I drove away from our house on Friday evening, with an excited seven-year-old in the back seat. Two disconsolate little faces watched us leave. One was still flushed from the "I want to go to Nana's house, too!" tears he'd shed.
Nana is mostly couch-bound with a broken ankle, and is precarious on crutches. Two-year-old twins are not a safe (or restful) addition to her household at present. My stepdad is doing a wonderful job of looking after her, but I figured he could use a break.
And quite frankly, so could I. I love my kids dearly, but the twins in particular are endless. A twinless weekend promised chatting, sleep-ins and sewing, and that's exactly what I got. It was delightful.
I left the twins in hubby's capable hands, so I felt no guilt as I drove away. I've seen people refer to the dad looking after the kids as "babysitting". It's not babysitting. It's parenting.
I prepared Finn and Vieve ahead of time with explanations of where I was going, why, and for how long. It always helps if they know what's happening. Xander and I were going to Nana's house for two days. Daddy would stay home with them. Mummy and Xander would be home in two days. Where's Mummy going? Nana's house, and what are you doing? Staying home with "just Daddy and Finny and me and Daddy and Finny". Yes.
Admittedly, Finn woke on Saturday morning with howls of "Where Mummy go? Where Mummy go?" but he settled with a reminder that I was at Nana's house, and would be back the next. The judicious application of pancakes helped, too.
Presumably seeking reassurance, he kept asking the same questions throughout the day: "Where Mummy go? Why go Nana's house? Why Nana got sore leg? Where Mummy go?".
Hubby patiently and repeatedly answered Finn's questions. He didn't seem upset; it seemed as though he was just checking that the answers hadn't changed.
Interestingly, the twins slept much better than usual on the nights I was away. On Sunday morning, Finn woke up hubby by wandering into our room and asking "Is Mummy in here now?"
Our arrival home was greeted with squeals of delight and bounces of joy. The twins were pretty happy about it, too. A weekend away has definitely revitalised me and given me new energy.
At what age do you think your kids can cope without you for a few days? Do you enjoy having a break, or do you worry about them?
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