The beautiful, poised and elegant Duchess of Cambridge and I, have very little in common - yes, I know that's hard to believe. The one thing we do share (apart from both living in Berkshire) is the decision to leave behind our young baby, whilst jetting off on holiday. Yes, I'm talking about that little faux pas which seems to have caused uproar amongst the British public. I came across this article last night and have been incensed ever since.
Firstly, what makes the ordinary man on the street (or woman on Mumsnet) think that they have the right to pass judgement on someone else's parenting decision? When you become a parent for the first time, it's difficult enough to adjust to the demands and complete annihilation of your old life but imagine having someone (make that the vast proportion of the world's population) breathing down your neck every move and commenting on your decisions - stupid or otherwise! I cannot imagine how difficult that must be.
When my youngest daughter was 6 months old and my eldest had just turned 2, my husband and I 'jetted off' to Portugal for a 3-day break. Having turned 30 whilst 8 months pregnant and feeling very sorry for myself, we opted to postpone any kind of festivity, for when I was feeling a little more in the mood. Our trip had been planned before she was even born and thankfully, my parents (and sister) were more than willing to step into the breach.
This is an event that we have tried to keep in the calendar every year since having children. Sometimes it might only be one night away but every hour is savoured. Time away without your children is not neglectful or irresponsible, I believe it to be the exact opposite and here are just a few reasons why:
- Nurturing your marriage. I personally believe that children will never be happier or feel more secure than living under a roof with two content parents who love one another. When you have children, it's so easy to become wrapped up in the everyday and forget to make time for one another. Even one night away provides that opportunity.
- Remembering your identity as an individual and a couple. When you first get together, you have very little responsibility and many interests. As you become parents, and with each subsequent child, I think these get forgotten and definitely neglected. So, a weekend away is an opportunity to explore new hobbies, remember what you enjoy doing as a couple, and most importantly, finding hobbies that you can develop once your children have left home!
- Time with Grandparents. The grandchild/grandparent relationship is a very special one. My children don't get to spend a lot of time with my parents and if they do, it's often in short, sharp bursts. I think it's hugely beneficial for children to spend a weekend of quality time, developing that bond and making memories together.
- Developing independence. I love my children with all my heart but I'm also keen for them to find their own way in the world and be able to do that independent from me. Every little opportunity to encourage that along the way, is to be embraced. I do have one child who has a tendency to 'cling' and so for her it's a little more tricky. These weekends apart from us are therefore vital for her to know that life goes on and the home still stands, even without mum and dad at her beck and call!
I personally believe that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are doing their young prince a favour. The suggestion that this will harm him or 'turn the public against the royal couple' is just ridiculous. And as for us and our children? Well we are 'jetting off' to the Alps on Thursday for 4 days and I cannot wait. I just feel hugely thankful that we have parents who are 'young' enough and willing to look after our three children.
Do you get time away as a couple? What are your thoughts on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving Prince George at such a young age? I would love to hear your views...