Last weekend I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to Adelaide to visit some of our closest friends. After lots of debating around the logistics of travel Tim and I decided that I would go by myself and he and Hugh would stay behind in Canberra and enjoy some “boy time”.
At first I will admit a wave of parental guilt washed over me – “I’ve never left him for more than 1 night” (Hugh that is, not Tim), ” what if he misses me too much he can’t sleep or eat?” or even worse “what if he forgets who I am?”. This is probably a good time to point out I was only going for 3 nights and technically only 2 full days but parental guilt cares not for logic, it only wants you to second guess yourself as much as possible.
ANYWAY… I’m happy to say that slowly but surely the parental guilt began to subside and as my preparation commenced I began to appreciate the true beauty of travelleing as a solo human. The sudden freedom I had filled me with a reckless abandon and I revelled in the wild and crazy* opportunities that came my way. (*please note, wild and crazy as defined by parenting standards.)
It started the night before my departure. As I started to plan what I needed to take two things struck me straight away:
1. No Hugh means I can travel with only about 1/6 of the stuff I normally pack. No full sized suitcase +nappy bag+ stroller+carry on bag required. Not only that but my own personal packing could also be drastically reduced as the need for 3-4 emergency outfit changes for myself could be culled! I could pack ONE singular, solo, easily managed carry on bag and still have room to spare. Life changing stuff.
2. No Hugh = no bottles, no formula, no assortment of likely to leak puréed food containers, no bibs, no toys, no dummys, NOTHING that could potentially ruin the inside of a handbag. It was a revelation. Overcome with emotion I reached into the top of my wardrobe and lovingly, reverently pulled down my beautiful Michael Kors tote bag. Michael had been packed away just before I had Hugh as he is far too precious to be exposed to the Mum life I now lead. But travelling solo gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my darling handbag love with no fear of him being ruined or soiled by my baby or by baby related products. It was sheer bliss.
When I arrived at the airport I went to the bar and I had a wine! Yeah I did! By myself, and while I had that wine I read a book! I’m serious, you can’t make this stuff up! I read and drank my bubbles and gave 100% of my concentration to those two activities. The feeling of bliss continued as I boarded the plane and continued to read not one, not two, but MULTIPLE CHAPTERS of my book in complete peace. I could even use two hands and ate a sandwich at the same time. It’s almost too much, I know.
This next bit was probably too wild, maybe I took things a bit too far, but by this point my new found freedom was taking over me and I couldn’t control my actions. I had a stopover in Melbourne and I found a cafe. Not just any cafe though, a cafe that specifically had tiny tables.
Anyone who has a baby/toddler at the grabby stage is nodding right now, you know where I’m heading with this.
Going for coffee, or any beverage, with a grabby small human is hard work. They just want to touch and pull everything. The strategy is usually to move everything to the far side of the table away from grasping fingers however with tiny tables this can prove problematic as, depending on the reach of your small human, the other side of the table is not far enough. Sometimes it feels like the table next to you isn’t even far enough and suddenly a coffee out is a game of preventive chess as you move things around the table in various formations to prevent your opponent (the baby) from upending everything and causing you to leave the cafe and probably never come back. That coffee shop is dead to you now. So yeah, tiny tables and a tiny human just can’t mix.
The coffee shop in Melbourne Airport had the tiniest of tables with an open sugar bowl and grabbable spoons. I sat there and I didn’t move anything. What a thrill! But wait, it gets better – the waitress brought my coffee over and put it down on the edge of the table closest to me AND I LEFT IT THERE!!! It was almost too much to be honest. I felt invincible! Nothing could hold me back!
By the time I arrived back in Canberra after 2 (and a bit) days I had throughly indulged my solo adult self and all jokes aside I felt like a new person.
Don’t get me wrong, I missed by baby and my husband very much. I’m pretty sure the smile when I saw them on Sunday morning nearly split my face in two and my heart swelled with love until I felt like it might burst. The few days of true “grown up” time let me renew and recharge myself in an increadible way and allowed me to wholly and solely focus on me, something that makes me a better person and more importantly a better parent.
To anyone with kids out there make sure you indulge in “you time” every now and again and reconnect with your pre children wild and crazy self, even if it’s just for a few hours at a cafe with tiny tables and lidless sugar bowls. You’ve earned it.