A Bid For Freedom
This week, Molly’s blogger Desperate Dad muses about the wonder of the much sought after childfree weekend. Have you had yours yet...?
It will only happen a handful of times and takes military precision planning, weeks of preparation and nerves of steel.
You need stealth, composure and resilience to see your plans through to completion. It is not for the faint-hearted.
But leaving your kids with the grandparents and getting away for the weekend can leave you feeling as giddy as a groupie at a Justin Bieber concert.
We all love our kids and we all love spending quality time together. But there are certain times of the year when one more school run seems just too far, one more nappy change is just too gross and one more mealtime squabble is the very final last straw.
Sometimes you just need a break and it really doesn't have to be a five star luxury spa weekend complete with personalised robes and cocktails at the click of a finger.
A wet weekend in Blackpool with a full English on both days does me every time.
It's the great escape. A chance to detach your mind from the daily grind and leave behind those all important parental responsibilities for just 48 hours - if you're lucky.
Simply getting in the car and heading off to the hotel is almost the best part.
It's like being a kid again yourself - the anticipation of having some actual spare time is overwhelming.
But long before this stage, the kids' rooms have been stocked with enough clothes to robe a Roman Empire.
Beds are changed and decks are scrubbed and an unbelievably detailed child routine list has been left magnetised to the fridge. It will almost certainly be ignored.
And as you drive off into the sunset with your beaming partner you suddenly remember about a dozen things you really should have reinforced to your own parents about the 21st century challenges you daily face.
But this is switch off time don't forget. You might actually be able to read that magazine, doze off to that iPod or just do absolutely nothing for the afternoon because for once, you’re the boss.
There'll be no bottom wiping, peace making, lullaby singing or force-feeding this weekend.
There'll be no bedtime story, communal tooth brushing or three-in-a-bath splashing tonight.
No Iggle Piggle, Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam or Postman Pat.
None of that at all...
And deep down, somewhere, somehow, you’re a little bit sad about that.
Make no mistake, time with your partner childfree is brilliant.
It reconnects and refreshes you and makes you realise just how much you still really do love each other - if you're lucky.
But let's not forget that the main reason you have any kind of meaningful connection at all has been left at home to baffle the grandparents, who are pondering just how they ever managed it in their day.
And try as you might, in your quest to depart from anything child related, conversations keep coming back to the same thing - 'I wonder what the kids are up to now?'
You may resist the urge to send the odd sneaky text for a quick update, but it's incredibly hard to remain completely cut-off.
And on a parents only weekend away there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The very fact that you are able to discuss your children at all, how they're developing, their foibles and personalities, in a grown up and relaxed way is liberating in itself.
Especially when it involves the odd beer or four.
And by the time you're heading back home in the car, fully bed and breakfasted and magazined out, you're more than ready for the inevitable hectic hand over.
You've missed them like mad, they've missed you too and the grandparents scarper quicker than Justin at the end of his concert.
As you settle down together for the evening's pyjama clad bedtime story - it seems more treasured than ever before.
Barry Wood is an ex journalist now working for the NHS in Lincolnshire. A father of two boys and husband to one Portuguese wife, he blogs regularly as Desperate Dad. Read more adventures: barrylwood.wordpress.com
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