary. So a little trip was well overdue and who doesn’t love an excuse to pack some nice clothes that don’t need to be child proof? On that note if you want to see what I packed in my case head over to Rock My Style. Seems you can get more in a carry on case than you think.

The biggest factor when planning a child free trip is obviously ‘who on earth is going to look after them?’. I’m pretty lucky that we have family nearby and they very kindly offered (read had no choice) to look after Molly and Alice for us. I felt it was a bit of a big ask giving them to my mum for the whole time. Even I struggle with them for five days!! Instead we split the time between my mum and Edd’s mum and the girls were sooooo excited about all their sleepovers. It doesn’t take much does it?!

As is always the way, a last minute spanner was thrown in the works as Edd’s mum got her move date for her new house and it was, you guessed it, that weekend. I couldn’t grumble as she had been waiting six months to move. Instead I took a deep breath and got straight on with trying to rearrange the child care. Honestly, it’s a logistical nightmare and I haven’t even mentioned the swimming lessons and transfer of car seats between three different people!

Anyway, we eventually made it out the door looking rather presentable, for once, and off we went. I actually read my book and a trashy magazine on the plane. That never happens.

Just having some time not thinking about the day to day chores and planning was amazing. We got up when we wanted, had leisurely breakfasts and generally just chilled. A lot of the time when I’m doing things I think how much the girls would like it but this time I realised how much easier it was without them. There is no way in hell they would have walked 14 miles around the city, looked in quiet art galleries or sat for a nice long lunch and a glass of sangria. As we were strolling through the park we both remarked how easy it was not having to think about when we needed to stop for lunch or carrying bags full of snacks and spare clothes. It was not in a ‘wasn’t life great before kids?’ kind of way but more a case of appreciating and enjoying that exact moment. I knew it wouldn’t last so I wasn’t going to waste a second.

All our friends were there as well and one of my favourite afternoons was about 12 of us sitting in a gorgeous Plaza with the sun shining down. We had found the most amazing restaurant and we all sat chatting and laughing whilst drinking too much Sangria and eating yummy fresh food. There was no thoughts of rushing back for school pick up or what the hell was I cooking the girls for tea. No juggling work and childcare or spending my afternoon watching another ballet class. It was time for just us, as adults, and it was bliss.

Obviously I did miss the girls and called home to check how they were but not as often as I thought I would. Besides, they only spoke to me for all of five seconds before they were rushing off doing something else. They were on their own little holiday after all. One day I didn’t phone home at all, not even at bedtime. It was strangely liberating.

It was so nice spending time with Edd away from the kids. As he works away a lot it means that come the weekend he just wants to see the girls and our weekends are a whirlwind of trips to the park, chores and general family life so a few days with none of those distractions was lovely.

The days flew by though and after a wonderful (but rather late night) wedding it was time to return home. It’s funny how that return leg brings you back down to earth. I spent the flight thinking about logistics for the next day and the moment we stepped off the plane I was in M&S in the arrivals hall buying up stuff for the girls packed lunches. It would have been easier if I had been the mum that had remembered to book school dinners but that would be too simple wouldn’t it?! So we arrived home, I gave the girls a quick bedtime kiss and I was straight on with organising school bags, gym kits and lunches for the start of the new term. All whilst putting on three loads of washing, sorting school pick up logistics and getting myself ready to head off on a photoshoot at 5am the next day. Talk about back to reality.

But it was most definitely worth it and if you are even remotely contemplating a few days away, sans children, you need to do it. Everyone needs a bit of time to themselves and I’m vowing to try and do it more regularly (hope my mum doesn’t mind!). I know it isn’t easy when they are tiny but once you can you should really treat yourselves. Have any of you been on a childfree trip or are you planning one? Do tell.

mm
Lottie loves teaching her girls to be cake baking and crafting supremos. It may be messy but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
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12 Comments. Leave new

We’ve been invited to a wedding in France in August, and children aren’t invited. It had made childcare really tricky, as we’ll need to go for 2 nights, but like you we are sharing out across grandparents. My youngest will only be 8 months so I have all the guilt of leaving him, and the thought of it makes me miss them both already, but I know they’ll be fine and have the best time string spoilt by the grandparents.

Having just returned from a weeks family holiday, me and the husband cannot wait for a bit of child free time away – the holiday was amazing but wow, such hard work with a baby and a toddler. It’s important to spend time as a couple as well as a family, which we definitely don’t do enough at the minute with two small ones, so this is just a good excuse.

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Lottie Manns
18th May 2017 2:09 pm

I think sometimes you need a bit of a push/reason to get something booked in. France sounds excellent and I agree it is nice to have some time to yourself xx

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I had always planned to go to New York for my 30th and after much debate, my husband and I decided to keep that plan, and leave our 20 month old daughter with my parents. We were away 5 days and it did feel odd to drive away from her when I dropped her off and again when we flew thousands of miles away…but ultimately it was very liberating, we had a fantastic time and my daughter had a lovely time with her grandparents. My husband and I have amazing memories and I’m so glad we had our dream trip. It was so good for us as a couple. We were both desperate to see our daughter when we got home though!

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Lottie Manns
18th May 2017 2:08 pm

Oh Claire this sounds like an AMAZING trip. I am so pleased you managed to stick to your plans and a few days of you time is often just what is needed. x

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Download 2017 baby! We’re off to a festival without our 4yo and 1yo in a couple of weeks. My dad has very kindly volunteered to have the girls for four nights. We went when we only had a 2yo and the thing I found most amazing about the whole experience was being to wake up when I wanted to, and just sit around doing nothing as there were no demands on my time.

Having said that, I just went away to see my uni friends for the weekend and I missed them like I was missing a limb. So I might find this a bit harder than I thought I would when we booked it…

(It sounds like we leave them all the time. We don’t! We get one weekend a year each to go gallivanting, and we try to get away together once too. Unless there’s a small baby in the mix of course…)

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Lottie Manns
18th May 2017 2:07 pm

Go Sarah. I reckon a few nights away now and again does you good. We go away for various things and Edd is away most of the week for work so they are quite used to staying with grandparents. In fact they are always asking for sleepovers! xx

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I didn’t leave my eldest until she was two. I never thought I’d find it so hard to leave her but I really did. She barely missed me and had a brilliant time with her grandparents getting spoilt but for me, it was really emotional. If you’d said that when I was pregnant i’d have been aghast!

This time around I don’t feel so bad at the idea of leaving them both because they have each other and, I don’t know, it’s easier emotionally.

Whilst I LOVE going away as a family, I’ve really missed European City breaks which I just too hard with toddlers and newborns in tow. We tried it once and it was definitely a case of as soon as we arrived, it was time to leave! I’d love to go to Iceland to see the Northern lights so maybe this winter we might indulge. Chasing the lights at night is not really a trip you can take with babies and toddlers.

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Lottie Manns
18th May 2017 2:06 pm

Oh my gosh, the Northern Lights is on my to do list, it would be amazing. You definitely need to get that booked in. It does get easier as they get older but it’s still so lovely to return home and see them. xx

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Your trip sounds idyllic Lottie!
I’m currently pregnant with my first child so am trying to make the most of all the things I know my husband and I take for granted. We have a holiday in France booked with a group of friends for a wedding in June and then a weekend in the Cotswolds in July which will be our last trip as 2 before the baby arrives. I know life wont ever be the same but its great to hear that others are able to create some ‘couple’ time – I think that is really important.

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Lottie Manns
18th May 2017 2:05 pm

Definitely try and get those trips in before Carly but it is possible afterwards, even if it’s just an overnight trip. We probably could have done it sooner than we did but there was never really the right time but now I know they are quite happy whilst we are away I’m busily planning the next getaway! xx

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Ooh good timing!! We are considering a babymoon (with no.2) in the autumn and I am so excited at the idea of a lie-in and lazy breakfasts!! I haven’t told my mother yet however… 🙂

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Lottie Manns
19th May 2017 9:37 am

A baby moon sounds an excellent idea and I’m sure you mum will love a few days spoiling your little one x

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