I’m going to take a moment to describe my current situation. It’s Saturday. It’s 11.40am. I’m still in my pjs – in fact, I’m still in bed. I’m drinking an actual hot mug of coffee. And the house is totally silent.
Neil has taken Alex away for the weekend and I am completely alone. This weekend is entirely mine.
I’m just going to have a minute to savour that.
Even the cat is making the most of it, luxuriantly washing herself from head to foot right in the middle of the bed, rather than being in her usual position of hiding in the back of the wardrobe, away from tiny grabby hands and the enticing shouts of “LOLA!!! COME PLAY WITH MEEEEE!!!!!!”.
After I’ve finished writing this, I’m going to get dressed, in clean clothes, that stand a really good chance of staying clean all day. I will do this at a reasonable pace; I will not need to spend 20 minutes attempting to put my top on, whilst simultaneously soothing a bumped knee, singing Yellow Submarine on demand, finding the missing toy car that is needed immediately, and watching whatever acrobatics Alex has decided to showcase. I will not need to then throw everything else on in 10 seconds because we have to leave, only to discover halfway through the afternoon that my cardigan is on inside out.
I will have lunch, by myself, whilst reading my book. I don’t need to share with someone who won’t eat their own (identical) lunch, but really likes the look of mine. I might be able to read more than my customary one sentence, over and over.
There is a big chunk of time this afternoon where I have no plans. None. There is spare time in my day. I’m a bit panicked by this, to be honest. It feels highly unnatural. What do normal, non-parenting people do with spare time? I could empty the dishwasher. Sort out the washing. That feels a bit like I’m doing it wrong, though. Ooh. I could buy a newspaper – and actually read it, rather than throw it in the recycling bin in 3 weeks’ time completely unopened.
Then comes the bit that I am properly excited about. I’m going to go and spend my birthday money. To put this in context, my birthday was in July. Since then, I haven’t been into a shop without having to accompany it with a running commentary along the lines of “No don’t touch that please put that back we don’t lick the shoes come and help me with this no not that this bit over here I need to just look at this oh why are you lying down ah sod it I’ll come back another time”. Today I can look at pretty things, for me, for as long as I like.
After that, I might even go out for dinner. I don’t need to check the menu first to make sure they offer one of the 5 meals that are acceptable for Alex to eat when not at nursery, so I could go wild. I’m meeting friends after that and don’t need to do that backwards calculation thing where I work out what time I can stay out until based on whatever ungodly hour the small person might wake up in the morning.
Tonight, I can sleep uninterrupted. A plaintive “MUMMY?” will not disturb my dreams, and I won’t need to stumble from my bed to cuddle a sleepy, warm Alex, who has woken up disoriented, or needs a wee, or needs the duvet straightening. I can wake in the morning after a full night of rest.
Oh yes, I’m home alone, fellow parents – read it and weep!
I can’t wait for him to get home tomorrow night.