Hubby and I are today off for our first night away together, with no kids, for 6 years!
As we were ploughing North, I was doing that whole parental torturing myself thing. I know that there are plenty of sensible parents who have done this regularly since their peeps were born, and are probably in a much more balanced parenting place than me. In fact they will be wondering why this is such a big deal to me.
You see, I have never left my children overnight since I gave birth to them. I think I am one of those mothers who have really bloody bossy hormones that simply insist that I do what they say. For example, I was suffering from severe mastitis while feeding the twins. My GP immediately called the hospital to arrange admission and IV drugs as my temperature was so high and I was so poorly. I was fine with that until they said the twins would have to stay at home as they couldn’t arrange a double cot on the right ward. I asked for a prescription for oral antibiotics then took my twins home again. I simply could not bring myself to be parted from my babies. If one of my children has hurt themselves, I have to be there, and I have to be the one comforting them. I will forcibly extract them from anyone else who is trying to comfort them. This is entirely irrational, but is an emotion or instinct so strong that I have absolutely no control over it. Some people will think, bloody hell, overprotective control freak. Others will relate entirely, and some people will take more of a middle road.
When hubby presented me with the hotel room pictures and proposal for a night away, I was initially super excited, then worried, then excited, then worried, then I was going, then I was not, then I was….! You get the picture. Anyway, finally, we are going. Hotel booked, I packed my bag.
It’s only 1 night and 1 day away. As a parent of 4 kids aged 6 and under, even a 1 hour trip to the park requires 4 changes of clothes, a travel potty, baby wipes, a snack bag, 4 drink cups, coats, blankets, prams, everyone’s favourite toy, scooters, helmets and bikes. Today, I packed 1 change of clothes, toiletries and my PJ’S. I then spent almost an hour trying to think of things which I might have forgotten (book, phone and iPad!). Off we set. As we trundled along the motorway, my thought process went a bit like this…
– They (kids) will be fine.
– It’s good for them to learn some independence.
– Did I show the babysitter where the Calpol is. OMG what if she gets the dose wrong?
– She won’t because she is the most responsible adult we know, and anyway no-one is going to need Calpol.
– What if the baby monitor stops working and she doesn’t hear someone crying for ages?
– Stop being stupid. You know how loudly your kids cry. Frankly even with earplugs in it would be a struggle to miss them crying!
-It’sonly 24 hours. They will hopefully be in bed for around 12 hours of that.
– Oh no, what if Lucy has one of her fits (febrile convulsions) and has to go to hospital?
– It’s ok, we have been through the drill a hundred times. The hospital is about 3 minutes away.
– I won’t be there for special time. What if this damages my older children’s development or parental trust?
– I will probably even get to read a newspaper at breakfast tomorrow. In fact, I may even get to eat breakfast tomorrow without having to leap out of my seat every 3 seconds to see to someone else’s demands.
– Hot coffee, the act of pouring and drinking taking place within an hour, and temperature being more than tepid. I AM SO EXCITED!
– What if the twins just won’t go to sleep as Daddy always puts them to bed?
– Dinner, with wine and adult conversation and no baby monitor….I guess they will eventually cry themselves to sleep!
– That’s it, I won’t enjoy it as I can’t stop worrying. Let’s just call it off, turn round, and go home.
Then hubby entered a wiggly road with twists and turns. At just at that moment, a really irritating little voice from the backseat started giggling “Mikka Makka Moo” on repeat. Somehow, we had managed to bring the singing Makka Pakka with us. The one with no off switch.
At that point, I thought to myself, you gave birth to 4 children in 3 years, and have never had a night off. You have even managed to take a singing bloody Macca Pacca with you on your first night away. We are not going home! We will be there in around 40 minutes, and I think my first stop will be the child free bath!!!