I always knew parenthood would be a full-time job. It wasn’t a surprise that it took over my life. I knew I would have to squeeze my own existence into a tiny little percentage of what occupies my time. But, never is it more so apparent just how all-consuming being a mum is than following my first time away from baby TJ.
A taste of freedom
I have just spent a weekend in Dorset with two of my closest friends. One-year-old TJ was left in the capable hands of his dad. Well, after providing a short briefing on food, clothing and possible activities to fill the 48 hours until I returned. I was full of nerves but overwhelming excitement about my first time away from baby TJ for longer than a few hours.
So, off I went with an overnight bag stuffed with dry shampoo and Prosecco slung over my shoulder. I headed off for a couple of days of guilt-free self-indulgence, a lie in, a bit of potty mouthed banter and laughing at things other than baby bum wind. My first time away from baby TJ was a glimpse back in time to how I used to spend my days – and what non-parents do with their time.
It had been a tricky morning of a few tantrums and tears so a little wave of relief washed over me as I settled in my friend’s car for the journey to the seaside. However, it didn’t take long before it felt weird being away from TJ and to just have to think of myself for a change. My first time away from baby TJ was throwing up emotions which I didn’t expect. But, I was determined not to let them overshadow the fun times ahead.
Ohhhh, some of it was great. I went to places without having to wrestle a baby in or out of a car seat. A chic little handbag came with me instead of the usual overstuffed nappy bag. I didn’t have to think about negotiating a pram on the route to wherever we went. There was no watching the clock for naps or bedtime.
However, during that first time away from baby TJ, I did fall into a couple of clichéd traps. I found myself bending one too many conversations around to him for a random anecdote. After a few glasses of wine, I whipped out my phone to show my obliging friends some recent baby photos. I messaged TJ’s dad to ask what the code brown situation was.
I also painfully missed my little man. Being a mum is a relentless, never-ending, repetitive, tiresome life. On the long, rainy, cold days, I dream of a little escapism. That escapism usually involves the friendship and wine which made up this weekend. But, never has a truer word been said than the grass is greener on the other side.
As soon as I got home, I scooped up TJ for a big cuddle and he wriggled and shrieked with joy. This made it clear that he had missed me too. It was bliss and I realised how lucky I am to have this little life in my hands and an entertaining future ahead of us.
Of course, this feeling lasted a little while only TJ’s tiredness caught up with him and I longed for the wine once again. Babies – can’t live (your old life) with them, can’t live without them.