I went to Spain a couple of weeks ago for a child-free/husband-free weekend away to celebrate my sister-in-law’s upcoming nuptials.
The Greek God(zilla) was at home with the solo parenting gig, which is code for moving into his parents house for the weekend. Solo parenting for my husband usually involves a visit to his mum’s, where the only requirement of him is to lie down, drink beer and read the papers while Yiayia happily entertains her grandson.
This arrangement actually suits me too, as it reassures me that they will both return home well-fed and watered; and probably with enough food to stock our freezer for an entire month.
There was much excitement in the run-up to our Spanish getaway. Many messages were sent back and forth between the bride-to-be and myself, discussing how many pairs of shoes to pack, nail polish colours to take, adapters, towels, swimsuits, baggage requirements, boarding passes, wine, make-up, hair straighteners and snacks for the plane.
Unfortunately we copied in the Greek God(zilla)’s other sister, BB, on every single one of them, which would have been fine, except that she has an incredibly busy full-time job and very little interest in our debate over whether to have a pedicure in the UK, at the airport, or once we arrived in Spain.
However, as she was putting us all up in her house in Tarragona for the weekend, we continued to bombard her inbox with various banal questions regarding the facilities available, leaving her to wonder if we had in fact ever travelled to another country before.
When the conversation moved on to whether our foundation and concealer should be classed as a liquid or not, she simply turned off her phone.
I had forgotten all of the things it is possible to enjoy on holiday when you only have yourself to consider. As much as I have welcomed our family holidays in Crete and Devon over the past few years, they have not been especially relaxing. Although this break was quite short in comparison to a 2-week summer holiday, having a whole weekend to put our feet up and indulge our every single whim brought about much excitement and appreciation.
Here are ten rejuvenating benefits of holidaying without your husband and kids in tow:
- Packing for one means there was no need for a big suitcase that had to be checked into the hold. I took a cabin case instead and CARRIED ON. What a luxury not to have to allocate my entire hand luggage allowance to Superhero figures and our Winnie the Witch book collection. Although there was some confusion on the definition of 50ml, which was quickly cleared up with another quick fire round of text messages to our host…
- Leaving the house is simply a case of calling a taxi and getting into it. There is no mad dash around the house looking for the Greek God(zilla)’s keys/wallet/sunglasses/passport, nor a child declaring he needs a poo just as you have finally finished loading the car.
- The airport is actually quite a fun place to hang out when you are free to roam the shops at leisure and not having to battle your husband and son’s constant demands for crisps, sweets, chocolate, toys, juice and sticker books.
- Even on a short 2-hour flight, there is time to read a book on the plane that does not have pictures or rhyme!
- Talking to another grown-up without being interrupted by requests for food, drink, iPhones and toilet breaks is such a novelty that we continued to talk without interruption for the entire weekend. There was never more than a moment’s pause between topics at any one time. We covered weddings, house prices, kitchen extensions, weight loss, relationships, exercise, family, hair, food, accessories, Eastenders vs Coronation Street, Rioja and Pharrell. Heaven.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but one that is usually consumed on the run, or with little hands picking at your plate. Taking a plate of cured meats, cheese, bread, fruit and steaming hot mugs of tea into the garden for a couple of hours was the perfect way to set us up for a long walk on the beach before lunch.
- You are able to choose a restaurant based purely on its extensive wine list, not its children’s menu.
- The swimming pool is not something to fear will swallow your children, but a place to be horizontal and take in some rays.
- Drinking wine in the middle of the day is guilt-free without the responsibility of making sure that a small person is not breaking something, hitting something, drinking from the tap, falling into the pool, or missing.
- Taking an afternoon siesta to sleep off all the food and wine, in a bed that you do not have to share, was possibly the most rejuvenating part of all.
We are thinking of making it an annual event. Or a law, or something.