Parenting is unique on the space-time continuum: the days are long, but the years are short.
When they're babies, you yearn for someone to take them off your hands, to regain some semblance of sanity. The Terrible Twos are a haze of incessant chatter, random running and dramatic tantrums. Sure, they're cuddly and lovable and smell like happiness – but you want to sell them on EBay.
Then we come to tweens. All of a sudden, they want their independence. Instead of pushing them away, you pull them close. They turn into an anthropomorphised pushmi-pullyu, from Doctor Dolittle. And teens? Well, I'm not there yet. But I have it on good authority that, "big kids mean big problems".
So, how does this fit into a travel column for Mother's Day?
While you're enjoying that breakfast in bed, well-earned massage, or new ironing board (!), start planning some "me time". We don't do it enough. Caught in the maelstrom of work, school lunches, or sporting events, we don't often think of ourselves. According to recent research by Wotif.com, almost 60 per cent of Australian mums have been on a holiday to take time away from the family; more than 30 per cent haven't; almost 10 per cent are desperate to do so.
"In some cases, your family may not share your passion for a specific destination, or passion for cooking, running, or maybe flamenco, so it makes sense to travel solo or gather a like-minded group of people together for a trip," Wotif travel specialist, and mother, Kirsty La Bruniy says.
Two years ago, I went on a solo trip. It was, categorically, the best thing I've ever done.
Here are some salient reminders that we are individuals, with interests, passions, and desires outside our families.
Me Time Experiences Sisters Pauline Roche and Sharon Ashlin started this business last year, for women looking for, "somewhere you can laugh, learn and be part of something that will make your heart and soul sing". The experiences are for those who want to travel with like-minded women. Coming up, there's a Writer's Workshop featuring author Maggie MacKellar, and a Choir Retreat with singer/songwriter Emma Dean. See metimeexperiences.com.au.
Gaia Retreat & Spa Tucked away in the Byron Bay hinterland, this is specifically for adults. So you won't be woken in the middle of the night with any "wah wah". Morning yoga, organic cooking classes, art lessons, meditation, Tai Chi, pilates – doesn't get better than that. See gaiaretreat.com.au (Read Traveller's review).
Pumphouse Point Everyone's different. This is perfect if you want a wilderness escape, without the mod cons. Pumphouse Point retreat is at the end of a jetty on St Claire in Tasmania, in the world heritage Cradle Mountain National Park. Turn off the phone and bring a good book. See pumphousepoint.com.au. (Read Traveller's review)
Chateau Elan A gourmand's getaway in the Hunter Valley is ideal, for those who don't mind drinking alone (guilty as charged). Enjoy a facial, massage and hot tub at Chateau Elan, before touring the vineyards and, of course, the legendary Hunter Valley Cheese Company. See chateauelan.com.au.
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat When I die, I want to go to Gwinganna. It's my idea of heaven. Aside from the biggest spa in the southern hemisphere, this retreat in the glorious Gold Coast hinterland runs wellness workshops. See gwinganna.com.
Wherever you are on the space-time continuum, you deserve a break.
Happy Mother's Day.