Cast your mind back to the dim and distant, pre-child, past. To an era where time was your own, you could laze in bed all day, watch back-to-back box sets, wander on down to the pub for Sunday lunch. Remember it? Then children came along. Which was amazing. Well most of the time. But all that time you used to have totally disappeared.
I remember this hitting Hubs and me when L was about 10 months old. We were working hard Monday to Friday, then instead of relaxing at the weekend we were parenting. Which, despite L being a very chilled out baby, was no walk in the park. After a particularly knackering week Hubs turned to me and said “I need a me day, we can’t carry on like this”. I was gutted. He regretted our baby, he didn’t want to spend time with his wife and daughter.
Then he explained that he needed time off from work, but also from running round after a crawling baby, not because he didn’t love us or want to spend time with us, but because he needed some downtime. Once I got over my shock it made sense. And so Franglaise Family adopted “me days”.
This is how it works for us – every weekend one of us has a me day which consists of not walking the dog, not dealing with our daughters, not doing any chores or anything on the to do list. Whoever’s me day it is can do what he/she wants without raising an eyebrow from the other one. My recent me days have consisted of a day watching Downton Abbey episodes with my cousin and eating junk food whilst putting the world to rights; another day saw me lying on the sofa and reading a fab book all day (by a favourite author – Diane Chamberlain); another me day had me shopping in central London followed by a long, leisurely pub lunch with friends.
So what happens when it’s not your me day? Well, that’s a bit tougher but not necessarily less fun. You get to have some quality time with the kids. In general we try and take them out of the house to leave the one relaxing in peace and quiet. In the past I have taken L on the London Eye and to the nearby Sealife Aquarium (we have a Merlin pass for these attractions so entry is “free”), I recently took L and C to the cinema, and Hubs has taken them to Richmond Park and Kew Gardens while he’s been on duty.
What it means is that once every two weeks we get a real day off, time to ourselves to relax and recharge our batteries which truly is priceless. Then the other week we get to spend quality time with our daughters, to take them out and just really enjoy spending time together.
I can’t recommend this system enough, especially as absence makes the heart go fonder, so when you are reunited with the children at the end of the day it’s just the best feeling