There is no negating the fact that being Mum is really hard work, and I don’t just mean physically, but all the emotional mushy stuff too. Every part of this rickety rollercoaster ride of motherhood has tugged at my sensibilities as well as my insides. From my hormone fuelled weeping at sad TV ads to the pit of my stomach moments of angst when I’ve questioned ‘Am I doing it right’, it is exhausting. We could all do with a break sometimes. So when David surprised me with an overnight break away for Valentines this year, just the two of us, I was beyond excited.
With a toddler and a 10 month old depending on me for their every need, Mum duty is 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. There are no days off and rarely even a tea break, so the prospect of a getaway with uninterrupted meals, a full night’s sleep and a bit of a lie in sounded blissful.
My amazing mum-in-law was coming to stay for the night and look after the babes. Everything was planned, so why was it, as the day drew closer, that my anxiety levels were crashing through the roof? There was no shifting the gut-wrenching and unnatural feeling that I was about to detach myself from my baby. ‘She needs me. I know her bedtime routine. She’s starting to get a cold…’ Was I being mad? I was almost finding reasons not to go. And David’s well-meaning attempts to reassure me that everything was going to be fine were missing the target.
Deep, deep, deep down I knew that everything was going to be okay, but I couldn’t shrug off my overpowering instinct to keep her close. I sobbed big fat tears as I packed my overnight case. I did that thing to try to slow down my tears by widening my eyes, so as not to smudge my freshly applied make-up and cry all over my freshly packed clothes. I was scooping her up to cuddle and kiss her at every opportunity.
Like some sort of Mum-zilla, I had typed up a schedule some days before. It included every little detail I could think of. Nappy change times, how to sterilise her MAM bottles in the microwave, nap times… it was all covered.
When David’s Mum arrived I tried to hide my embarrassment and fought back the tears. I didn’t want her to think that I was questioning her competence, because I wasn’t. I was just so nervous about being apart from my baby. Maybe it was the good ol’ Mum guilt.
I gave the girls the biggest kisses and cuddles goodbye, quickly strapped myself in the car and took a breath. Our destination was 2 hours away. After an hour and a bit of constant worrying and half an hour of Sat Nav mediation, my mind had calmed. As we arrived, my Mum-in-laws words rang in my ears ‘Go be Sharon and David and not Mum and Dad’. And she was right. We needed this time to re-boot and reconnect with each other. As we checked into our room, and the phone flashed with a picture message of the girls playing happily, I knew everything was alright.
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