7 reasons to book a baby-free weekend
Featured Image By @ivyandthefox
When you first have a baby, the responsibilities of caring for this fragile and inarticulate little person can be so overwhelming, you quickly lose sense of your own self. It doesn’t help that your closest relatives and loved ones all suddenly view you as an extension of the baby, or that your childless friends seem a little irritated that you are so preoccupied with the baby that you’re just not your fun self any more.
Society thoroughly drives home the rule that the baby is your sole responsibility and no self-respecting parent would ever consider missing the once-in-a-lifetime joys of dirty nappies, 3am feeds or solo operettas of screaming.
Yet it can be extremely therapeutic to take time out from your parental duties, either for an evening or a weekend, so long as you find a highly trusted babysitter and leave a plentiful supply of nourishment and nappies for the baby. Go on your own, with your partner or meet up with some friends and recharge your batteries!
Not sure what you would do without a baby to look after? Here are some suggestions/ reminders of life in the real world:
This is Number 1 on the list for a good reason – don’t feel bad if this is the only item you accomplish during your retreat. Immerse yourself in the luxury of sleeping as long as your body desires without being woken abruptly by hungry wails. You will amaze yourself at how long you can stay asleep and how your thought processes and coordination will miraculously improve once you wake up again.
- Talk (and think) about non-baby related subjects
When you are a new parent, it can sometimes be frustrating when friends and family only want to talk to you about the baby. Despite their universal appeal, babies don’t do much, and so their potential as a topic of conversation is much more limited than many people think. When you have some time away, you can develop new topics of conversation – what you read in the news that morning, the fantastic restaurant you went to last night, your opinion of the movie everyone is talking about…
- Enjoy your meal
Babies offer their parents several dining options: you and your partner can take turns either holding Baby or eating dinner; you can hold Baby and eat one-handed, while your partner cuts your food; you can stretch a meal out to an hour or more by putting Baby down and then interrupting your dinner repeatedly to pick Baby up again; or you can pensively lick yesterday’s breakfast crumbs off your shirt while Baby sleeps in your lap.
One of the most magical moments on your baby-free retreat will be the experience of holding a utensil in each hand, while you eat a meal that is actually still hot.
- Brainstorm baby related issues
Let’s face it – you aren’t going to completely forget the new presence in your life. Now that you’ve had a decent sleep and a good meal, this is a great time to thoroughly discuss those big parenting questions that seem so unsolvable when you are tired. Questions like: “Should we have called the doctor when the baby had hiccups?” or “Did we pick the right name?”
- Go to the toilet at your leisure
Imagine being able to get up and go to the toilet when you feel the need… and stay there for as long as necessary! No more “I’ll just go now while Baby’s in the crib” or holding on desperately rather than startle Baby awake with your footsteps or stopping mid-flow because Baby’s calling again. Just go. Go when you want to go.
- Redefine yourself
Your identity has experienced quite a shake-up – you have gone from being a unique and multi-faceted individual to fitting into a socially constructed identity called A Parent. Now you need to navigate between these two identities until you find the right fit for you. It takes time, sleep and a good deal of reflection to figure out who you are as a parent and an individual, so enjoy the journey.
Most important of all, just relax. Today you are not responsible for anybody except yourself. Tomorrow you will appreciate your responsibilities and the pleasures of parenthood so much more keenly because you had a break today.
Featured Image By @ivyandthefox