Yes you did read that right.
Happy new year to you all. For the first time I actually went out and celebrated the new year countdown. I hope all your new years eve’s were happy and you all got completely hammered. Mine was difficult and eventful, but I had a lovely time.
My mother in law suggested a few weeks back having the children over night so hubby and I could go out and enjoy ourselves, and lets face it, have a much needed break. Let me just explain why this was such a hard decision for me to make.
Most other parents I know would jump at the opportunity to be child free for a night, not me. Oscar is two and half, I have not once, apart from one night when I was in hospital when I had just had Luna, left him overnight and even then my partner was at home with him. It’s really difficult for me to explain because unless you have been through the anxiety and panic attacks its hard for me to put it into words.
I always felt like I’d be a bad parent if I left my children with other family members or friends overnight because they were my responsibility and I was, still am to some extent, a bit OCD when it comes to routine and knowing what they want etc.I remember leaving Oscar when he was three months old for about six hours with my dads girlfriend, who is a qualified child minder, so it was a win win situation. Even then, I was messaging and texting all the time, panicking whether he would be OK without me, I remember not wanting to leave, cold sweats, heart palpitations, it was just awful. None the less, I done it and he was obviously fine. Since then I’d never really left him with anyone else, I always got really funny about it. I meant no offence to anyone else, it was just the way I felt. Since Oscar has started talking and explaining what he wants and he goes to nursery three times a week, I have learnt that its OK and healthy to have a break from him. Him missing me is a good thing for him too as he gets to interact with other people. I have also learnt that he gets annoyed with me and fed up with me, the same way that I get annoyed and fed up with him, that was hard for me to hear and understand but it is true. I think thats the same with most toddlers.
Luna is a difficult baby because of her milk intolerance, early weaning which she is still trying to get the hang of and all of her medication, its hard for us to trust people to do it right with her, again no offence is meant to anyone, and I think my family and friends understand a lot more with Luna why we are like this. Note, I am saying ‘we’. As horrible as this sounds, I am a little bit relieved and pleased that my partner feels this way with Luna because he understands a lot more about why I get like I do when it comes to leaving them. She has to have omeprezole force fed down her throat once a day, which we never want to put anyone through as she screams blue murder every time, but we are used to it. She is four and half months old, so you can imagine how my anxiety reacted when my mother in law offered to have her overnight too. She can’t explain what she wants, she doesn’t sleep well, she is fussy, an just plain awkward.
I thought for over a week about whether I could do it and leave them, even though she has bought two children up of her own, with a similar age gap to mine. After agreeing and her getting her hopes up, I sent her an email which would have probably equaled three pages worth of ‘instructions’ regarding timings for meals, how to sterilise bottles, how to prepare the formula, medication, bath time etc, I felt scared that I was going ahead with it.
So new years eve arrived, we had arranged to go ice skating, and then out for a meal followed by drinks. We dropped the kids off mid afternoon, and Luna decided to have a massive screaming fit, literally over nothing. Oscar was happy and fine and just started playing. Luna was screaming the whole time Dan was unloading the boot full of all their things, separate note, why do two small humans take up the entire boot of a car rammed with crap, yet its all necessary? It took about twenty minutes to unload the car and set up the travel cot and show his mother how the steriliser worked, and Luna was still screaming. This made it hard for me to leave. I took her off of Dan’s mum and I managed to calm her down, just as I was preparing myself to leave and I handed her back to his mum, she started screaming again. It sounds even worse, but I had to ignore her otherwise I would never have left. I said goodbye to Oscar who was excited for his sleepover, and left leaving Luna hysterically crying.
I had done it. I had left the children, thing is all I could think about was if Luna had calmed down. Ten minutes later I got a call, it was Dan’s mum and she said ‘listen.’ I couldn’t hear anything and Luna had stopped crying and was fine. I was relieved. Then I enjoyed my night. I sent a few texts throughout the night to make sure they were OK, but all in all I think I did fine. Tell you what, it felt amazing to have an uninterrupted night sleep and a lay in this morning. Dan and I have planned to do this once a month, with the next date booked in the diary for February. It important for us to still have our time and focus on us, and it doesn’t make us bad parents for wanting time to ourselves. I don’t know if I’m the only mother to have felt this way about leaving children, but you just need to take that first step and realise it will be OK. Have some time for yourselves, the children will appreciate you being more happy and relaxed from having that one night without them knowing that you will be calmer and enjoy being a parent. Plus I now have something to look forward to, which is very rare for me as a stay at home parent.