Little Escape in my Home Town – Why It’s Good to be a Selfish Mother

by Satu Vänskä-Westgarth on July 27, 2014 · 15 comments

I was planning to take a quick trip to Morocco, virtually at least, and cook some foreign foods here at home while all the same clearing a backlog of images I hoped to share one day.

But all I can think of is Ireland. The route. The activities we can do along the way if we have some energy left after long days on the bikes. Food as for sure it will be good. The uninterrupted sleeps that will only be disturbed by aching muscles or an exciting novel I’ll have hard time putting down. And the packing list and its shortcomings, do I really need all the electronics I’m planning to bring along??

However, to slightly veer away from the subjects of bike touring and Ireland for this last week leading to Ride Wild 2014, I thought I’d address the most commonly asked question I’ve got regarding the bike trip instead. It has nothing to do with why me and the girls are hopping on bikes for few weeks with next to no experience (Kate is exception), and it has everything to do with how on earth I can be away from my kids that long.

Cringe.

That has usually been my first reaction.

The second has been somewhat defensive and quietly muttered “because I can” before slightly more better thought-out or expressed answer.

For me to be the best mom I can be there’s nothing more important than little escapes from parenthood every once and a while. Three, four weeks might be slightly on the extreme side, but even a night or two do wonders. Then, I have endless energy to hide behind the bedroom curtains time after time again, build Lego castles that will be brought down a minute after with all the pieces scattered around the living room, and drink imaginary cups of tea from a brightly coloured plastic serving set.

On a visit to my hometown, Tampere in Finland earlier this summer, me and Tiina, a high-school friend of mine left our kids with the grandparents while we escaped to Sokos Hotel Villa for a girlie get-a-way. Everything was almost like before; it was good to have my old partner-in-crime in many an adventure by my side again, there were no kids in sight (or mind) and for a moment it was easy to forget all about nappy changes, sleepless nights and tantrums over what to wear.

Few things were slightly off though. Instead of tight jeans and high heels, I had packed comfortable outfit suitable for a pleasant dinner with few drinks on a sunny terrace. And the goal, instead of dancing the night away was to get back to bed early enough so that we could catch good night’s sleep, wake up without hangover and enjoy a loooong breakfast with no interruptions.

Ten years ago things were quite the opposite although just like then, on this trip, kids didn’t (almost) cross our minds. Now it was all about us while we enjoyed a hotel night as guests of Sokos Hotels as part of their “40 years – 40 blogger stories” campaign. Here is our story, and few reasons why it’s good to be little selfish every once and a while…

Girlie get-a-way I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

You can drink bubbly. Any. Time. Of. The. Day. Without interruptions and in bed if you feel like it.

Solo Sokos Hotel Villa, Tampere, Finland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

Solo Sokos Hotel Villa, Tampere, Finland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

Solo Sokos Hotel Villa, Tampere, Finland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

There’s nothing better than staying in an almost pristine, there-are-no-toys-in-sight hotel room that’s for you to keep as organised, or disorganised as you like. Added bonus is that your stuff will stay where ever you decide to put it. There are no mobile phones mysteriously disappearing, or toiletries being emptied to – well, to pretty much anywhere.

Tampere is known for its industrial past, and the hotel, redesigned in 2011 has maintained some of the features that are iconic for the town – the red brick walls included.

Restaurant Trattoria, Tampere, Finland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

Restaurant Trattoria, Tampere, Finland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

Original Sokos Hotel Tammer I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

Having an uninterrupted chat (and dinner) with a friend is rarity. That alone is the perfect reason to escape family life for a moment, if not for a night. “Welcome to enjoy Tampere’s little Italy” welcomed the sign on our arrival to Restaurant Trattoria at Sokos Hotel Tammer, conveniently located close to the Tammerkoski Rapids and its beautiful park area.

Tampere views I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

It’s not that often that I manage to get the heavy DSLR out of my handbag, buried somewhere under nappies and kiddy snacks. Still, I persist in having it with me at almost all times and now, on my own, I actually had the chance to finally use it.

What happened after the dinner didn’t lead to a wild mommy’s night out, nor even the “few drinks on the sunny terrace” reverie. Instead, after our Italian feast we did find ourselves in a bar with full pints of cider in hand for a moment, but before the pints were half empty, we were already sprinting it back to the serenity of our hotel room, for that well awaited good night’s sleep…

Solo Sokos Hotel Villa, Tampere, Finland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

I have to say though, maybe the best of the best of our night away was the fact that we could dive back under the sheets right after the breakfast…

Although one night away from the family was nothing but divine, how it really will be, for me, when I head to Ireland on my own I don’t really know. The kids will be perfectly fine with their “papa”, but I suspect their mama might be struggling a bit at times…

It’s exactly a week to go, and Anne-Marit and I will be about to dive under the duvets in a B&B in Derry/Londonderry, which ever is the political correct way to call this town right on the edge of Northern Ireland and the Republic. If I’m disturbingly excited already now, I can’t imagine how we will be feeling then!  But before this trip to the Green Isle, I’m making a quick visit to Finland for some Scouts action and reality TV later this week.

Watch this space for more, and on Monday August 4th the Ride Wild 2014 adventure in Ireland begins!

We stayed at Sokos Hotel Villa and enjoyed a dinner at the Restaurant Trattoria as guests of Sokos Hotels in Finland. 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rika | Cubicle Throwdown July 28, 2014 at 2:50 AM

Parents should never have to justify taking a break and spending some time with themselves, doing what they like!! I don’t have kids but I am a firm believer in this – everyone deserves a break once in a while, in whatever form they choose, to recharge batteries. This looks like a fabulous trip!!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth July 28, 2014 at 10:24 PM

Totally agree, and yes, it was fantastic!!! Although have to admit, right now I’m slightly freaking out about leaving the kids for few weeks, yikes :)
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Emma Healey July 29, 2014 at 2:46 PM

I love this post! I have to admit I did wonder how you would manage leaving the kids for that time but not in a judgey way – more like a ‘how the heck can I do it too’ kind of way!
I really hope the weather stays good for you, Ireland is truly spectacular in the sunshine – we’ve been here since July 9 and only had one day of rain. Fingers crossed it stays that way!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth August 3, 2014 at 5:54 AM

Ha ha, I have to admit, now that I’ve been away from the kids for few days and there is almost three more weeks to go, I’m feeling slightly uneasy about it all, but I think and hope that once we are on our bikes it’s going to be bit easier. Hope you’ve been enjoying your stay in Ireland and I really hope for some sunshine too, at least part of the way! :)
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SJ @ Chasing the Donkey July 31, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Ahhhhh kid-free time is the best…er I mean…okay time 😛 Enjoy your trips, us Mama’s deserve a little me time once in a while.
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth August 3, 2014 at 5:56 AM

Yes, me time is invaluable, although time with the little ones is amazing too. Missing the family little already, but can’t wait to get on to the next adventure… :)
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Alyson July 31, 2014 at 5:37 PM

This is all a bit weird to me, I’ve never spent a night away from my children ( now 8 and 10) and never ever wanted to or felt a need to, but looks like you had a nice time.
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth August 3, 2014 at 5:58 AM

It was lovely, and I can totally (almost) understand where you are coming from too! :) I’m so used to doing my own adventures, before kids that is, so that in order to hold on to some of “me” I really need to get away every once and a while. But then, as said, I have more energy than ever to spend time with the family.
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Cacinda Maloney August 1, 2014 at 6:30 AM

You lucky girl! Even a night away is always good for the Mother’s soul!!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth August 3, 2014 at 5:58 AM

Yes! Although I’m not so sure about whole three weeks anymore… 😉
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Cristy August 2, 2014 at 6:57 AM

You deserve it Girl! Doing Mommy duties all the time can be a bit exhausting. Good thing you find some time unwinding and get a little breather.
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth August 3, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Thinks Cristy!! Really appreciate it :)
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Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog August 4, 2014 at 2:43 PM

That looks cute.
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth August 4, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Very nice spot to stay!
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