My partner has gone away for a few days. So has my daughter. I love them both very much, but I’ll admit that I’m looking forward to a few days peace and quiet.
It makes me feel guilty. I’m lucky enough to have this amazing family; loads of people would do anything for that. So why do I find myself desperate to escape from them once in a while?
With my daughter, I guess it’s time. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything. I get up extra early so I can spend some time with her before work. I rush home from work totally shattered, dying for a chance to put my feet up, and she’s there as soon as I get in: “Mummy, will you play with me? Mummy, I want to go to the park. Mummy, I’m hungry.” When it’s bedtime, I put her to bed, and it’s “Mummy, can I have another story? A drink? Another cuddle? I’m not tired. I can’t sleep.” And my personal favourite: “Mummy, my dolly can’t sleep because she hasn’t got a dressing gown!” Just the thought of being able to get up when I want, being able to sit down for a few minutes without being used as a trampoline, watching a film in the evening without pressing pause every few minutes, the very thought is bliss.
With my partner, it’s those things that get to you whenever you spend lots of time with the same person. Usually the things that at first, you find cute. Then after you’ve been together for a while, they become little traits you put up with. Eventually, usually after a bad week at work, they become irritating habits that make you want to rip off your head. I don’t feel too bad saying that, because we all have them. I know that my habit of leaving things in carrier bags dotted around the house drives my partner round the twist, and he could definitely live without me leaving veggies in the fridge still wrapped in plastic to slowly turn to mush. And it’s not just partners is it? When anyone stays with me for a while, in the end their idiosyncrasies drive me to distraction. I have a relative I adore, but who insists on picking her nails when she watches TV. I may have to attack her with a blunt object if she keeps it up.
So when they are going away like this, I look forward to it. I plan my evenings; instead of coming home and just fielding the madness, I know exactly what I’m going to do every night. Tonight it’s writing my blog, watching Michael McIntyre, and eating Ben and Jerry’s straight out of the tub.
Despite the irritations, I know just how much I’ll miss them. They’ve been away oh, about seven hours so far, and I’m starting to get that little tug in my heart. I rang my daughter to say goodnight, and hearing her voice made me want to drive the 300 mile trip and cuddle her. I spoke to my partner, and got quite teary just knowing he is so far away.
P!nk does a great song about it, that feeling of being desperate to have some time on your own but the crippling loneliness that comes with it. (Leave me alone [I’m lonely] if you fancy a listen.)
The one huge advantage of people you care about being away for a bit, is it makes you realise just how much you really do care about them. I tell you, if your kids are turning you into a screaming banshee, send them to stay with friends for a few days. They’ll have a great time and you will be desperate to get them home. Suddenly, being woken up by a little wriggling girl at 6am will be something you’ll be counting down the minutes to. And that habit of your partners that made you want to commit homicide? It’ll be back to being cute in no time.