It was on one of those baking hot summer’s days when school was out and everyday merged into one another, and you and your siblings would drive your mum absolutely bonkers with your constant bickering and annoying wind ups. On one of these blurry endless days my mum sided with my brother over something so obviously trivial now, but to my eight year old mind that was it. I’d had enough.
If there were awards going for the most dramatic of strops I could clear the boards.
“You always take his side. I hate you all. I’m leaving!” I screamed as I stormed up to my bedroom and grabbed my Beauty & The Beast pink sparkly suitcase that I adored and stuffed it with three pairs of socks, a vest and my treasured Larry the Lamb.
“Don’t expect me to come back.
You’re not taking me seriously!
That’s it I’m leaving…”
Cue my mum and brother in fits of giggles on the sofa as I storm past them and out the front door and slam it behind me.
I got as far as about five houses down the road before I looked down and realised that I had no shoes on. Damn it. So I returned home and declared that I wouldn’t be leaving today as it was nearly dinner time, but I will definitely be leaving another day. Mum and Tom were now in hysterics as they had known all along that I would in fact have come back as soon as I got hungry, regardless of if I was wearing shoes or not.
Flash forward twenty-four years later and I decided to run away again; this time with my shoes on a bag packed with all the essentials required for a much needed spa break including a ice box full of prosecco. Standard.
I’m quite aware that I sound like a broken record when I go on about Elsie’s sleeping habits, or her inability to actually sleep, but the struggle is real. The pain is real and the problem is real. Babies are notoriously meant to disrupt their parent’s sleep, but over the last year I’ve come to realise the vast difference between a baby that sometimes doesn’t sleep and a baby that really-and-truly-is-a-nightmare-sleeper. You can see it in the parent’s eyes.
Those of us who know the pain and the utter frustratingly exhausting strain from having a baby who doesn’t let them get more than three hours unbroken sleep, look entirely different from those who have the “odd bad night”. We look as if we’ve been dug up. We look as if we’re listening to you, but really we’re just thinking about sleep. We are broken and life is really, really hard.
When I’m not crying on the toilet or sitting on the stairs googling “why won’t my baby sleep?” I’m making a vow to myself to find the cheapest and nearest hotel in the morning and book myself a room for a
year night. It could be grubby and bed bug invested for all I care in those dark and stressful hours, just as long as it’s cheap and it’s quiet so that I can catch up on some much dreamed about uninterrupted sleep.
Of course I never do it. Bed bugs aside, running away isn’t the answer. Elsie needs her Mummy and this is my life’s purpose now, to be there for her and I’d only sit there in my grubby little hotel room feeling terribly guilty for having let this aspect of our parenting journey get the better of me. If there’s one thing that Elsie has taught me, it’s that I’m strong. We’ll get through this tough time, we have to. Surely she won’t be ten years old and still waking us every forty-five minutes will she? Don’t answer that…I’d rather not know.
Even with all this positive pep talk I give myself, there was still no denying that this Mumma needed a little break. So when my sister asked me if I fancied a little spa break, I’d packed my pants and PJ’s before she’d even booked us a room. Excited much…was I heck.
A whole 24 hours of pampering and sleep- it was absolute bliss. I even made a little video of our little break away if you fancy a peek…
Sadly it all feels like a distant memory already. As I sit here I’m totally and utterly wiped again from working and juggling life on broken unhealthy sleep and I’ve realised more than ever that we can’t run away from this problem anymore. Our time together is too precious to be thinking that escaping is the only answer. I can’t run away anymore. Well that’s unless another cheeky spa break pops up of course.