My child-free weekend

Posted Monday 12th August 2013   By Ericka Waller

So, for his 40th birthday present, the husband and I spent our first EVER night away from our three children. We went on a ‘spa break‘, just up the road from the in-laws, who had kindly offered to have all three girls for us.

I remember praying for a night away from my children. Just one measly night. I imagined the total bliss of not having to get up at 2am to make drinks, check for spiders or make space in my bed for a child to kick me.

I imagined sleeping-in until 10AM, then spending the day reading trashy magazines and eating toast and jam that I did not have to share with anyone.

And finally that day had arrived. We were child-free for 24 hours in a perfect setting. Beautiful gardens. Thick luxurious carpets. Polite staff who carried our bags and called us Sir and Madam, not ‘Poo head mum’ and ‘Poo head dad’.

We were handed snow white robes of the finest toweling, and snow white slippers to go with them.

“I’m not walking round in that” the husband said. “I’ll look like I’ve had a breakdown.”
“Shush!” I hissed, pointing to all the people around us, sporting their robes and slippers. “Shut up and put it on. It’s relaxing.”

As per the schedule I had meticulously booked, we were soon naked save for some disposable pants (which bought back fond memories of coming home from hospital) and having seaweed rubbed all over us.

Relax” said my therapist. “Clear your mind.”

The husband obliged immediately by falling asleep and snoring loudly to the sound of the Dolphin CD in the background.

I could not switch off though. I had prayed for this moment, but now it had arrived, it felt entirely wrong to be lying naked in the semi-darkness in the middle of the day with someone rubbing my wobbly thighs with mud. I felt lost and all at sea. I felt… guilty.

So I did what I always do when I spend time away from my children.

I talked about them.


I told my (disinterested) therapist their names, ages, food preferences, sleeping habits, first words and favourite toys.

The more she buffed and rubbed and tried desperately to make me fall asleep, the more I talked. And the more I talked about them, the more I missed my children.

It was the longest 55 minutes of my life.

The husband woke up to the sound of two small chimes being ‘dinged together’ next to his head.

“Ah, that was lovely” he said, slipping his robe back on. “I’m really getting into this. Let’s go and sit somewhere in our slippers and eat toast.”

“Get dressed” I told him. “I want to go home.”