This weekend I travelled back in time.
I went back three years, to a time when there was no children and I wasn’t pregnant. There was no bedtime wrangle, no nighttime wake ups and no early morning. And you know what? It was bloody brilliant.
For the first time since my youngest was born seven months ago, me and my husband passed the childcare duties over to my parents for the night. Both kids went for a sleepover at nana and grandad’s house. Our toddler has stayed overnight there many times now so I knew she would have a fab time.
But I felt anxious at the thought of leaving my youngest. She still wakes up to three times a night at seven months. I always breastfeed her back to sleep. She is enjoying her solid foods and will take a bottle so realistically I knew she would survive a night without me. But I still worried about her being upset to wake up and not have the comfort of mummy right there to soothe her.
I love both my children the same. However at the moment I feel a particular sense of attachment to my youngest because we have spent hours and hours together at night. It’s like we’ve been through an ordeal together and emerged from the other end. There have been long nights where I’ve been trying desperately to comfort her, to rock her back to sleep. Hours where she’s just screamed every time I’ve put her down. Now her sleep is better, though not perfect, I feel only I can understand her nighttime needs. We’ve done all that together, so shouldn’t I continue until she’s sleeping through the night?
My first slept through the night at eight weeks so I never had this dilemma with her.
But in the end I decided after seven months I needed a break. Also me and my husband needed a date night. We’ve been out separately a few times and my parents have babysat at our house once while we went out for a few hours. Hangovers with kids to deal with the next morning are no fun though!
My parents live just 30 minutes away so if there were any problems they could get to our place no problem and vice versa.
So this Friday just gone we did it. We dropped off the kids and went out. We had cocktails at The Botanist, then went for a steak at Miller & Carter.
I had such a great time. I let my hair down and relaxed knowing there were no children for me to keep an eye on. In fact there was a table next to us with a few young children and I enjoyed watching them racing around their table knowing it wasn’t my responsibility to make sure they don’t fall over and whack their head.
The night was brilliant. But the next morning was almost even better. We laid in bed, had bacon rolls and rented a film from iTunes. It was John Wick Chapter 2, so consisted of completely braindead violence. It was amazing! Not the film, that was a bit s**t, but being able to lie there with no toddler shouting to go to the park or baby wriggling about trying to grab the remote. I did miss them both though! The house felt extremely quiet without them.
When I went to pick up the kids that afternoon they were both fine. My youngest had clearly missed me and was very clingy for the rest of the day. My eldest had had a great time. The important thing to come out of it was, I was rested and feeling good because I had given myself a break.
Tips for leaving your baby overnight:
- Plan what food you will take. If you’re weaning have food in the freezer you can take over in a cool bag. Also get whatever formula or pumped milk you’re going to take ready in advance. Have at least two bottles and teats too.
- Have the bag packed in advance. Remember spare clothes, pyjamas, sleeping bag, nappies, wipes, bibs, bed sheets, etc. Don’t leave it to the last minute and do it in a panic as you will forget something and remember it at an annoying time, like just as you’re about to go out!
- Get a travel cot. They’re so useful for going away and are easy to put up. Ours was in the sale at Mothercare and cost about £30.
- Don’t worry. Easier said than done, but remember whoever you’re leaving your baby with has been picked by you for a reason. You trust them. As long as your baby is being offered food, milk and comfort they will be fine. It’s really only a day, that’s a drop in the ocean!
- Have fun. Enjoy it, this type of freedom now we’re parents is rare.
So yes it was bloody brilliant. But I’ll still take living in the present any day of the week, with maybe a little flashback every now and then.