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Ruth Zubairu: Family Vacation is Not Mummy Vacation

Too many times, the burden of raising a young family and managing a career or business takes its toll on young mothers.

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Yes, I said it.

Especially for women with children under six.

If you don’t have extra help, where you are going to? Because you just might need a vacation after your family vacation. That is if you don’t find yourself in the hospital.

It’s true.

Before y’all think I’m painting the picture too bleak, let me clarify: if time is not intentionally created for the mummy of the house during vacation, then she will end up doing all she does back home, and even more, for many reasons.

One, it’s unfamiliar territory. Two, there’s the possibility that one child would fall sick. Or react to water. Or food. So add emergency nurse to the already jetlagged mum, and you get my picture.

But what happens when a working mum decides to go on a vacation all by herself? Should she feel guilty or not?


“You want to travel? So who will you leave the children for?”

That was the question that was thrown at me when I was to travel for a training in Dubai. Even though I had made arrangements for extra help, my husband made it easy for me to make the decision.

But then, as I boarded the aircraft, I felt an all too familiar sting.


I was going to be away from my boys. What if something happened to them in my absence? Will the cooked stew and soups be enough? Was it okay for me to take a mini-break? Did this mean I was a bad mother? It occurred to me that in almost seven years of marriage, I had not travelled without the children. So going through the airport without having to chase little feet around felt strange.

Not hearing the always-present “Mummy this” “Mummy that” made me feel out of place. Almost like a runaway. I’m very sure I’m not the only one who has felt this way.

Do you find it difficult giving yourself a well-deserved treat? Do you often go shopping for the family and return with loads of things for every other person but yourself? Do you feel that you have to keep sacrificing yourself to make others happy? Then the mummy-guilt might just be whispering things in your ears.

I don’t mean we should go the extreme and neglect our responsibilities, but it is okay to look after yourself as a mom. My trip was an amazing experience. For the first two days, I didn’t bother about the sights and sounds of the city. I was just super excited by the simple fact that I could sleep and wake up focusing on just me. I could finally process my thoughts without mentally ticking my checklist for chores.

Too many times, the burden of raising a young family and managing a career or business takes its toll on young mothers. It also extends to relationships with family, old and new friends, colleagues and associates.

The former ways of handling stress and having fun are no longer practical. It’s either you are too busy these days that you’re no longer available to hang out as often as you did, or you may even have the time but do not have someone to watch the kids so you are literally grounded. With little humans who constantly need you. My dear sister, don’t wait too long before taking care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Research has shown that women who are physically and mentally exhausted are prone to getting depressed and having suicidal thoughts. Before you go off the ledge and do something crazy, show yourself some love. It’s holiday for the children, but I hope you’ve planned out something nice for yourself as well. It may not be something as elaborate as a trip, but you could find little ways to de-stress. Scheduling a foot massage, going to see a movie, buying a small gift for yourself, arranging play dates with other moms so you can collectively watch all the kids and have some grown-up conversations, etc., can help to fill up your emotional tank.

Trust me, the family will be better because of you. No husband wants to come home to meet a cranky wife. He will be hurrying home when he knows he’s to meet a wife who is beaming with joy and who has something interesting to say other than how the children and work have made her miserable.

Here’s my verdict: In the case of fun timeouts for mothers equalling neglect; guilt or not guilty?

My verdict is Not Guilty.


Let me hear your verdict in the comments.

Ruth Zubairu is a Communications Consultant and helps individual brands and businesses amplify their message, impact lives and monetize their knowledge/experience. With a Human Anatomy background, she has been able to change careers leveraging on her passion for writing. Download for free How to excel at interviews without being rejected every time.  For more information about Ruth, click HERE

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