It’s 1:38am and once again I can’t sleep. I went to bed at 11pm fell into a lovely deep sleep after being on shift work, then my nearly two year old Alex started crying. So, bleary eyed, I went to see what the matter was. He’s standing up very upset pointing down the side of the cot. His teething ring has fell down the side and this was clearly going to be the end of the world if I didn’t find it! Light goes on fully, big wooden stick thingy used to fish it out, but it’s nowhere in sight. I fetch my phone to use the torch, still no sign. I look in his bed nothing. My husband then comes in to see what on earth is going on… the world is saved! It’s lying in his bed.
Next Alex says ‘milk’. So I trundle off down stairs to get him a cup of warm milk. Then the dog also wants to be let out. Fetched Alex out of his cot, along with the teething ring and his comfort pillow, and gave him his cup. He had three sips then pointed back to his cot. For all of you thinking oh my goodness he’s two and still has milk in the night, yes he does occasionally to help him settle. I’ve done the whole ‘I’m not going to give you milk because if we don’t stop now you will keep waking up for it till you leave home,’ but he just stays up longer and screams louder. Most nights he sleeps through but when he wakes and needs some comfort he gets milk.
Back into cot, I rub his head and say goodnight. I get back into bed. Then, another bout of crying. I go back in. He wanted to go to sleep holding his cup along with the teething ring and his comfort pillow. Rub of the head and goodnight. Back into bed crying starts again. A little bit more annoyed now, I say “What’s that matter?” He wants to sit on my lap then points to cot and eventually goes to sleep with milk, teething ring and comfort pillow! As I get into bed I mutter to my husband “Now you know why I want to go away for the weekend!” Then once again I feel so guilty for planning to go away this weekend.
My husband went camping earlier in the year with some friends for four nights. So, when I got asked to go to a friends wedding in Liverpool, I thought at last some Sarah time! The wedding is on the Friday so I decided to go sight seeing on the Saturday and then come home on the Sunday. I have half of me who is very excited of the prospect of just being Sarah for the weekend and not a mother, wife or a paramedic. The other half is racked with guilt that I’m leaving Alex with his quite capable father for three nights while I enjoy some ‘me’ time.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Mother Nature type who wants to spend 24 hours with her precious little boy, but I can’t help feeling that twinge of guilt. When my husband went camping he didn’t feel guilty about going and why should he. So why do I? Maybe it’s just instinct, I really don’t know. I’m not sure if I feel guilty about not being there for Alex if he needs me, or whether I feel guilty for not being there when he’s up through the night or having a major tantrum, when me and my husband share the load. I just keep trying to tell myself why shouldn’t I deserve a weekend away after two years being there for others, whether it’s Alex, my husband or through work.
We all need our ‘me’ time and I think it’s important for us to sometimes just be ourselves. The person we are deep down with no ties or dependants. I also believe this refreshes us when it’s time to return home and slip back into our roles again. Maybe we will be a bit more relaxed when the tantrums start or we are woken in the early hours due to a lost teething ring. I’m sure after a few glasses of wine at the wedding my guilt will fade, but it’s sure to come back next time because I am only human and I’m a mother.