How to leave your family

My recent decision to leave my family to their own devices for a week and travel overseas raised more concerns from others, than myself. “How can you do that?” one acquaintance asked… “Won’t you worry?”

So of course I started to worry about why I wasn’t worried.

This was not a foreign thing for me to do. I have travelled regularly by myself on many occasions. The difference being, in the past I would stress out and rush around, preparing schedules and meals, making sure that all the washing was done and everyone had enough socks and undies to survive my absence. But the thing was, I was not sure if anyone in my family even noticed the effort that I went to. And I was not sure whether it even mattered.

So this time, I just packed my bag, kissed some faces goodbye and jumped in the cab. I did this knowing full well that there was only one tin of cat food left, and no toilet paper.

In that taxi ride to the airport, I quickly worked out why I was not concerned about my family’s welfare. It was because they would survive without me. I knew it and they were about to find out.

The texts started coming to me while I sipped on a flute of pre-flight champagne.

“Where is Harry’s mouth guard for Rugby?”

“What day is the kids news day? What do they have to do for news?”

I flicked off my phone. It felt great. I had said my goodbyes and I was looking forward, not backwards. I knew that they would be ok and could figure it all out for themselves. This, coming from years and years of me literally and figuratively spoon-feeding my family so much that there was now a sense of expectation “Your mother will fix it…” “Have you seen my Tennis Racquet?” And the ever annoying “Can you grab me some toilet paper….”

Boys, Welcome to the world of sorting out the toilet paper situation before you take a seat.

While I was travelling, I took great joy in the small things. Like eating when I was hungry, and not hearing those dreaded words…. “What’s for Dinner?” Quite often I would wake up, go to get up and realize I didn’t have to. I would reach for my book and settle back under the covers for a while, perhaps dozing back off, if I so desired. I took a break from my work commitments and did not feel guilty. I was uncontactable by phone. UNCONTACTABLE! No contact. None.

Occasionally I would think of home life and wonder what might have been going on in the domestic front. And there were certainly times when I missed my husband and my kids. So I would email them, asking for news.

One time I got a terse response, which ended with the following exchange.

Me – Honey, do you have the shits about something?

Him – No, just juggling the kids, the pets, work, school open day, tennis, ballet, rugby, running, etc.

 Now, would you think me bitchy if I declared here that this made me grin from ear to ear? I know, I am evil but I took some comfort in the knowledge that someone else was wading through my mundane week.

By the time my trip was up, I was keen to return to normal programming. I was ready to make lunches and chase down MIA books. And when I walked in the door and was covered in kisses, no one made mention of the fact that there was not a slice of bread in the house. We ordered a pizza.

You need to go away, preferably by yourself, to realize how lucky you are to have someone to come home to. Even if that someone is a little snappy.

When is the last time you did something just for yourself?

PS We are finalising our WoogsWorld Readers trips for 2018, so watch this space. BULA!

  • How excitement! FIJI – love that place…(what month, so I can start saving) ….. And when I go away I tend to do the same thing, and yes I’m very grateful that he and I are interchangeable. (mostly)

  • Heidi Stacey

    I 1000% agree with everything you said….except the toilet paper situation. The South African in me just says “shame, I’ll get them some TP before I leave”. I wonder if Mrs Goodman says shame as much as the rest of us ex pats?

  • Jenny Andersen

    Hubby & I recently took a week off and headed down the coast leaving our 18 & 19 year olds to fend for themselves for 5 days. We have a diabetic dog & cat so while the 18 year old is happily able to do it the 19 year old pleads needle phobia and has never done it. 18 year olds work roster was screwed up meaning she couldn’t be there for 2 nights of needle/feeding, and guess what? 19 year old found out he actually could do it!! Having said that, I did make sure the toilet paper was fully stocked in the bathroom lol

  • Classic, Mrs Woog! I love this SO much!!
    My mother started me off down this track when my firstborn was very small. She lived on the other side of the city to me (Adelaide, so half an hour away…) and used to arrive mid morning, would make sure, as she walked through the door, that I was presentable, then hand me five dollars (that’s how old my firstborn is now…) and tell me to scram, buy a magazine and sit in a coffee shop for half an hour.
    Many years on, Dragon Dad and I (workaholic ex now the ex, well, because…workaholic to extremes!) decided that we just didn’t want to be in Sydney over the Christmas/New Year period with all that that can entail. So, in June of that year, we announced that we would be booking ourselves into holiday accommodation in Narooma for two weeks. Stepson and then girlfriend were welcome to come for all or part of the time, but they had to let us know before the end of June to make sure we could book them a unit – because otherwise, there wouldn’t BE any…and we were booking a one bedder for ourselves… They didn’t. So off we went – leaving Stepson to visit regularly and water the garden. I don’t honestly think – from the comments during the last couple of weeks before we left – that we were really going…but we did. And it was WONDERFUL.

  • Kazzie

    I did that but after the children had flown the nest. You see hubby doesn’t like going away on holidays much, so my bestie of 60 years and myself went on a girlie break for a few days… flew twice to Adelaide and once to Melbourne… it was wonderful! Next, Perth and NZ!