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Time away from your children: Selfish or Important?

So yesterday we dropped our girls off at their grandparents to stay for a few nights, they are back on Christmas Eve.

On Sunday morning, as we were getting ready to leave, L said to me ‘Mummy, I don’t want to go, I want to stay at home with you’. Cue lots of guilty thoughts from me.

But I know they will have a brilliant time. They are going to the Panto today, they are going on a bus into town tomorrow, which they are very excited about. They share a double bed when staying at Nanny and Grandad’s and they love snuggling in together with their cuddly toys. They are going to be helping Nanny decorate the Christmas cake and make mince pies. They will do more Christmassy things with my parents than they would if they were home with me.

If they were home with me, they would be dragged around busy shops, they would be watching anything and everything on the tele so I can clean and launder and cook and so on. I wouldn’t think about doing craft with them, I wouldn’t think about taking them to a Christmas show, and I wouldn’t cook with them because I would worry about the mess and lose my patience and we would all get upset.

It doesn’t make me proud to type that.

But I am being honest. There are a lot of ‘mum’ things that haven’t come naturally to me and that I actively avoid.

It doesn’t mean I don’t love them more than life itself.

I have never cried when leaving my girls at nursery or school. I wasn’t emotional when I went back to work on both occasions. I didn’t really want to go back to work first time round but we had no choice. Second time around I didn’t go back to work, lasted 3 months after maternity leave as a ‘Stay at Home’ mum, went a bit bonkers, and ended up back in work for my own sanity!

I have had, and still have, no problem going away for the odd night without them in my dreams, and no problem with them staying with my parents who they have a close relationship with.

But sometimes I feel like I am wrong to feel ok with all of that. Every time I read a Facebook post about someone crying when they drop their child off at nursery, or read about people not going away with their partner for a weekend because they don’t like being away from their child, I feel TERRIBLE. Why don’t I feel like that? I SHOULD feel like that, shouldn’t I? But the truth is, I don’t.

Ever since I was young I have needed my own time. I have always been comfortable with my own company. Due to my fluctuating moods, which I have always had but have got worse over the years, I have often felt the need to retreat from various situations. Since having the girls obviously the chance to have this ‘me time’ (for want of a less selfish phrase) has been a million times reduced. I have generally dealt with that well, but on the flip side, when my parents have offered to look after the girls for a few nights, or we have the chance to go away for a weekend without the girls did I say earlier in my dreams? then I have tried to take it. I have needed that time to recharge my batteries and remember what it is like to be me before children. Going to work has also helped me deal with this balance between being me and being ‘Mummy’.

I know that I am very lucky to have the opportunities to still get some time to myself, and that a million others would like that but can’t.

For our family, the chances I have had to have some nights away from my girls have helped my sanity. And they have gained so much from the relationships they have formed through staying with others. I am very grateful for this.

How do you feel when you are away from your children?

Do you think time away is important?

Picking carrots at Nanny and Grandad's
Picking carrots at Nanny and Grandad’s
A Cornish Mum

6 thoughts on “Time away from your children: Selfish or Important?

  1. Lovely honest post. I’ve only left ours overnight a couple of times in 4 years. Whilst I’ve really enjoyed having time to myself/ with husband/ friends I do feel guilty for leaving them, although like yours they have a great relationship and time at their grandparents (our only babysitters). My daughter’s off this weekend to grandparents which I’m looking forward to as I might actually get a proper nights sleep! (but I’ll still be feeling a bit guilty) #PicknMix

  2. Thank you for posting this, I feel the same as you, I’m glad I’m not the only one. I love my kids to the moon and back but I need some time to me. I also need quality time with my husband. It’s nice to get away for a night or a few nights when we can and the kids have an amazing time with grandparents. #picknmix

  3. My eldest was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 5 and that was the end of my child free time except when he was at school for years as no one wanted the responsibility of looking after him and his brother plus doing injections etc. Luckily we have babysitters these days (eldest is 11 and a half now!) so finally able to have a bit of ‘us’ time and I do think it’s so important and it’s good for their independence.
    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

Would love to read your thoughts!