Sometimes, during a particularly stressful week as a mum of three I forget that I’m still a fairly young woman. Having children young has made me old before my years, I had to grow up quickly, and sometimes it all gets a bit much.
I don’t have a lot of friends these days, over the years I’ve lost contact with a lot of people, but I’ve kept in contact with my two friends from uni and we remain close. Despite this, the distance between us and life getting in the way means we don’t see each other as much as I would like.
We’ve been planning a meet up for months over WhatsApp, working around all three of our schedules, and finally last weekend we managed to meet up near Winchester for a proper girly weekend away. It was exciting for two reasons, one – I hadn’t seen them in just over a year, when I had recently found out I was pregnant with Benjamin, so we had lots to catch up on and two – it was my first night away from Benjamin since he was born, which basically meant one thing to me – uninterrupted sleep!
In the week leading up to it, I had pumped manically each morning to get enough milk for Ed to be able to feed Benjamin, and I was more than ready for some time away from being mum! We stayed at a Travelodge, it wasn’t fancy but it meant we could all stay in the one room, and the weekend was brilliant, just what I needed.
We didn’t have a lot of time, we arrived early afternoon on the Saturday and had to leave again Sunday afternoon but we made sure we made the most of our time away. We wandered around the local town, we had a meal and shared a couple of bottles of wine whilst having a good catch up, and then we did a Co-Op run for snacks and headed back to the hotel room for a night of Britain’s Got Talent, The Heat, Prosecco and eating our body weight in crisps, chocolate and popcorn. All totally kid free. It was bliss.
The following day I got a lie in and we headed out for some sightseeing, visiting Jane Austen’s house and then Winchester, where we had some lunch, visited the cathedral and then did something decidedly less cultural and went shopping in Primark.
I returned home on Sunday afternoon and I felt like a weight had lifted. The thing is, yes I’m a mum, I’m a mum to three beautiful (if a little strong willed like their mother) children but I’m also a girl in her late twenties, who enjoys drinking wine and Prosecco, has a penchant for Dairy Milk Oreo chocolate, and loves to forget from time to time all the responsibilities life entails.
My two uni friends are yet to have children, and at times over the weekend I was reminded of my different status, like when I realised I’d spent so long preparing the milk for Benjamin to have whilst I was away I’d totally forgotten to pack my breast pump to relieve myself when I wasn’t with him, and I had to make a quick dash into Boots to buy a cheap manual pump, or when I was using said pump at 6 in the morning, when Benjamin usually has a feed, with boobs as hard as rocks, trying to be quiet so as not to wake the girls up. But overall I didn’t feel like a mum, I felt like me.
Ours is a friendship where we can spend months away from each other and still pick up just where we left off. When I’m with them I can kid myself that the only care we have is revising for our exams, that life is carefree once more. Our weekend away gave me the breath of fresh air I needed to feel like I could take on the world again.
It’s so important to not forget that underneath it all, underneath the food stains, the wet wipes, the dirty nappies and the seemingly endless supply of paintings brought home from nursery, deep down you’re still you, and you deserve some time to be just that.