This Christmas, Santa gave me a week off. A week off from parenting, routines, demands and neediness. Santa was very kind this year.
I spent my week indulging in sleeping, TV and DVDs. I even occasionally ate some food and took myself out to the movies. Twice. Mmm…. Daniel Craig….
By day 6, I was ready to attend to some chores, but they were still interspersed with lying down on the couch to watch TV. Lots.
It’s amazing how much you can get done in a small amount of time, when there are no children around. The floors are clean and the clothes folded.
And then they are back. It is such a shock to the system. But the first evening is OK. I watch them play on their new Xbox and then we stay up late, because it’s New Year’s Eve, watching the Avengers. I send them off to bed at 10.30 because I’m exhausted, but the 9yo is determined to stay up all night, so he reads instead of sleeping.
Even though I can’t sleep either, as I lie there I feel a sense of calm and peace envelop me because the boys are home. It feels right to have them home.
The next morning I wake up with a migraine. Every little noise the children make feels like nails on a blackboard.
Somehow we get through the day. We pick up our new bunny, we settle him in his hutch. The boys play outside for a while, letting me watch some TV on my own. I hide in my room for some time when they come back inside, because I just don’t know what to do with myself, when they’re playing. We have dinner. We watch some TV. They go to bed.
When I take them to Vacation Care the next day, I am overwhelmed by guilt. It’s not like I have to go anywhere. I just really need some space and silence. I do want to get some work done.
I remember that it’s been over nine months since I’ve left the boys in the care of anyone other than my parents or their teachers. This new place is the big unknown. I’m sure they’ll be fine.
Having child-free time is essential to my mental health. Having them home is essential to my being.