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'Me time' is great but I can't wait to get home

SHOW me a parent who doesn't crave 'me time'. No matter how much we love our children, we all dream of the occasional weekend off, when we drop our responsibilities and relive carefree days of yore.

I'd like to think I'm like most parents – dedicated to my kids, but delighted, every so often, to have time away from them.

I'm convinced that time away is good for my head. I get to recoup, sleep a little longer, be a little selfish and indulge in a bit of me time.

I'm writing this from 35,000ft above the earth, speeding home from Miami on a Boeing 777-300. I've been gone for six nights and had a most exciting time.

As a travel writer 'me time' might seem like an occupational hazard, but the truth is I take far fewer trips than I used to. It's simply not possible to scoot off at the drop of a hat when you have a young family to consider.

I'm fortunate to be invited to fantastic places, to experience the best a destination has to offer. Sometimes hotels invite me to sample their wares, sometimes tourist boards and sometimes airlines.

This trip was organised by American Airlines, to showcase their swanky new cabins. As a treat, we're being flown in Business Class, and my private flat bed pod feels pretty luxurious. I may feel tired when I get home but, just like my trip over, I'll be able to sleep right through the night.

Press trips are amazing things, opening me up to so many new and magical experiences, but they're not like a conventional holiday.

Despite spending five nights in Florida, I had no time to dip my foot in the sea or swimming pool. I was too busy partaking in a jam-packed itinerary of tours, excursions, viewing hotels, and – as a real treat – my first ever polo lesson at Palm Beach (OK – that last bit wasn't too much like work).

Sure, there's much harder jobs than this, and I'm certainly having a much easier time than my husband who's been at home all week with our three kids.

He works weekdays, 9am-5.30pm, so my trips mean lining up additional creche days as well as rearranging his normal schedule to facilitate childcare collections.

favours

My daughter got sick the night before I left, and she's been out of sorts all week. It's meant a cancelled workday for my husband and lots of babysitting favours from in-laws.

He seems to have managed fine, but is awaiting my return more eagerly than usual, I suspect.

As much as I look forward to going away solo, I inevitably miss the kids a lot. Throw a sick child into that equation and it hits harder.

I tucked them all up in bed last Wednesday night and six days have passed since I've seen them. Every time I saw a little kid in Florida, running, or playing, or cuddling their mum, I'd get a pang.

I always find that they look different after I've been away. Their little faces seem to look older, even though they probably haven't changed at all.

Being apart is good for everyone, just as missing your loved ones is, and much as I crave 'me time' at home, I'm so looking forward to being back.

Travelling used to be my first love but, these days, nothing feels as good as the hugs I will get later on from the most important people in my world.


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