Go get a life! No, I mean, seriously.

Nobody said women have to give up what they enjoy after marriage, but it’s one of those things that just happens as women unconsciously “sacrifice themselves”. And in doing so, lose track of who they are, what’s important to them and what makes them happy.

Some women, especially those who are mothers, have gotten so used to their roles as caregivers, that they no longer remember what it is they do to have fun.

Going shopping with the family or other family outings doesn’t count.

I mean spending time with like-minded adults, having dinner conversation with girlfriends, watching a movie, or even just curling up with a good book.

Besides taking care of children, some have the added responsibility of caring for their parents as well, so really, who can afford the time to take off?

And even then, holidays can be quite stressful. A friend told me how she recently went on a holiday overseas with her family, and that she felt she needed a holiday after her holiday.

That’s because even on holiday, we’re still “working” as we’re making sure everyone is on time, never goes hungry and always well provided for. It’s a feeling I can well identify with.

You’re thinking, all my kids are teenagers by now so things should be so much easier, right?

You have no idea.

Last year during a beach holiday at Krabi, Thailand, my other half gave me a heart attack mid-way as he didn’t bring enough Thai baht. Most places didn’t accept credit cards and money-changers wouldn’t change our US dollars as they claimed they were old notes. Thank God we found one that eventually did.

Number two son got lost while exploring on another island. I was losing my mind thinking he could be swept out to sea or broken his leg while climbing. He showed up an hour later just as the lifeguards were about to look for him.

On the way back, the boys felt it was too early to go into the airport’s waiting lounge, so we hung out at the coffeehouse outside instead. By the time we went in, the queue had built up, and I was seized with panic as they were already calling for passengers and getting ready to close the gate.

Not to mention the daily stress of getting everyone out, on time, every day, for meals, for daily tours, or what-have-you, and the waiting around for somebody or other. My family holidays are often jam-packed with activities, be it visiting museums, markets, waterfalls or hipster cafes – which I also enjoy – but it’s tiring.

So yes, family holidays are fun for everyone, except mum doesn’t get to be on “off-work mode”.

Well, here’s a radical suggestion to break the mould – go travelling by yourself. Not that I’m advocating an “eat, pray, love journey”, but taking a good break could help you revisit yourself before one becomes totally invisible.

“No way! I can’t, my kids need me.” “My husband can’t manage on his own.” “He doesn’t think it’s safe for me to go alone.” “The house will be in ruins!” That was my friend’s response, and probably many out there feel the same way too.

Normally, when I do travel on my own, it’s always for work. To make a conscious choice to go on a holiday alone, on the other hand, is quite different when you know you don’t have anyone to fall back on.

I did exactly just that last year, and it was one of the best breaks I’ve had in a long time.

Of course, it depends on the destination, but most places these days are easily accessible and given how digitally connected we are, safe enough to get around on our own. And if you get lost or need advice on where to eat or what to do, all you have to do is ask.

I know some girlfriends who actually prefer to travel by themselves. For someone who has never done so though, it can be an intimidating experience, but it’s so worth the adventure. I made new friends, did stuff at my own pace and reclaimed my own space.

If travelling abroad is too big a step forward, then start with baby steps – have a “staycation” in a local hotel, go for a short yoga retreat or pamper yourself with a day at the spa.

There’s a lot to be said about enjoying one’s own company and learning to get used to doing what you want again, instead of what everyone else wants.

Sure, it may not be the right antidote for everyone, but as things spin faster and crazier in this digital age, I feel the need to step away from it all, stronger than ever, in order to regain my sanity and hear my own thoughts.


Patsy feels being selfish is not always a bad thing, as sometimes you need to be selfish with your time. Share your thoughts with star2@thestar.com.my.