So, recently we went on Vacation to the Mayan Riviera. A special kind of Vacation, one that deserves to be capitalized. Because this was a true, non-work involved, no baby allowed, only trashy novels and naps and margaritas allowed vacation. There was no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry to be done, and no schedules (except for the odd dinner reservation because I take a weird pleasure out of making those). I didn’t even pack pants.
You’re probably rolling your eyes at me because my nauseating Instagram is full of pictures of trips and planes and various semi-novel and sometimes exotic locales. And yeah, I lead a hashtag blessed life, I’m well-aware. But these trips aren’t really vacations. They mostly involve setting an alarm for an early wakeup while dealing with jet lag, getting hair and makeup ready and working at least eight hours before having a bleary-eyed dinner somewhere I usually don’t remember, and then hopping on a plane home a day later to relieve Grandmama or our (wonderful, please don’t ever leave us) nanny. It’s all a mad, exhilarating rush that feels like running a marathon (I think. I wouldn’t know, y’all). Even when we do schedule a family vacation, like we did to Maui over Christmas, I’m still cooking three meals a day and running around cleaning up after everyone, doing toddler laundry while negotiating with said toddler to “eat the damn avocado, you liked it yesterday” and of course keeping up with his sleep schedule which means home by noon for naps and home by 7 for bedtime prep and then tiptoeing around while he sleeps and we twiddle our thumbs and whisper-drink. That’s just a really expensive and warmer version of home coupled with the anxiety of an imminent plane ride that will involve me and my husband acting like circus clowns for 6 hours to entertain our offspring and keep him from screaming bloody murder (you are lucky, fellow travellers, that I am talented at circus clowning!).
So yeah. At one point, I looked at Charlie and said, “Please. Please let’s go on a brainless, all-inclusive trip to somewhere hot where I can wear white without worrying about someone smearing something on it and sleep past 7am and not wash a single goddamn dish for one whole blissful week?”
And off we went.
What’s crazy to me, though, is the amount of finger wagging and straight up shame I got thrown at me on social media for taking some time AWAY FROM MY CHILD. Some people were downright stunned that I would exhibit such selfish parental behaviours as leaving my little boy to bask in the sun in bikinis with my husband. You know, my husband. The guy I’m still going to be with once my children are grown and gone, hopefully eating off the buffet on a cruise ship somewhere and ignoring their calls asking for money. When we got married and started a family, we made a vow not to forget that we were Team A, and Team A needed nurturing and top priority if we were going to raise healthy and loving children. We’re avid fans of date nights as often as we can manage, and we try to schedule a few in a month if we can, all of which I overdress for, mostly because I’m so relieved to be out of my yoga pants. But every once in awhile, to step outside of our life completely and remember that we’re not just Mommy and Daddy but still Jewel and Charlie… It’s essential for our connection and, frankly, for our sanity. And if it helps in raising our son to be a man who cherishes and appreciates his partner, then in my opinion, we’ve done our job.
I say all of this not in defense of my actions, because we all know I just don’t really feel shame like normal people do (as you can tell by my constant oversharing), but in the hopes that this will maybe alleviate someone else’s guilt about prioritizing their marriage and personal happiness. So here’s me saying don’t let people make you feel bad about it. Those people are just confused as to how the hell they got stuck in the rut they’re in, and it has nothing to do with how good of a parent you are. Take your breaks. Love your partner. Love yourself. Everyone will be better for it.
Okay? Okay. Gotta go cuz I just remembered he’s not wearing a diaper.