The guilt of a childfree holiday

The guilt of a childfree holiday

Do you remember when you used to just book a holiday, pack and then bog off to enjoy yourself?

You pleased yourself. You went wherever you fancied. You didn’t pick a hotel based on family-friendly ratings.

You just went, because you could.

If you can’t quite think back to those dark and distant pre poo-filled times now, I’ll help you out. It was called a ‘child-free holiday’.

A child-free holiday? What’s that then?

Back in the day, you probably didn’t even realise it was called that. I doubt there were many other types of holiday for you, but since your little angels have arrived, your getaways will have most likely taken a slightly different direction.

Ours certainly have.

For the past 2 and a bit years, holidays have been about local amenities, locations chosen by other families, family-friendly reviews, or wherever we could get on my husband’s air miles to piggyback his business trip.

Until now that is.

Last weekend, we were lucky enough to book my parents in for childcare, and the old dog and I sodded off on a long weekend to ski in Chamonix.

Exciting, right?

The build up felt like a pretty mixed bag actually (for me anyway).

Obviously, I was excited.

Since we have had Lady P, Alex and I have spent virtually no time together on our own. Nothing new here – I think that is pretty normal for most couples with young kids.

We still have a strong marriage, but it’s fair to say our relationship has changed quite a lot because of it. I’m guilty of opting for family time over couple time and HATE the phrase ‘date night’. I also really don’t mind when he wants to go out with his rugby pals and I stay in to watch drossy reality TV shows.

Given the nature of our jobs too, we are also both often late into the night, with one of us usually falling asleep on the sofa. Romantic, huh?

I’m not asking for the world’s smallest violin to play for me here, by the way. I’m just stating fact.

I do therefore realise that it’s really important to remember that we were girlfriend-boyfriend and wife-husband before becoming mother-father, so we both need to put some graft in there regularly too.

We needed to have some fun. Together.

Shoop shooping in Chamonix. So freaking cold! ❄️☃️⛷????#ski #chamonix #argentiere

A photo posted by Rhian Harris (@fromtumtomum) on

At the same time, I felt levels of guilt that I’d never ever expected.

It’s not the first time we’ve been away from her – I have done the odd night or weekend with the girls, and he works away a lot. We’d never both left her for an extended period of time though, and certainly not in a different country.

For the whole week prior to leaving her, I couldn’t fight the feelings of anxiety.

I felt as though I needed to spend every second that I could with her, as if it was the last time I was ever going to see her again.

I felt doubly terrible that I was leaving her with a cough and cold, knowing that probably all she’d really want when feeling a bit rubbish is a cuddle with her Mummy.

I even emailed my work ‘older sisters’ for advice as their kids are well into their teens and I knew they’d have been in this situation before.

They didn’t fail me.

One of them pointed out that she thought her marriage might have lasted longer if they’d spent more time together as a couple. The other reminding me that we have had a tough year and probably needed some fun time together. They both said they’d each had holidays away from their kids that they had not regretted.

The only regret they’d has was that they probably didn’t do it enough, and maybe phoned home too much when they did.

facetiming toddler

Here we are, FaceTiming. I’m not sure what I am saying, and I am pretty sure Lady P is more interested in CBeebies.

They reminded me that their kids didn’t really miss them, and they were allowed to eat chocolate buttons for breakfast whilst under ‘Grandparent rules’.

Of course, as usual, they were right.

So I took it on board and tried to stop beating myself up about it.

My advice would be to make the most of your time with your partner, or on your own because that is equally as acceptable and important, and make it matter. Don’t spend your whole time feeling guilty, because then you’ll have wasted your time and made yourself feel sad in the process. Meanwhile, your kids will be having a ball eating sugar-filled cereal for breakfast and drinking bleach (just kidding).

So if you feel anything like me, do your accounts, drink some wine, enjoy dinner together, have a bath, put your makeup on ALONE, don’t pack any baby wipes, take the piss out of your husband a bit, and then race home as fast as you can from the airport to give your little one the biggest cuddle you can ever imagine.

And then just don’t book another one for a little while.

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13 Comments on "The guilt of a childfree holiday"

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You definitely shouldn’t feel guilty! Me and my husband have been out alone three times in the last year and we should definitely do it more! A holiday sounds fabulous but I’m not sure I could do it without a little guilt either- comes with the job doesn’t it?! #stayclassymama


We didn’t get a child free break for almost 20 years since we don’t have any family support. We’ve now reached a point where we get time together and in 2015 we had our first holiday without the kids. Enjoy your time, it’s great that you are able to have the chance to be a couple.

Sarah Aslett

Before I had kids, I could never understand why parents went on holiday without their children. Now of course, I do. Good for you! #stayclassymama


Our last child free holiday was before our daughter was born – she’s 6 this spring. I’d love to go away just me and the husband, but with school holidays to cover I feel bad getting someone to look after her for another week while we swan off on holiday! Maybe one day! #stayclassymama

The Tale of Mummyhood

We all need a break sometimes, I bet your little one had a fab time even if she was a little under the weather. Honestly, I have child-free holiday envy! Haha!



[…] regular reader of my blog, you’ll have already read that my husband and I recently enjoyed a child-free ski holiday […]

Intrepid bebe

I have to admit, as a new Mum I used to be a bit judgemental of parents leaving their children, but then I realised it was based on the fact I was SO jealous, desperately in need of a break and wished I could do it too! Well done for fighting the guilt and doing it anyway. Putting ourselves first is so hard. If a break brings you back refreshed and able to give more as a Mama then thats brilliant. And I bet the Grandparents loved having her.