This weekend was one of those weekends you feel you need a weekend to recover from.
Actually, to be honest, the past six weeks has felt like that with croup, chickenpox, flu, flu, cold, flu…
My grandma – who lives in Sunderland – got called in for a hospital appointment on Friday morning following some recent concerns with a lump. My dad was in Oman on business and then Rome declaring their marriage (or something equally official) ahead of their wedding there in June and simply couldn’t reorganise and get a flight back in time. So I took Friday off work and hotfooted it up to the Cold Dark North (which was actually really pleasant and sunny – almost warm, shock horror!) on Thursday after work.
It was a flying visit, returning late Friday night, as my mum was moving house on the Saturday. After moving so many times growing up, we’re somewhat of a house-moving-dream-team, so obviously I’d said I’d help.
Meanwhile, the Other Half had tickets to the Saatchi Gallery’s Rolling Stones exhibition on the Saturday which he’d bought last August for his dad’s birthday and a friend’s surprise welcome back party that evening after a nine month stint in Tokyo.
I feel like I’ve barely seen Little Miss this week; week day evenings are always short and often fraught with a very tired post-nursery Little Miss. But after what has now been a long six weeks with us all ill, just passing colds and flus between us, (welcome to the house of fun…) we had to accept that this weekend, we just couldn’t do it all.
(Actually, as I type this on my morning commute, the OH is at home with, yet again, a poorly Little Miss. When will it end?!)
So, in an attempt to simplify matters, we shipped Little Miss off my in-laws on Saturday morning for a sleepover. As ever, she was super excited to see Auntie Chatterbox (nine) and her favourite Uncle (eleven) and had a whale of a time. GranPam was sending us videos of her having a cello lesson (!), dance fit sessions on the Wii and some very serious, highly intense conversations with the dogs…
On Sunday morning, I woke about 9:30am. Once upon a time, this was classed as hideously early – those were the days! – but now, this was heavenly; quiet stillness greeting me, slowly coming-to in my own time and the promise of absolutely nothing needing my energy or even attention as I stumbled out of bed.
I popped downstairs and got tea, orange juice and an iPad. The OH was stirring when I returned and we sat in bed watching Netflix for the next couple of hours.
I don’t remember the last time we did this. I guess it was when I was pregnant but that seems like a lifetime ago now.
But let’s assume it was when I was pregnant; that’s two and a half years since we had a lazy Sunday morning.
Two and a half years, people.
Every parent knows this hardship. It’s the sucky part of the job (especially when your toddler has some weird aversion to your bed and won’t just come for a sleepy cuddle in the mornings).
But if, like us, you’re the first of your friends to have kids, this can be particularly grating at times.
At 26 or 27 years old, few of our friends have seen 8am on a Sunday in the past fifteen years, let alone 6am. We make plans to meet for brunch at 11am, by which time we’ve been up five hours, had breakfast and a morning snack to put us all on.
I’ve written before how lucky we are to have incredibly supportive friends – they’re brilliant – but at the end of the day, none of them can really relate to what our lives are like.
Our ‘parent friends’ get it, obviously, but almost all of them are thirty-somethings, who planned their pregnancy, have friends (from before parenthood) with kids. They’re all at ‘that stage’.
As we lay in bed yesterday morning, I’m ashamed to admit I did think, just for a moment, ‘This is what life could have been like…” It was a world away from our usual Sunday. And in truth, it was really nice.
Don’t get me wrong, we love our daughter and can’t imagine life without her. Three years ago, life diverted us down an unexpected fork in the road and, now we’re here, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
But we’re only human. And you know what? Being a parent is exhausting.
And it can be hard being constantly reminded of the grass on the other side.
As it happens, I don’t necessarily think it’s greener. I posted this on Instagram the other day, but it’s fitting for this post too:
I remember when I was reeling from finding out I was pregnant, a family friend who had been through the same six years before said, “it’s tough, but they do make you laugh.”
And she was completely right. Over the past two years, Little Miss has taught me so much about love and joy and the power of laughter (as opposed to curling into the foetus position and rocking slowly in a corner…!). And the sound of your child uncontrollably laughing really is the most delicious sound on the planet.
But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really nice, just for one morning, to be ‘normal’ twenty-somethings and laze in bed without a care in the world.
And I think that’s ok. Because we’re all just doing the best we can. And sometimes, even parents just need a nap.
Amie is the newly appointed Under 30 Mums and Dads BritMums Round-Up Editor. Tweet Amie (@findingourfeet) your posts and experiences of life as #ParentsUnder30 on Twitter to be featured in the BritMums Round-Up on the second Saturday of each month.