I always knew parenthood would be a full-time job. I expected it to take over my life and expand out into the hours, days, weeks and years to squeeze my own existence into a tiny little percentage of what occupies my time.
But never is it more so apparent just how all-consuming being a mum is than following a break from life with a baby.
I just spent a short weekend in Dorset with two of my closest friends. I left TJ in the capable hands of his dad, well, after providing a short briefing on food, clothing and possible activities to help them fill the less than 48 hours before I returned.
With an overnight bag slung over my shoulder, which was largely stuffed with dry shampoo and Prosecco, I headed off for a couple of days of guilt-free self-indulgence, a lie in, a bit of potty mouthed banter and laughing at things other than baby bum wind. It was a glimpse back in time to how I used to spend my days – and what non-parents do with their time.
It had been a tricky morning of a few tantrums and tears so a little wave of relief washed over me as I settled in my friend’s car for the journey to the seaside. However, it didn’t take long before it felt weird being away from TJ and to just have to think of myself for a change.
I went to places without having to wrestle a baby in or out of a car seat. I took a chic little handbag with me instead of the usual overstuffed nappy bag. I didn’t have to think about negotiating a pram on the route to wherever we went. I didn’t have to clock watch for naps or bedtime.
I did fall into a couple of clichéd traps. I found myself bending one too many conversations around to TJ for a random anecdote. After a few glasses of wine, I whipped my phone out and my friends kindly indulged me as I showed them some recent photos of TJ. I messaged TJ’s Dad to ask what the code brown situation was.
I also painfully missed my little man. Being a mum is a relentless, never-ending, repetitive, tiresome life. On the long, rainy, cold days, I dream of a little escapism – usually involving the friendship and wine which made up this weekend. But, never has a truer word been said that the grass is always greener on the other side.
As soon as I got home, I scooped up TJ for a big cuddle and he wriggled and shrieked with joy, which made it clear he had missed me too. It was bliss and I realised how lucky I am to have this little life in my hands and an entertaining future ahead of us.
Of course, this feeling lasted a little while only TJ’s tiredness caught up with him and I longed for the wine once again. Babies – can’t live (your old life) with them, can’t live without them.
Jude is a 30-something mum-of-one who charts her adventures as a single parent while juggling her kid with a career. There’s no sugar-coating the truth with Jude – she tells it as she sees it, hears it, lives it and experiences it. But, this isn’t a how-to guide to parenting – sometimes, it’s quite the opposite! Jude isn’t ashamed to admit to her own flaws whether that’s in raising her son or navigating the ups and downs of relationships. She hopes to show other parents out there – single or otherwise – that they are not alone with the tantrums, tears and all that goes with it. But, above all, Jude wants to show what a fabulous experience parenting is – for just when we all need that reminder of why we signed up to the mum/dad role in the first place!