I hadn’t really thought about the need to be away from my children before. When I say away I mean away for more than a few days. At the end of 2016, it was time to make a decision about when I next visit Mauritius. The last time I went there was years ago when me and Mr H got engaged. Some of my closest relatives live in Mauritius. My Dad who is unable to travel much due to ill-health, my Aunty B and Uncle A plus another special Aunty crew on my mum’s side. Not forgetting all of my cousins.
It didn’t feel right dragging the children to Mauritius this time when the weather is so hot and we wouldn’t be staying for a decent period of time. Cost-wise it didn’t make sense either. It would be much better to take them when they’re a bit older. So me and Mr H decided that it would be best if I travelled on my own.
I’ve gone through all kinds of emotions when making this decision and preparing for this trip. Many of my friends have heard how I feel about it including lots of feelings as well as questions…
1. The big G for guilt…This was my first feeling. Why would I want to leave my two beautiful girls and my husband? Why would I want to spend time without them? It’s the same guilty feeling many women feel when going back to work and putting their children in childcare.
2. What happens when girls miss me?…The ironic thing is that they may not actually miss me in the same way as I’ll miss them. Toddler only started saying Mummy last weekend. What a treat I got to hear this before my trip. What happens if she starts asking for “mumma mummy”? Mr H is pretty switched on and I know he’ll know how to deal with things like this. If the girls miss me, how quickly will they get over it? Will it ruin their day? I know kids are pretty good at moving onto the next emotion or little task in hand.
3. How will they change when I’m not there?…Children change each day. Whether it’s a growth spurt of picking up new skills, they’re forever growing. What new things will I miss out on? What new words will Toddler Munch be saying? Help me if she starts to say I miss mummy! Big Munch is coming out with lots of grown up phrases. What conversations will she be leading?
4. Questions, questions, questions…The past week she likes to round off her bedtime routine with “Mummy, I have a question for you”. It obviously makes me really curious what on earth is she going to ask me or ask me for if she’s trying to avoid going to bed. The questions she likes to “ask” me are “Mummy, I’m going to miss you when you see your Daddy in Mauritius” or “When you go see your Daddy Mummy I’ll stay here and look after my Daddy and my Sister”. You can imagine how my heart melted at her version of questions. But when I’m not there to answer her bedtime questions will she be keep them for my return? I’m sure she will have many questions for her Daddy.
5. Keeping in touch and how much…As Big Munch is three and Toddler Munch is about twenty months they have different experiences of keeping in touch. They both FaceTime their aunties who live outside of London. But how much should I speak to them whilst I’m away? Should it be everyday or every morning and every bedtime? What happens if keeping in touch makes them upset. Toddler Munch in particular won’t understand why her mummy is inside an iPhone and why she can’t see her in real life. Mr H surprised me with a FaceTime call before I boarded the plane. It was lovely. Big Munch was busy chatting and Toddler Munch only got agro when she couldn’t see the phone properly. Luckily Toddler Munch smiled at me lots and didn’t look that bemused when she’s used to me sitting right beside her at the kitchen table.
6. Coping not seeing and cuddling them each day…Most of my friends have reminded me how children are good at working to their daily routine. They’re also too young to understand the real concept of time (so that’s a good thing). But what about me? They will be on my mind and there will be constant reminders. Time will be a big one as I’ll be thinking about what they’re normally doing at different points in the day. There are also lots of moments in the day when I get to enjoy cuddles, huggles, holding hands and even dancing. Not being about to touch them for a week will be a big thing for me. I will miss seeing their smiles, smelling their hair and looking at their little hands.
7. Coming back with the right gift…The pressure! So I’ve agreed a little mission with Big Munch. She’s happy for me to find her a good treat from Mauritius. Growing up, one of the best presents from our relatives in Mauritius were the bright t-shirts. I still have a retro one from growing up. So I’ve got to come back with a pink t-shirt for Big Munch. Let’s hope she isn’t expecting a Frozen one. I’m thinking one with sunshine, turtles and palm trees. Wish me luck with all one the above…
So what tips do you have for travelling away from our children? Do you have to travel away from your partner or family or work or play? What things help the kids and what helps the grown-up who’s away? I’d love to hear what you think...