This week global singing sensation Adele confessed she gives herself one afternoon a week away from her child, just to put herself first.
She said she found it helped her combat her postnatal depression and that it makes her feel better than if she gave up all her time to parenting.
I’d like to say thank you to Adele. She doesn’t speak much about her private life and it feels to good to hear someone as famous as her admit that being a parent is not all cuddles and cuteness.
I met an old school friend, who doesn’t have children of her own, at a party recently and she asked me how I was finding, “Motherhood”.
“I am enjoying it,” I replied, “but it can be a bit more lonely than I expected.”
“Lonely?!”, she exclaimed. And immediately turned to another friend of ours, who also has children, and asked, “Do you find it lonely?”, as though I had just said something quite unfathomable which she was unable to comprehend.
Not many people say it out loud when you ask them about parenthood. I suppose it makes sense that they would focus on the positives, but among the tiredness and the mess and the chaos, it can be one of those things that sneaks up on you and hits you hard.
At home all day with a person who demands everything from you, but can offer very little conversation in return… every now and then I have a day where I feel like the princess trapped in the tower and my daughter is the wicked witch.
So this week I am also saying thank you to my family. When Him Indoors had to go on a business trip to Bristol and said I could stay in the hotel too, they babysat.
When the waitress at the restaurant brought our bottle of fizz to the table she asked if it was a special occasion. “It’s the first night we have left our daughter overnight,” I told her. “She’s one.”
We didn’t stay out that late but we did go on to a bar and posed for silly photos and ate cheesy chips.
I wasn’t glad to be free of my daughter, but, because I knew she was safe and we would see her soon, I found I didn’t really miss her that much.
For the first time I forgot the duty of being a parent. I thought of my daughter not as a dependent, but as a person who, actually, I quite enjoy spending time with.
And I realised that becoming a mother has not changed me. I am still myself, just with a parental responsibility.
In the morning He went off to his meeting and I had a lie in and a long shower.
I went for a walk around the harbour in the morning mist and just enjoyed being able to walk at my own pace and take notice of my surroundings.
I went to a cafe and drank hot coffee and ate breakfast slowly and read a whole chapter-and-a-half of the book I began when I was still pregnant.
When I passed people pushing buggies I smiled at them. I felt like I had a secret. I was a parent and nobody knew, because I am still a person too.
And when I saw my daughter later that morning and gave her a kiss I definitely appreciated her even more.
I may not have the luxury of being able to leave my daughter once a week. But every week I make time to write down my own thoughts, just to remind myself that I still have them.
My child means everything to me. But she is not everything in my life. And it doesn’t make me any less of a parent to say that.