This weekend I had the rare chance to go away for the night to a hotel with a few good girlfriends, leaving behind a toddler, a baby and a husband. Apart from the usual making sure all would be ok (enough bottles, milk, nappies, clean clothes etc) I was really excited at the prospect of being away from the normal humdrum of everyday life. As I was packing my bag into the car there were 9 things I was really looking forward to.
- No worries
The joy of being out on your own is something that people who are yet to have children don’t quite understand. The euphoria of not having to be on the watch for a pint size tornado, whizzing around wherever you happen to be was enough to make me quite giddy! Even the prospect of having to change hotels and not being able to check in for a couple of hours, after we were told we could, did not bother me like it once would have.
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- Having a chat
The one thing I miss from my pre children days is the ability to sit and have a chat with friends over coffee. Being able to do this without having to entertain a toddler was amazing. Taking a couple of hours over lunch while putting the world to rights was just the tonic I needed.
When we were told we needed to change hotels, the place we were offered was 20 minutes away but had a spa. What a heavenly way to spend the afternoon. Not even the splashing, screaming and shouting of other people’s children could ruin it. They were not my problem!
- Bottle of Prosecco (or 2)
The temptation of alcohol quickly came, firstly with lunch and then as we went into the evening. Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me I jumped at a guilt free glass (or bottle) of prosecco.
- Eat what you want
Due to the mix up of hotels the management offered us a free evening meal. I had forgotten what it was like not to eat at 5 o’clock – so much so that when one of my friends suggested 7 o’clock I had to stop myself from telling them it was far too late to start dinner! One of the joys of eating at that time was that there were few children and those that were in the restaurant were not there for long. Looking through the menu, knowing that I could choose whatever I wanted without thinking, ‘what would my toddler like to eat in case she doesn’t want her own meal’ is a greatly undervalued pleasure. Not only could I choose whatever I wanted to eat – I also did not have a little voice next to me saying, ‘I’ll share with you, Mummy!’ Bliss!
- Staying up
My usual 9 o’clock bedtime (as I’m still getting up at 2 o’clock every night with my 4 month old) went passed nearly unnoticed. It was 11 o’clock until I finally gave in (having been up twice the night before) and went to bed. Of course the best thing was knowing that I would not be woken up at 2 o’clock by a hungry baby or 5 o’clock by a toddler wanting to go to the toilet.
- Lying in
Unfortunately, I did wake up a couple of times during the night but the joy of being able to roll over straight away and go back to sleep was something I thoroughly undervalued pre children – not anymore. Of course with no little alarm clocks I was able to have a lie in – and not one that ends at 7 o’clock!
I have not had a proper breakfast (or brunch as it would have to be by the time we were eating) since my first was born. I felt a little bit like a child myself while I was enjoying my full English. At the table next to us there was a couple with a toddler who kept bobbing up and down from the table, ‘exploring’ the dinning room and was generally being a two year old! As annoying as my pre children self would have found it, my post children self was just grateful I didn’t have to worry out them!
- Coming home
All good things come to an end and the same was true with my night away. Too quickly we were traveling home saying we must do it again sometime. I was a little envious of my friends going home to a quite Sunday, of their clean and tidy houses and that they could easily do it all again very soon. But as I opened the door and my daughter came bounding up to me with a huge smile on her face shouting, ‘Missed you, Mummy,’ I knew what the best bit of going away had been.
It is essential that we get away from the humdrum of everyday life. Away from the moaning, groaning, winging and whining so that we can remember those beautiful smiles and wonderful cuddles that would make us do it a million times again!