10 stages of emotions you experience on a holiday without your kids

Hopefully, you are one of those parents who are lucky enough to get a break away from your kiddos every once in a while. Whether this is a few nights away with your partner or with a couple of friends, you will definitely relate to these 10 stages of leaving your kids while you attempt to go on holidays:

1. Excitement.

You book your holiday, giddily. You are in sheer ecstasy in the knowledge that you will not be someone else's human for more than 5 minutes. You will exist just for you for a little while and you're LIVING FOR IT.

2. Uncertainty

Say if it isn't all you've built it up to be? What if it isn't worth leaving them behind for? What if all you do is argue with your other half because you don't know what to do with yourselves, now that your energy isn't all for the kids? You come up with excuses for cancelling the trip and reasons why it just isn't the right time to leave them.

3. Regret

As the day of departure finally approaches, you begin to regret booking your break away. All of these emotions don’t seem to be worth the fuss. All of the prep it takes to organise a few days away from the kids and you are already exhausted. You are ready to throw the towel- or suitcase- in. However, you know that there were others involved in making this ‘whole thing happen’ and you have gone too far to back down now.

4. Nervousness

You leave them with a knot in your tummy. They might cry or give you grief, but in the end, you know your kids will immediately forget you exist when you drop them off at Granny's house or whoever you have enlisted to take charge of your precious family. It's not them who will suffer at your departure. It's you.

5. Fun

For a split second, you leave them behind and enjoy yourself. You feel young and free and you laugh like you can sleep in tomorrow because guess what? You can!

6. Guilt

That feeling of freedom is extinguished almost immediately by a classic: guilt. You know the feeling of guilt better than you know yourself. Essentially, you feel bad for feeling good about being away from them. About thinking of anything other than them. About putting yourself first.

Though guilt is a truly useless emotion in this circumstance, you are not the only one. Guilt is a huge part of being a parent and it pays a visit at the worst of times.

7. Longing

This one happens at night before you go to bed. For a moment, you long to hold your babies tight. It can also happen when you are chilling or doing touristy bits and you see a couple, who, being actual goddamn saints, have chosen to bring their little ones on holidays with them. This makes you feel like the worst mum in the world. You need a drink.

8. Relaxation

Finally, the insanity subsides. Your longing calms and you decide to let the guilt pass. You begin to enjoy yourself and let your hair down a little. Unfortunately, this tends to happen towards the end of the trip.

9. Acceptance

You accept that the break is over, and you psych yourself up to reunite with your little humans. You tell yourself that it was a wonderful few days, but you are ready to go home. You can’t wait to smell their skin, ruffle their curls and cuddle them close.

10. Panic

This comes in within an hour of returning home. The excitement of seeing your children, the hugs and kisses and searching in pockets for presents you may have brought back, has subsided. You begin to come down off the high you didn’t even notice you were on. It hits you hard that your holiday is actually over.

You have returned to chaos and you are still exhausted. You begin to panic that the time has gone by so quickly and you didn’t make the most out of your little vacation. Don’t worry- this feeling won’t last! You will soon be consumed with everyday life once again and forget you ever went away- until your next break away when you will feel this all over again!





With her daughter Evie as her muse, Anna writes about mumhood and all its intersections from mental health to movies, social issues to pop culture. Anna lives in Dublin with her daughter, partner, three younger sisters and parents. She is a dreadful cook, a fair guitar player and thinks caffeine should be given as a yearly vaccine to parents - courtesy of the HSE.

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