My husband recently went on an adventure holiday with a couple of mates to Vietnam. He left me and our two young girls for 16 days to ride a motorbike around the countryside. And I let him.
When Andrew first asked me if he could go, I didn’t take too kindly to the idea. What if he got injured or even worse, killed? How could he suggest something so ridiculous, selfish and down-right irresponsible? We should be going on family holidays together, he shouldn’t be going on his own! But then I took a step back and looked at what he was wanting to do in a different way.
Andrew doesn’t have to travel all the way to Vietnam for something to happen to him. Anything can happen on any day. I realise going to a foreign country, especially on a motorbike has an elevated risk but I weighed it up and looked at it this way. Life is for living. No one knows what the future holds so we really should take the chance to live our lives as much as possible. Life is so short and sadly for many of us, it’s not physically possible to experience everything on our bucket list.
If Andrew didn’t take this opportunity to go to Vietnam, I can say for sure that he would have missed his chance. His friend was heading over there regardless and financially, the timing was perfect for us. So, asides from the fact that it is out of the norm for a husband to leave his wife and young kids to go on a trip like this, there was no good reason for me to say no. So I gave him my blessing and said yes.
My aspirations and desires in life are very different to Andrew’s. Mine are more subdued where Andrew’s revolve around adventure and I was well aware of this before we got married. Andrew would love to go on an adventure holiday with me but it’s so not my thing that to even suggest it would be laughable. I know for sure that I will never want to hop on a 250cc and zip around Asia. No way. So in saying that, is it right of me to expect Andrew to give up that dream because it’s not a dream of mine?
|Fun for Andrew – terrifying for me!|
I want Andrew to be happy and I know that he wants the same for me. If he wanted to do this sort of thing all the time or preferred to do things on his own without us then that would be concerning. But he doesn’t. This trip to Vietnam was a one-off. As long as what he wants to do is respectful to me and our girls, I think it’s only fair that, on occasion, he do something for himself. And the same goes for me.
When we commit ourselves to a relationship and have children, it’s only natural to give up or compromise on the things that we want to do for ourselves. We just have to. Responsibility always comes first but it’s all too easy to become caught up in the day to day monotony of work, paying bills, running the kids around etc. But is that living or is that just existing? As important as it all is, we need to sometimes stop and remember there is more to life than all the day to day stuff. Andrew, the girls and I frequently do things together as a family and Andrew and I regularly have our date nights which are so important. But it’s also important to take time out to reconnect with ourselves and do something that is solely for us – no matter how big or small.
For a mother, this can be hard. We are generally the primary carer of our children so we automatically put our personal needs aside and our dreams and aspirations become about our children. My girls always come first but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take time out sometimes to do the things that I want. I regularly take nights off and head out for dinner or to the movies with my friends. These aren’t huge things but they are important and make me happy so I think they still count. Nurturing friendships is an aspiration for me, so it fits. I went to visit a friend in Melbourne for a weekend recently which was so fantastic but I certainly couldn’t take off for 16 days and leave my girls, especially while they are so young. Being a mum is such an integral part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
|Andrew got very excited about this road. I am sure he wished he had a rally car with him on his trip!|
While Andrew was away, we missed each other immensely and spoke regularly (his phone bill is insane!). He would tell me what he had done that day and it was nice to hear him add that he wished I was there with him. I am so relieved he made it home safely and I am really happy that he enjoyed his trip because I can tell you that it will be a very LONG time before he gets to go on another one! But, he did look so rejuvenated and alive when he got back and he deserves it.
While he was away, I don’t want to blow my own horn but I managed really well getting through each day. Andrew is at work every day anyway so it was really the evenings and the weekends were I was left to fend for myself. Having said that, I am not sure how I would go if Andrew ever went to work up north on the mines again. I think that would be too much to handle and I take my hat off to all single mums out there and wives of FIFO workers who tough it out on a regular basis. That wouldn’t be very nice or very easy.
I also didn’t sleep as well as I do when Andrew is home but once the girls were finally in bed and the kitchen cleaned up, I was able to enjoy my own company which is not something I get to do very often. That was kind of nice.
Now thinking about life goals, I realise that maybe I haven’t perfected my own dreams just yet. What do I want to get out of life? What experiences do I want to have? What impact do I want to make? Being a great wife and mum, raising my girls to become amazing adults and enjoying my family are definitely things I want from life.
But asides from that, what do I want to do just for me? What are my dreams? I always dreamed of getting married someday and having a daughter and now I am blessed with an awesome husband and not one but two precious girls. I know I want to become a better writer and write my novel someday soon. I also want to become more community minded and make a difference somehow. And somewhere in the middle of all that, I would like to do more travelling with my family and build our dream home. That’s all I can think of right now.
What dreams do you have for yourself that you want to see fulfilled? Do you and your partner have different dreams? Have you fulfilled any of them on your own and how has this impacted your relationship?