Wouldn't a pause button be great? Pause them looking cute and cuddly. Pause them when they take their first steps, first smile. The list goes on. But the pause button I'm talking about is pausing the moments of tears and tantrums. Pausing the battles to get them to nap or pausing their endless need for entertaining. Pausing it all and just taking a break from it. Parents need a pause button. They need to pause life sometimes. They need to actually be with each other, not passing each other like zombies in an apocalypse on the landing each morning. Not nudging each other in bed whispering 'the baby needs feeding' and hoping the other will do it. They need to pause and talk about life! Politics, football, work gossip, anything that doesn't involve the words nappy, dummy or poo! They need to be able to sleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow, they need to breathe and know they don't need to work in 3 hour chunks. They need a breather where they can just be themselves for a second and not 'mum' or 'dad'.
I am fully admitting to being a hypocrite toward people who dare to have a holiday/break away when they've got a baby. How dare they?! How dare they palm their child off on someone else to go have fun without them. Parenting isn't a job you can book holidays off, it's all the time! How could someone do that?! Let me tell you, exactly, how someone could do that. Someone could need the god damn break! I apologise to anyone and everyone I've ever thought was taking it easy and having a break while leaving their baby with someone else for days. I now fully appreciate how hard it is to decide to actually go, and then how hard it is to enjoy yourself and allow yourself relax.
I felt so guilty, after having no choice but to leave her every night for 83 nights, not have to feed her through the night, cuddle when she cried, put her god damn dummy back in for the 1000th time; to then choose to leave her again for my own selfish needs. I felt so disgusted at thinking 'god I need a break' when I only now get to be a real mum with her. But god it's hard. A feisty, firey, refluxy, tiny, super steroid lunged baby girl who knows what she wants and what she wants is to scream. It's bloody hard. I'm not going to sugar coat it. Hats off to other parents because I totally took what you do for granted. Seriously though, I needed a break. We both did, like I said, I only saw Conn in passing when we were in a bubble of sleep deprivation, getting ready for work or shuffling downstairs to make her bottle and sort her medicine. I hadn't looked at his face in so long his beard was long untamed and scraggly and his hair was beginning to resemble Bradly coopers. I on the other hand looked like a movie star, it's just a pitty the movie I was staring in was 28 weeks later... red eyes, dead pale skin, ratty hair and a new vocabulary of grunts and breathing. We needed a break. We needed a pause on life to live again. We needed to breathe without fear of waking up our time bomb baby and just be human for a second.
So we did. Picked our holiday, used the remaining half of our 21st birthday trip (we had to cancel last year because I was pregnant) and booked our little get away to Manchester. I know, Manchester. Not exactly Italy or the Maldives but it was our break. Our time to be us and we actually really enjoy city breaks where we can wonder round and see new things. Eat in gorgeous restaurants and drink beer and cocktails to our hearts content. And you know what? It was lush. It was relaxing. It was needed and well deserved. It was beyond horrible leaving her, getting her stuff ready, putting her in her Nanny's car and filling it to the brim with toys, clothes, nappies, medicine and more toys. It was sad face timing her so we could see her smile and let her hear our voices. But it was SO needed and VERY well deserved! I felt like a bad mother, leaving her to go enjoy myself. I felt like she would feel abandoned even though she doesn't know anything really. I felt all this guilt because that's how I saw people when they went on holiday. But now I realise I was totally wrong.
Parents need to stop shaming others for needing that break. Needing their pause. They aren't escaping or having the easy life. They aren't part time parents for needing a little time to be them. Parenting is hard. It's hard when you have your first. It's hard when you have your last. It's hard when they're early or sick or completely normal. It's hard if they're boys or girls. It's hard if you're a pro or a newbie, young or old. It's just hard. But what makes it that touch easier is remembering who you are, remembering why you decided to have this baby whether that's alone or with someone you love, you need to pause and remember who you are. Doing your make up and brushing your hair, or trimming your beard and shaving your head. Even just booking a hotel and ending up paying extra so you can check out late and have a lie in!
As long as they're safe and you're not leaving them all the time... what's the problem? Why do we judge? And more importantly, why do we not just say yep this years been bloody tough, I need a few days away from here to remember why I need to be here. I need time away to miss my house, miss my girls face, smile, tears and screams, miss the air of my own town. And I'm not saying it always has to be away from your baby. I took Aria down to Preston a while ago to stay with my friend while she was finishing uni and Conn had gone to London for work. I needed time to miss him, miss sorting our house and miss my normal routine and life! Don't be ashamed of needed that pause in your life, slowing everything down and being you for a while. And we need to stop making people feel like it's a disgusting and neglectful act of leaving. Like we're running away from problems when really, we're just regrouping to come back fighting fit.
Now you may have a load of random photos we took whilst we were away.