Since baby girl arrived just over three months ago I’ve immersed myself into the land of mum. Not that I was half-hearted about it before, but having a baby brings you right back to the coal face of parenting.
Little things I’d forgotten about, like not being able to drink my tea while it was still hot or having time to go for a wee, along with big things like existing on two hours sleep for a week. Combine the babydom with being a mum to a four year old and I found I didn’t have much time in my head, or energy in my body for much else.
Where before I’d juggled my work alongside my four year old, the past few months have been pretty much all about my role as a mum. Work has been drastically scaled back and I find myself living alongside the rhythms of my new baby, when she feeds, eats and sleeps, alongside the needs of a four year old who’s just started school and become a big sister all in the space of three months.
To put it bluntly, there hasn’t been much room for me recently. But far from feeling stifled, I’ve loved it. The benefit of experience has shown me these baby days are over in a flash, so I’ve soaked up every milky cuddle and allowed myself to indulge in those precious moments watching my baby sleep. They won’t last for ever.
But on Saturday I got some time off from mumming. It was the first time I’d been without both girls since baby girl was born. I’ve left her to take Frog out before, but I’d yet to go anywhere without at least one of them in tow.
Leaving the husband in charge I got in my car (without strapping two children into their car seats – it took all of two seconds!) and drove to the hairdressers, with the radio on full blast. After texting the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine about four times to check both girls were OK, I went into the salon and indulged in three hours of pure bliss. I read a magazine from cover to cover, had my hair washed and drank two cups of tea while they were still scalding. I left with a new hair do and a little piece of myself back.
Afterwards I had a little mooch around the shops and found a couple of beautiful retro toys to take back home to my babies. Gorgeous old school toys purchased for a whopping £4.
I’ve always been a firm believer in carving out at least a little time for yourself when you’re a parent. Give everything over to your kids all the time and before you know it, there’s nothing of you left.
Saturday reminded me that taking that time out is far from selfish. Actually, I think it made me a better mum because I wasn’t knackered and irritable. I’d missed both kids in so much in those few hours that I was ready for whatever the afternoon threw at me (a poorly four year old as it turned out).
So, until the next haircut.
What do you do with your time off?