How can mothers make you feel guilty so easily? It's a life skill I really must learn.... probably should ask my mum, really.
I phoned her the other night and happened to mention that I was planning a trip back to Derby in April. Just Friday evening until Sunday lunchtime - nothing excessive. But of course I mentioned also that I am going without the kids. Not good, in my mother's opinion. According to her it would be wrong to "leave the children in a foreign country" (eh, with their father). She would "feel terribly funny" doing such a thing, and says she never left me and my sister ever.
I'm not entirely sure I believe that. I must check with my sister, but I do remember there were always 'dinner dances' throughout my childhood, and when I say I remember them, I don't mean because I recall my sister and I looking lovely in our long dresses sipping cocktails by the bar.
The reason I gave for going on my own is that I feel like I just want/need some time on my own. And also because if I took them we'd be sleeping in one room together, and to date my children have never been able to sleep in the same room, so I'd be awake most of the night and then I'd be even more shattered than usual and it wouldn't really be a break at all.
I had the option of going back last week when Stevie was heading back for a couple of days with work. But he was staying in a hotel, and we were going to be staying with a friend, and I weighed up no sleep plus constantly worrying about my children ruining this friend's child-free lovely house, and I just thought it wasn't worth it.
I don't think I lead a necessarily 'typical' life. I am never without the kids. I am a full-time mum in the fullest sense of the word. I live in another country from my family and even when I lived in the UK, I've always lived far away from them. So it's not like I'm working full-time and my only quality time with them is at the weekend and early evening, and it's not like I can drop the kids off at their granny's when I fancy going to the shops or have a doctors appointment. Nope, everywhere I go, they go. So I find it pretty unrelenting. Gruelling even at times.
In fact last night is the first time I have ever used a babysitter. Apart from once when I went to a wedding and they stayed at their granny's house. But with this trip, I feel like I am being perceived as doing the wrong thing and well, definetly it's like I am being really selfish. But really, am I? Doesn't everyone need a little time to themselves?
Of course my mother is somewhat fickle. Recently she (ok well, maybe not just recently. She has always thought it was wrong for me to put the kids in nursery, but recently) she has been saying that it's not really fair to have Hamish in Kita as he doesn't like it, and how my sister and I never wanted to go so she didn't send us. Of course I don't like that he's hating going but I need to learn German and so if we have any problem when I finish my course then I'll take him out. My mum has suggested that I maybe just do the evening course, but then you learn very little at any great speed and really, with hospital appointments and other things of importance I really feel like I need to know what's being said and so it's important that I learn as quickly as I can.
I don't think she agrees. I can tell she's thinking "JUST CHUCK IT!", and I too have my moments of thinking maybe I should. But then the next time I speak to my mum she'll have done a complete u-turn and will say that she thinks it would be a very good idea if I stick at my German and do the exams at B2 level because then that gives me further career options when I return to the UK as maybe I could "teach German to retired folk". Well, that's only another 24 weeks away, and while I would like to do it, in all honesty teaching German to retired folk is lingering somewhere around fairground ride attendant in my list of career aspirations.
So I can't win. And selfish old me is still planning to get on a plane alone and see her friends. Feel free to side with my mother and share your criticisms below. Go on, I'd enjoy it!