KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: The great escape to Lisbon — by Daddy Chambers and me

Its Just a Phase

Ruth Chambers


Ruth Chambers


KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: The great escape to Lisbon — by Daddy Chambers and me


You may recall that, a few weeks ago, myself and Daddy Chambers jetted off to Lisbon for a weekend without the kids. It was absolute bliss and although we didn’t even realise it, we really needed it.

We went for three full days; we flew out on a Thursday morning and didn’t arrive home until Sunday at lunch time.

Now, what has this got to do with parenting, I hear you ask? Well, seeing as we were away on our own, it technically has nothing got to do with being a parent.

However, a break away, be it in Lisbon or Listowel, is just what parents need every now and again to recharge the batteries and your relationship, if you happen to be in one.

We’ve been away from the kids overnight before, but most of those times were just for one night for friends’ weddings. And you know yourself how weddings go!

As a woman it’s all go beforehand, what with getting the hair, makeup and tan done. Then it’s a rush job to the church and on to the hotel where you check in, throw your bags in the room and then head to the bar. If you’re anything like me, you usually overindulge in alcoholic beverages, dance the feet off yourself and don’t see the inside of the hotel room until the wee hours of the morning. I probably get less sleep when I’m away at a wedding than I do at home, and to make matters worse I wake up with my head banging and crying out for rehydration!

Thereafter I usually throw the breakfast into me, pack up, check out and head home to the madness again. It isn’t much of a break away now, is it?

Of course I don’t have to overindulge on the drink, but when I get out I’m like some sort of an animal that has been in captivity and sure I give it welly!

It would be rude not to celebrate the couple getting married in style anyway!

Last year was a hectic one for us. We sold our house, renovated another one and then made the move. One night, while chilling out on the couch, I took a notion of going on a city break after I got a email from Ryanair saying that they were having a seat sale.

Daddy Chambers wasn’t opposed to the idea, so I booked it there and then before he changed his mind. Three nights away; bliss, and this was before we even thought about who was going to mind Aidan and Sarah.

Luckily Nanny and Grandad Chambers put themselves forward for that job, and the kids were happy out with that. They love being spoiled by the Galway grandparents and it meant we could head off, safe in the knowledge that the pair of them were having a ball in our absence.

To lessen the load, some friends collected Sarah from playschool and dropped her home, while Aidan went on play dates after school on the Thursday and Friday. I even batch-cooked dinners so the grandparents didn’t have to be cooking and I felt less guilty heading off.

The prospect of a 6.30am flight isn’t so annoying when you are going somewhere lovely without the kids for a long weekend, and off we skipped to the airport like two giddy teenagers. The early flight was great, because it meant we had the whole day on Friday in the Portuguese capital. Luckily our room was ready when we arrived at the hotel, and the luxury of just sitting on the bed and watching TV with a coffee was amazing. Normally at that time on a Friday I’m just back from the school run and about to put on my rubber gloves to clean the toilets! Some difference!

Lisbon is one of the best cities I have ever been to for food, so our first port of call was a long lunch. We rambled up the cobblestoned hills and found a great spot for lunch, and even enjoyed a glass of wine with said lunch. By God it was so different to a normal Friday afternoon.

Strolling, shopping, eating and stopping for wine was all that was really on the agenda for the whole weekend. And when we strolled, we even held hands some of the time! Now that never ever happens at home, and that’s for sure!

We talked and we laughed like we rarely do at home. It’s not like we don’t talk at home or don’t make each other laugh, but it’s just that life is so busy and you’re usually interrupted by a small person who wants their bum wiped or yet another drink of milk.

I wouldn’t change my life for the world. I love my kids and I love being at home with them every single day. I love cooking for them and basically looking after their every need.

However, I have to admit, it was so so nice to escape it all for a few days. I think it’s something all parents need to do.

Parenting is full on. The old cliche of there being no harder job than being a parent is so true, and getting away and recharging is amazing.

I also found getting away was really good for myself and Daddy Chambers’ relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with our relationship; we are happy out but it was really nice for it to be just us for those few days. It was like way back when before we had the kids, when we didn’t have a care in the world.

It doesn’t have to be Lisbon or anywhere fancy for that matter. I would have been happy to go and stay in a caravan in Wexford just as long as it was just the two of us with no real responsibility.

If at all possible, try it out mammies and daddies.

I promise you won’t regret it!

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