Paris without kids? A mom without her boys? Carrousels and cotton candy without sharing? Tons of thoughts on just 3 simple days, and a loooot of second thoughts before buying that plane ticket. So how did this happen? About a month ago I accepted my old friend’s “challenge” to take a weekend in Paris and enjoy a girls trip by ourselves, that would include cappuccinos, croissants, shopping and long strolls on the picturesque streets. It sounded like a dream, and I was counting the days until ‘d day, was already making my outfits in my head (which by the way, never happened because I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl all the way). But the dreamy escape in Paris that I had in my head actually turned out to be an escape to listen to my thoughts, to take a deep breath and let the crisp, fresh winter air of March (which in reality felt like December) explain what life after kids actually means. And it turned out it means “the end”.
The end to me time, alone time, party time, spontaneous-date-nights time without thinking about and crazily missing another human being. The end to an era (which for me, let’s face it, didn’t take long at all) in which you are at the centre of everything, in which you are all that matters and in which you can be whole and complete just by yourself. Without feeling your heart split into two equal pieces, one of which does not belong to you, and which happens to be vital to your survival. And that second half belongs to that tiny human being which can not function without you, and without whom YOU can not function. Ok, maybe biologically you could, but in real life, you can’t.
I always imagined I would be the kind of mom who will always go on girls trips around the world even after having kids, who would call the grandparents to babysit while taking monthly city breaks with hubby, and who would be able to relax and unwind whenever she has a couple of days “off”. Turns out, I am so not her. Sadly. From the moment I arrived in the city of love, until I entered back my home, I felt like a part of me was missing, and all I could do was try to remind myself who I was before I had Sasha, what I used to do when I was alone, what I used to enjoy and how it felt like to not be missing someone continuously.
Yeah I love enjoying a cappuccino at breakfast without someone spilling it in the first minutes, yeah I love eating a whole croissant by myself without sharing, and I love sipping on my glass of wine and looking young, single and care-less to others. (Still I am always wondering what others thought about me when they were seeing me at that table outside, in St-Germain, sharing a bottle of white wine with my friend, gossiping and laughing like crazy about anything, and probably looking so available. SO completely far from the truth). I admit I often find it intriguing to pass as a young 20-something girl who is enjoying her youth, while actually knowing I’m doing the opposite, and literally being on the phone to check pictures and videos from home. Jeeeez.
Does this sound that inappropriate?
On the other hand though, taking time off from mommy-ing is the best thing a mom (and dad) can do for the happiness of their home, their relationship and their kids. The first holiday we took was2 weeks in the South of France, when Sasha was only 6 months old (you can read that story here, it involved sobbing and heartbreak), and it was so hard, but oh-so-good. After that, it was only mini getaways and city-breaks, which always felt too short, but after which we felt so energised and full of excitement for getting back to baby S.
But boy is it hard to be away. And as much as I would complain every morning about waking up with a 2 year old sleeping horizontally in our bed, I feel so weird waking up without his feet on my face in the morning. Or without him looking straight into my face saying “Mamma, caca!”. I love these small things, I love Paris, I love my babe, I love vacations, I love getting crazy with my husband, but the question is: How do you enjoy every single one of them without longing for another?
How do you live every second away on a holiday without longing to be home with your kids?