“The fact that I turned out to be completely miserable, may have given me the greatest peace.”


Photo: Unsplash

Exhausted and on the verge of exhaustion, Eileen decides to take a moment for herself: a vacation with her favorite uncle in Bulgaria.

Eileen, 39, is married to Hugo, 38, and the mother of Karel (9) and Jean (7).

“Everything in your life revolves around your family,” my psychiatrist said after a few sessions on her couch. “What happens if you choose for yourself? Start with a few days, on your own; they are worthy of trust that your family will live without you.

Gee, I’ve never looked at it this way before. For years I lived on autopilot. Even though I quietly landed motherhood after Karel’s carefree pregnancy, all hell broke loose after more than two years. Jan was born and turned out to be a crying baby. It upset the whole family. For over a year we didn’t sleep straight away and we were in the throes of stress. This translated into stubborn behavior on Karel’s part. I often wondered what the hell we got into with family. But take a day to myself, huh.

coexistence pattern

After that year, when silence reigned in the house almost overnight, peace did not return to our lives. It looked as if the real drudgery had just begun. In our sleep-deprived intoxication, Hugo and I have been in survival mode for over a year. Now everyone was asleep and there was no excuse if we didn’t have the energy for a birthday party or dinner with friends.

We moved from one survival mode to another; And now we have more balls to keep in the air. Get up at six. Dressing and feeding the children. Making a lunch box for Karel, filling a nursery backpack for January. Take the kids away. for work. the shopping. Call a sick friend. Cooking, eating, putting children to bed, trying to exercise. I couldn’t breathe.

“I couldn’t breathe. And yet I persevered, at least for three years.”

Yet you persevered for at least three years – what else? Then the light went out. What started as the flu never got better. The doctor said I was about to get exhausted. And so I ended up with the psychologist, who saw only one way out: choose for myself a lot.

The same week I called my favorite uncle in Bulgaria. Not the perfect vacation destination, give me a tropical beach with palm trees, but if there was one place where I felt safe on my own, it was with it. My uncle almost flew to the ceiling with glee when I asked if I could stay with him and his wife for a week or so. We would walk, make a fire, and cook together. And if I don’t feel like it, that’s okay too.

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Learn to let go

Of course I knew Hugo could handle childcare very well. I was a control freak and had to learn to let go. However, I felt like I was abandoning my kids when I got on the plane four weeks later. Hugo and the boys don’t seem to mind. They waved me goodbye, and I had barely even landed when I already had a threesome on my french fries. I laughed on the inside, they’d be fine.

“I didn’t miss my husband or my kids for a moment, and they didn’t miss me”

Weeks passed in Bulgaria. I slept around the clock and took endless walks. My uncle allowed me to go my own way. Felt like a spa. I didn’t miss Hugo or the kids for a second, and they didn’t miss me – although of course we were thinking of each other. We called every day and exchanged text messages and photos. The fact that I turned out to be quite miserable probably gave me the most comfort ever.

beautiful mother

Once home, Hugo and I decided that we urgently needed to make some changes in our lives. For example, from now on, I will go on vacation on my own every year and Hugo will take on more care tasks. On the other hand, he was on the road quite often in everyday life. And children, they did not notice any difference.

I have now finished my second vacation on my own: a two week walk in Italy. Learning to give up complete care of my family has made me a ten times nicer person and a nicer mother. This summer we will be in Spain with the whole family, and for the first time I can really enjoy it.”

This article appears on Kek Mama 08-2022.

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