Taking Time Out – the forever guilt


One of the very rare things that you do as a mummy is to take time away.

Time away from the precious family moments, time away from the hustle and bustle, the tears and laughter, time away from the cuddles and slobbery kisses.

It is the most difficult thing in the world to describe – to need some time out.  Why would you need or want time away from the people who love you the most in the world?  Why would you want to be away from the those who depend on you so much? Why would you try to take ‘time off’ when you could have less time than you thought you had?

Nevertheless – there it is.  Everyone needs time away, if for nothing else than to gain a little perspective.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder – and boy does it.

Months ago mid-treatment my friend asked if I would like to join her in booking a meal at a Michelin star restaurant.  Now in time gone by I would have said ‘sorry I can’t afford it’ (the prices would make your eyes water) or perhaps ‘I can’t take the time out from family life’ – but something strange has happened to me over this last year.

I have been given a jolt.

A wake up call if you like.  I have realised that I have a lot less time than I thought I had.  Even on the best prognosis – my life span is somewhat shorter now than it once was & so I decided to say ‘yes’, why the hell not?

So that is exactly what we did.  We travelled first class on a train down to London.  Three friends who have known each other for so long.   We relaxed, and we chatted and we laughed, and somehow the tough times disappeared away because we were all there for that moment.  We reminisced, we talked about the hard things, but deep down I think we knew that the time away was sorely needed for each and every one of us.

Childhood friends, no longer kids.  All of a sudden if felt like the full depth of real life had hit us. We had experienced the loss of loved ones, heartache and illness – mixed with knowing true happiness and learning to cherish the small things – and yet we were all still sitting there.  Still hanging on.

When we arrived we walked around London on that beautiful Autumn day, taking in the sights and sounds of the City.  We took the underground, visited art galleries, drank cocktails and thoroughly enjoyed every single moment.

As the evening crept in we returned to our hotel to get ready for our much anticipated meal.  Listening to music, trying on our dresses and actually having some precious time to add a touch of makeup.  We sipped champagne and awaited our taxi.  Arriving at the restaurant – we were not to be disappointed.  Treated like royalty, every detail taken care of, and yet we were still able to relax in comfort & enjoy the full fine dining experience.

Midway through the meal a family sat down to eat with two young children.  I watched with intrigue at the behaviour of those children in amongst such an experience – impeccably behaved (where my own children would have been under the table or perhaps on top of it), and then the pangs of motherly guilt came – would my own have liked the taste of this or that?  Would they have gotten ‘overtired’ and sleepy in their chair too?  I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind, as I was 100% sure that this was not the place for my little ones.

All in all it was a wonderful experience & one that I would recommend to any ‘foodie’.  The evening had been rounded off with the most perfect meal, washed down with the lightest wine and finished with slightly worn Louboutins (not mine).

Three tired friends who had set off with worn down emotions had returned rejuvenated, and happy, with slightly uplifted spirits.

On my way home I had some very rare time to kill and so I found myself in a bookshop wandering around.  I had forgotten how much I love book shops.  After quite sometime I chose some special books to take home to my little ones, bedtime stories written by the very best – and I could barely wait to share them.

Time away is a valuable thing, especially when you are a mother – but going home is the best feeling in the world.


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