I am currently half way through a week away from my daughter. I’ve done it before, neither of us are particularly clingy to each other and when I want to run away to London for a week she’s more than happy to have special nanny-time, as the cover photo clearly shows…
But this time is different, this time I’m having nanny-time and she’s at home with the normal routine. I’m not filling my days with prosecco and pizza and she’s not getting to rule the roost all week (well, I’m sure she is…Matt?).
Although I currently couldn’t be further from a holiday bathing in gin, I have jotted down the usual steps of a week away without a tiny human hanging on to your ankle.
1. ‘I’M FREE! HAND ME THE TEQUILA. PASS ME THE PROSECCO. HOLD MY HAIR BACK! FREE!!’
Generally, as a parent, escaping from your kid for more than 8 hours involves an excessive amount of alcohol. It’s like when you were 15 and went to stay with your friends who’s parents were much more liberal than your own. You finally have permission to neck that WKD without consequence! Of course now you’re ten years older and have a child at home so at some point you’ll probably start boring the barman with endless photos of your little darling while blinking back tears, but still, FREE!
2. ‘I am dying. I am literally dying. Nothing can save me now. This is the end. I should have got that life insurance…’
Hangovers change post-child. Whenever I read that before I thought it meant because you will probably have a small person sitting on your head an hour after you get it. But nope, something shifts inside you and instead of being able to wake up, drink the leftover vodka next to your bed, and skip off to work with no problem you now wake up feeling like you’ve spent the past twenty years buried alive.
3. ‘Oh…but I don’t have to get up. I can do what I want all day!‘
Of course not having a child due back from the grandparents’ means you can have a hangover without 5pm looming over you. Instead you can do your hangover however you want. Generally this means lying in bed watching Family Guy and eating pizza until 5pm, then dragging your arse back to the pub. Seriously, these are the days I envy the childless.
These steps repeat a few times. Like, more times than medically advised. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re a week child-free. Especially if you’re trying to keep up with your friends who do this literally every day. How? HOW DO YOU DO IT!?
4. ‘Look how cute she is…’
At some point you will of course get a FaceTime call or a photo update and will remember how wonderful and beautiful your little darling is. This isn’t a nice moment. This is a moment that leads to you trawling through your own Instagram and annoying everybody with ‘LUKATAR’ moments. This normally comes to a head on the Wednesday, you consider running home but then you remember how good espresso martinis taste.
5. ‘What have I forgotten? I’ve forgotten something. What is it? Oh…’
Even if you work full time or your child’s in school all day, not seeing them in the mornings and evenings and knowing both your lives are currently completely separate is a weird feeling. I don’t think it’s possible to explain this feeling to anybody without children, down at the pit of your stomach this knot that doesn’t go away. Your limbs feel slightly heavier and you just feel a bit…lost. No matter how much fun you’re having.
6. ‘I’m a terrible person. I’m an awful mother. Everybody is judging me. My child hates me and will spend years in therapy for this.’
For me this is normally spurred on by one of the Perfect Mums on Instagram. I suddenly feel like the worst person alive for daring to leave my little darling to do something for me. It’s bullshit, of course, everybody deserves me-time and everybody deserves to be selfish occasionally. But the feeling of guilt begins from the moment of conception and as far as I can tell, it lasts forever. And to be honest there’s plenty of other reasons she’ll end up in therapy…
7. ‘Would this be my daily life if I didn’t have a kid?’
This one is one that I don’t think parents are supposed to confess to, but when you’ve spent a few days drinking wine with lunch and staying out past seven it definitely crosses your mind. Probably more so if you’re a younger parent and all your friends really are living this life as a constant. It doesn’t mean you’d change anything, but sometimes you can definitely drift off and imagine.
8. ‘Thank GOD this isn’t my daily life’
It’s EXHAUSTING being single and young and out partying all the time. Seriously, people say parents are impressive. To me people who go out on a Thursday night and still make it to work Friday morning impressive.
9. ‘I am so ready to go home.’
No offence, lads. But I’m not one for that life. I might go stir crazy after six months of it with no break, but my messy, noisy, tiny little home is where I’m happiest.
Six months later…
10. ‘I really need a week away. My life is AWFUL!’
And so the cycle begins again.
This current week away from my family isn’t as fun-filled as my usual escapes are. I’m mostly cooking and washing and lighting fires and doing puzzles. The amount I’m currently missing my tiny one is unbelievable, but I’m also desperately in need of some days away again soon…