Sam Faiers has revealed that since his birth a year ago, she hasn’t spent a moment apart from her son, Paul. And while I totally admire the reality star for her unwavering dedication to being with her little one at all times, I can’t say that I share the same sentiment about being away from my own brood.
Just three months after my twins were born, I left them at home to go away for my best friend’s hen weekend. As the date loomed ever closer I felt panicked at the thought of leaving my chubby cheeked little cuties. The last thing I felt like was donning an LBD and hitting the town for fun and frolics of the hen night variety, but I couldn’t let my friend down. So I packed up my double breast pump (it took up most of the case), kissed my bubbas goodbye and headed off for a baby-free weekend.
And the minute I got on the train I knew it was going to be ok. For the first time in 12 weeks I could forget about the nappies, the wet wipes, the sleepless nights. Sure I still had some crusty milk on my top, but I wasn’t desperately jiggling a grumpy baby on my knee, or walking up and down the aisle trying to soothe a fractious newborn. As we cracked open the willy cupcakes and I sipped my (hot) cuppa, I slowly started to feel like a little of the old me was coming back.
For me that train journey was completely and utterly thrilling. I could have gone all the way to Newcastle, turned around and come home and I would have been happy, suitably rejuvenated from four hours of total me-time. But no the baby-free time was to continue for a whole 48 hours.
Because what I didn’t realise pre-kids is just how rare and precious time away from them would become. And much as I missed the twins happy gurgles, a short break from the chaos, noise and bedlam of looking after two three-month olds was thoroughly restorative.
Being able to actually concentrate on an entire conversation without having one ear out for a crying baby was bliss. And the sleep was pure heaven. While the rest of the hens were moaning about the lack of sleep their 2am lights out had provided, I awoke at 9am positively fresh faced thanks to the longest run of sleep I’d had in three months (more if you count the last few sleepless months of a twin pregnancy).
And let’s not forget how therapeutic fun and laughter can be. And boy did we laugh. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to giggle so hard you might pee (and with my pelvic floors we were in real danger!)
It helped that the friends I was away with really got it. They understood when having got into bed on the first night I had to put the lights back on and get out my super noisy electric breast pump to express the milk from my about-to-explode boobs. They didn’t mind that after a somewhat boozy train ride, I was about to face plant my tuna nicoise, so swapped an espresso martini for an actual espresso before taking myself off for a quick disco nap. And they good naturedly went along with it when I gave a blow by blow account of the twins schedule. “They’ll be having their morning nap now.” “Oh they’ll be having a bath now.” “Ah they should be going for a walk now.” Their eyes had likely glazed over, but my friends were kind enough to indulge my reminiscing.
And while I was hob knobbing it in Newcastle, back home, my babies were enjoying some extra quality time with their dad, and their grandparents. Something, they tell me, they thoroughly enjoyed too. Because while I was happy to be the primary carer, I wanted the twins to enjoy being looked after by others.
After a crazily fun couple of days, on Sunday morning I woke with a butterfly-like sensation in my tummy. I couldn’t wait to see my babies, to hold them in my arms. Just two days away had enabled me to look at motherhood in a whole new light. I felt thoroughly refreshed and ready to throw myself back into the role once again. Because while I love my children, I don’t always love the trimmings that come with being a mum – the early mornings, the never-ending washing, the tantrums, the not being able to go to the toilet alone. But somehow time out had almost made me look forward to doing it all again.
Since that fabulous carefree weekend, I’ve tried to incorporate a mumcation into the diary at least once a year. But I know that decision won’t be without criticism.
Indeed when I first told some people that I was leaving the twins for that first weekend away it was met with shock, surprise and in some cases even horror. How could I leave them when they were so young? Who would look after them? I’m not going to lie, guilt almost had me reaching for the phone to cancel more than once. Even now, the guilt of going away sometimes rears its ugly head, making me question whether it’s worth it. But it is, because what I’ve learned is that the benefits of a mumcation far outweigh any niggling doubts bound up in the classic mum guilt.
Don’t get me wrong, I know not all mamas have had the opportunity to leave their brood and I can completely see why for some it isn’t desirable to be separated from their little ones at all. But for me, I’m all for the mumcation.
For while some will no doubt disapprove of my kiddie-free jaunts away, I truly believe it is good for our family. Not only do I get some much needed time-out, some headspace to just be, to remember that I am more than just a mum, but it also gives the children some extra time to spend with their dad and their grandparents. To see what happens when the routines aren’t stuck to as rigidly, the sweets are dished out that bit more and the faces wiped that bit less. In my opinion my kids aren’t traumatised by my going on a mumcation, they positively thrive off it. And so do I.
What do you think? Would you leave your children to go on a mumcation? Let us know @YahooStyleUK