We had an impromptu after school play in the park with friends today. With the sunny weather it's easier to decide on a whim to detour to the park and I get on with the mum so I have company while the kids run around and keep each other busy.
There were the inevitable tantrums when it was time to leave, but the promise of ice cream at home seemed to quel the worst of it. As we were saying bye I told my friend I'm going away for the night tomorrow. On my own. I had planned to have a night away a month ago, but it didn't happen in the end and as a result I really need the break now.
I am having a rough time with Brown Bear and we aren't getting on that well a lot of the time. I know it's a stage and will be over at some point, but I'm also not at my best so I'm not coping as well as I would like to. Having this bit of time to myself is much needed.
It's taken me a long time to allow myself time away by myself without feeling guilty. It really is the case that you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can take care of anyone else. I've let myself get tired, run down and have little patience. Just one night to myself isn't too much to ask is it ?
I go to the theatre by myself sometimes and I love it. I don't have to talk to anyone if I don't want to. I'm not worrying if the other person is having a good time. I can immerse myself in the show and at the end of it I don't have to discuss it with anyone. Don't get me wrong I enjoy the company of other people, but sometimes I just want to do my own thing in my own time and without anyone else around. It's a rare treat to have genuine 'free time' where I don't have to pick anyone up or take anyone to a party or have thought about what other people are going to eat.
This afternoon the boys had separate pick up times so I collected Blue Bear and when we got home he sat watching youtube videos of volcanoes (his current fascination is with lava and all things volcanic) while chomping on ginger nut biscuits. He asked me questions about lava and chose the next video he wanted to watch all by himself. It was fascinating to see how much he has grown up.
After picking up Brown Bear we went to the park and the boys went off with their respective friends. Blue playing with his 'girlfriend' and showing consideration and kindess as he helped her learn how to go on the big slide. It was touching and sweet to see how he took care of her. Brown Bear took it in turns to ride his friend's bicycle and kicked his football before joining us in the play park. He was climbing when another kid was behaving unsafely. I looked over and said, "Leave it, let's go now." He got down, came over to me and said, "He's being an idiot Mummy." I agreed and enveloped him in a big hug. He was hot and sweaty and didn't resist my unexplained affection. He just hugged me back and then we walked together to catch up with the others.
A lot of the time it isn't like this. Often it is difficult, tiring, unrewarding and just very, very loud. I love my children and I am so lucky I've been able to be with them so much. However, I also need to have time and space without them. I am sure that having some time away from them helps me be a better Mum.
This afternoon I got it right. It felt lovely and relaxed and fun to be with the boys and their friends. I am sure that knowing I will be away from them tomorrow evening was a big part of that.