Mike and I spent last week in Westfield Greater London as a treat for Mikes birthday, it was fantastic! My parents are doting Grandparents to Jack and so once a month they have Jack at the weekend so Mike and I can be ‘Mike and I’ again and we refrain (or try our best) not to talk about nappies, sleep, routines etc etc. It is about recapturing the essence of what makes us a couple. Granted it isn’t always easy to be spontaneous on a particular day and time but when you do get that time it is all the more special. It doesn’t mean we love our baby boy any less, it just means that once a month we are grown ups again.
The first nine months of Jacks life we grappled with becoming new parents, getting to know Jack and vice versa. A new little person came to live with us and there were some adjustments to living arrangements! But by 10 months we seemed to have ironed out the creases and Mike and I found OUR rhythm for looking after a baby. That is the most important thing, it is our way of doing things and what works for us wouldn’t necessarily work for someone else.
On a weekly basis we have a ‘night’ each, so one night I ‘check out’ at 6.15pm and Mike puts Jack to bed and I can do whatever I want, the same goes for Mike. We tend to come together again at about 9pm to have cuddles and talk about our day. For those few hours I might go to bed and read a book, watch some tv or go out with friends etc. It is a weekly breather from routine. We both feel strongly that Jack needs a routine in his life so with only very odd exception we follow our plan for our little boy without deviation, that one night allows for a little refreshing adult change.
Once a month we have a ‘day’ each, where each of us heads off at about 11am and returns about 6pm. The ‘day’ could be going to the flicks, going shopping, having a total duvet fest in the bedroom or having a spa day. The point is, it is YOUR day and for that one day you can be totally selfish with it. Mike and Jack have extra bonding time and again it alleviates any stress that has built up.
Once a month there is date night, all day Saturday, overnight and Sunday morning, a couples retreat and it is heaven. A guaranteed nights sleep! And of course we always wake up excited to know that Jack will be home for cuddles and playing.
Many couples and individuals run themselves into the ground because they feel guilty about taking time out for themselves. It causes stress, tiredness and resentment so I no longer feel guilty about curling up and taking some me time once a week, it is important for myself, my relationship and my son. A happy content parent has a positive effect on their child and so that essential oils bath that you have been meaning to take but keep putting off is actually going to help everyone under your roof not hinder them!
The sun was shining down on us on Saturday, we checked into the Holiday Inn at Westfield (http://www.hilondonstratford.co.uk/) and were instantly delighted, it was clean and bright, the staff were super friendly and even wished Mike a ‘happy birthday’ on arrival. Our room had the most fantastic view of the city and the Olympic park and at night monuments and buildings lit up and marked the promise of a magical weekend. Chocolates on a slate were a bonus addition – there is something about slate that makes chocolate just that little bit more indulgent, like a burger served on a wooden chopping board…..
The shopping mall was buzzing with sounds, excitement and wonderful smells. I found a lovely perfume shop that sold Arabian perfumes (http://www.arabianoud.co.uk/flash.php?usersessid=qfbogl8cuo23h91rhu8nu40dp6) and the scents were incredible. Having grown up in Saudi Arabia the sweet perfumes and the ornate bottles made me twinkle as I was reminded of my childhood home. Mike and I enjoyed the International food court for dinner, sadly I couldn’t make it to every food outlet although I would have given the time, money or eating capacity! I opted for peking duck, pancakes, spring onions and prawn toasts, washed down the a refreshing glass of beer. Heavenly :)
We got back to the room late, sank into a large squishy bed and watched tv much later than our usual 10pm bedtime would normally allow. A slumber party with my best friend. After a fantastic nights sleep we returned home to see our very happy little boy for the rest of the weekend feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world again!