“Sometimes it’s OK to just shut the door on the crying for five minutes and make yourself a cuppa.” One of my best mates told me that (advice bestowed by her wise Ma) and it was the first time I realised the importance of putting yourself first sometimes.
That’s not in a Veronica Salt kind of way – noone likes an E-colour-fuelled martyr – and we’re certainly not edging into neglect territory. But in a ‘ah the kid is still alive and I’ve managed to glue my mind back together for a bit AND I’m not on the verge of tears [insert clapping hand emoticon]’.
That sentiment doesn’t end when your newborn squawker develops into a walking, talking (and mildly better-sleeping) toddler. That’s why my husband and I booked into the London Conrad St James Hotel recently. Fear not, this isn’t an ad. It’s just a bit of blather about how hauling the family out of the everyday can do a world of good on mind, body and parental soul.
I’m not really into ‘escaping’ the kid. I don’t see her enough to justify that – I am sure one less day at work and I’d be desperate to hit the Eurostar solo with a gin in a tin (and, perhaps, a retro Mills & Boon grot read). But there is definitely something in having a change of scene when you feel the energy coffers are low.
We chose a Monday – mainly because it has the added value of ‘everyone else is at work. On a Monday.’ which counts almost as a double holiday. There were no plans laid out, other than hanging out in the room, watching a slew of Disney films in bed and eating pic ‘n’ mix. There was an urchin-sized bathrobe laid out in the room, while Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down duvets offered welcome respite from the parent storm.
My husband ate a Room Service cottage pie in bed and watched Grand Designs, while I made cocktails and slugged them back in the bath – both things that might seem uncouth at home, but rock and roll in a hotel. By 8pm, the urchin was dispatched to her travel cot, having chowed down on the Little Piggies kiddie tea downstairs (think mini gastro grub made from scratch).
And then we had a conversation. Like, my husband and I actually talked. There were no distractions like an overflowing laundry basket, rogue tea mug or ‘should we make the superhuman effort to change the sheets tonight’ concerns. There was no sense of anything other than family.
A little bit of room service goes a long way.