As anyone who’s ever had a child will know, life changes in about every single way imaginable once he or she has popped out. One of the things you may think won’t change is your relationship, but it will. Even if you’re the strongest team ever and approach parenting with exactly the same values and ideas, the mere fact that there’s another person living in your house (and that you have to decide which one of you disposes of each turd they do – so a little more hands on than a regular lodger) changes things.
So ‘they’ talk about having time for yourselves, date nights, all that kind of jazz. But the reality of life is that you can sometimes realise you’ve gone many weeks or even months without having a conversation more in depth than a discussion of the toddler’s eating habits. By the time they’re in bed at night, if you’re lucky enough to have a good sleeper, you’re probably so tired you’re just slumped together watching TV before bed – so while you may physically be in the same room, mentally you’re probably not.
Given all that, why is it that when someone gives you the chance of a night away somewhere without the baby, it can actually leave you with all sorts of mixed feelings? It was first suggested a couple of months ago that we could go away for Dylan’s birthday – and we had a bit of a general look around to see if any of the deals on enticed us at all. Eventually he found a fabulous looking place in Wales with an amazing offer on. But it wasn’t the sort of place you’d take a young child, all very much fancy dinner and manor-house type feel. So we asked nanna who agreed to have Alex overnight, and booked ourselves in.
And yet, despite the fact I am more than confident nanna knows how to look after our child and that Alex herself will have an incredible time. Despite the fact I’m really looking forward to just over 24 hours where I don’t have to share my husband with anyone – not his work, not our families or friends (as lovely as they are), just me and him talking about whatever we want to talk about and not having the distraction of washing up or taking the rubbish out to worry about. Despite the fact I know it will do us both the world of good to get away for a night. There’s still a part of me that wants to secretly pack Alexandra in our case and just hope she doesn’t knock any of the fancy pants wine glasses over at dinner!
I hope that when Dylan reads this he doesn’t take it as an attack on him or a proclamation that I find my toddler more interesting than him (she does have a slightly better repertoire of jokes to be honest!) – but instead takes it for what it is: the fact that due to some complex brain wiring things I couldn’t even begin to understand, I will be forever linked to Alex and always thinking about her when we’re not together. Although having said that, I suspect the feeling maybe goes a little as they age – I’m hoping I don’t worry about spending a night away from her when she’s 30!
Harriet and Alexandra x