I'm not talking babies breaking their hearts and becoming a wet mess of tears and snot if heaven forbid you need to leave the room for a wee. I'm talking the gut wrenching separation anxiety that happens to mum's when they leave their small people overnight.
I know that as a parent there are times when you long for a day off. There are the days when you would
run for the hills screaming merrily skip out of the door in a bid to avoid being asked another question. Days when you long to finish an adult conversation without being asked to wipe a small persons nose or butt. The days when we wistfully remember a time when the only shadow we possessed was ours, and it didn't cling to our leg with a vice like grip.
But the reality is that leaving our small people can be stressful. Will they be OK? Can anyone else interpret a point and grunt in the same way as you? Can anyone else kiss a bump and make it all better like you do? And what about you? Will you be OK? I mean can you actually remember how to have a conversation with someone about something more interesting than Cbeebies or Batman?
A recent two-night trip away on a hen weekend saw me go through the following seven stages of separation anxiety:
Stage One - The Preparation
I'm so frickin excited. Foot loose and child free. I can wear earrings without fear of them being ripped from my ears. I can use that cute little handbag that hasn't seen the light of day since 2009. Maybe it's not fashionable any more. I could get a new little bag just for the occasion. While I'm at it I'll get the big one some Lego and a cuddly toy for the little one. Just a little treat for them both. Not in any way are these guilt gifts. I've never left the little one for this long before. Look at his little face. I'm going to miss him so much. What if he misses me too much. What if he cries for me and I'm not here. What if he thinks I've abandoned him and he never gets over the rejection. OK Get a grip. You are leaving him for two nights with his Daddy. It's going to be fine. He'll have fun, you will have fun. What if he is poorly or hurts himself? STOP. What am I doing? Just concentrate on that new bag. Maybe you should get a new top too to make yourself feel better. Ohh nail varnish.
Stage Two - The Goodbye
New top on and clutching little bag ready to go. Have I got my phone? Why do I feel so nervous? It's not like I have never been out on my own before. In about half an hour you will have a glass of wine in your hand and two whole days to be you. Just You. Who is me? I'm not sure 'tequila girl' exists anymore. I'm more practiced at nappy changes than I am slinging shots now. Come on you can do this. You deserve some time off. Kisses goodbye, final instructions to husband (along with the 10 page essay I have left him) quick exit. Let's go. Do not cry. Do not Cry. Think about the mascara. DO NOT CRY. It's OK, I'll just have to re-do my make up in the car. Have I got my phone?
Stage Three - The Adjustment
This feels weird. I feel like I've forgotten something and I feel 2 stone lighter. I'm not carrying anything! No baby, no toys, no bags of crap stuff. What do I do with my arms? Seriously, I've forgotten how to be 'natural' with empty arms. Do I just hang them by my side casually? Do I place one hand on my hip in a nonchalant pose? Quick someone pass me a drink before my arms start doing the actions to wheels on the bus just so they have something to do. Stop rocking from side to side, you look demented.
Stage Four - The Homesick Pangs
This is nice, the wine is flowing, I'm enjoying myself. I'm trying really hard not to talk about the small people too much. I wonder what they are doing right now? Maybe I should check my phone again? No, stop it. They will be having their bed time stories. Aww I miss them. Maybe I could just sneak a peak at a few photos on my phone and give myself a small people fix. Man my kids are cute. Oh look a text from the husband; the kids are fast asleep, they had a fun afternoon and he hopes I'm having a great time. I feel better now. He's the best. I miss him too.
Stage Five - Rediscovering Me
Check me out. I am having proper grown up conversations about stuff going on in the real world. No one has mentioned superheroes or asked me to wipe their butt. I am dancing to songs sung by actual bands rather than chipmunks, and it's 11:30 and I am still awake, and there are no pajamas in sight! I've still got it. I am so D-R-U-N-K.
Stage Six - Back to Reality
I'm dying. I'm never drinking again. I'm too old. Or too out of practice. Probably both. I do not miss hangovers. Although sitting here in the sun with a cup of tea whilst I wake up is an easier way of dealing with it than having the small people bounce on me a stupid O'clock in the morning. Ahhh the small people. I'm so excited to see them. I can't wait for the cuddles and kisses.
Stage Seven - The Homecoming
Oh my, when did they get so big? These hugs are amazing. I can't breathe, but they are amazing. How have they grown so much in two days? I swear their hair is longer. I actually missed the noise! Wow, going away sure makes you feel loved and appreciated. I might cry again! There is no where i'd rather be than here. Could you maybe get off my leg now?
Is it just me who goes through this separation anxiety?