Last week we escaped on a 3 day holiday without the kids. Although it was short, we enjoyed the freedom, the company of our friends and of course all the amazing food that Penang has to offer and unbelievable prices. We literally ate throughout the entire day, sampling as much as possible, shopping or taking breaks only so that we could start eating again!
We travelled with two other couples, and coincidentally (or is it a birds-of-a-feather kind of thing?) all of us have three kids each. So 6 of us on holiday meant that we had to make arrangements for, and rely on something like 15 adults to help mind the 9 children, aged 6 months to 11 years, while we were gone. As a rough guestimate, I think only about 4 of these adults actually help out daily or a few times a week – the others are occasional caregivers/entertainers that had to be roped in!
But lest you think we just scoot off and wash our hands of everything, it is no mean feat planning the logistics, and managing the various personalities and temperaments of all those involved, even when we’re away. And I’m NOT talking about the toddlers!
I know some parents who have never, or rarely travel without their kids, and with a larger brood it gets even more difficult to get away, but if like me you’re with them SO much during the day, it’s almost a necessity to have a chance to sleep uninterrupted, to have a breather, to just go to the next room without being yelled after for, etc. On an ordinary day, with one kid not yet in school and who probably naps less (or equivalent) to her 4.5YO brother, one who doesn’t nap, and and everything else inbetween, it just feels like it can get a little overbearing. Just by a tiny weeny bit.
The chance to travel and explore new places, do new things, to feel young and carefree again, to be able to enjoy the moments without having to be interrupted to feed, entertain or wipe someone’s bum, even if it’s for a short few days, is precious.
So we are of course extremely lucky and so grateful to have these 15 people whom we can count on to help make sure the monkeys don’t kill each other over the weekend. It’s also good that the kids know they can depend on someone else other than their parents, and for us it’s nice to have the opportunity to miss the little monkeys. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and a break is good for both parents and children, no?
And while we might have returned to kids who have caught the flu, whose eyes have turned to squares from too much screen time, or kids who might need a little coaxing back to their routines, we are thankful for all the people who have stepped up to help out, even if it was a little stressful or caused them (and us too!!) a little emotional distress. But hopefully it was not have been too much emotional distress, and that when it comes to the next time round (oh I’m definitely looking forward to our next trip, whenever that might be!), they will hit by selective amnesia and be placated by the copious amount of goodies we brought back this trip :p