I had to make a very hard decision last week.
As a family we all sat round the kitchen table and talked about it. For a long time.
The question was, should I go on holiday with the rest of them?
On the face of it, this is simple, isn't it? You're their wife and mother: there's no question. Of course you should go on holiday with them!
Ah, but it's not so simple as that.
On the last family holiday, I fell off a horse and broke my ankle. Okay, so I didn't just break it, I comprehensively smashed it into tiny pieces so it had to be rebuilt with titanium rods and screws (see blogs of 24th February and 1st March). It is still weak and painful and I can't walk more than half a mile on it.
This would not be a problem if the rest of my family enjoyed holidays sitting on a beach or lying around a pool, but they are all terribly active. As we discussed alternative plans it became apparent that, if I were with them, one of three things would happen.
1) They would leave me behind in the cottage or hotel (and we can't afford the kind of plush hotel with spa facilities where I could be pampered) and I would be bored and they would feel guilty.
2) They would leave me behind in a variety of carparks while they went off exploring and walking and I would be bored and they would feel guilty.
3) They would end up doing only those activities that I am able to do and they would be bored and I would feel guilty.
So we took a deep breath and decided to leave me behind.
So, where does the selfishness come into it then?
Because my number one luxury is time to myself. I shall have a wonderful time all on my own. Those of you who are parents (dare I say, mothers especially) will recognise the bliss of not having to organise meals (Mum, what's for dinner?), not having to find lost property (Mum, where's my hairbrush?); not having to sort out squabbles (Mum, tell her to stop doing that!).
I can't help feeling selfish at feeling such joy in the thought of having five days all to myself. And acutely conscious of my good fortune in being able to do this when so many single parents cannot.
But a considerable number of friends have told me I need a break. Tom and Jenny have told me not to be so silly. My eldest daughter tells me, "Mum, don't feel guilty – this is best for everyone."
In the end it was a unanimous decision.
It's best for the mental health of everyone this way.
So I won't feel guilty: I will just enjoy my time alone while they explore the mountains and rivers of North Wales.
And I won't even feel envious!
A Moodscope member.
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