Between the time they were born and time they were 5, I took one night away from my twins. This was a night in hospital when they were 2, to recover from a c-section repair operation. I found the experience really difficult, and missed them so much that I had no desire for time off from them again.
Their father, Adam had had a total of 6 months away from them in their first 3 years, as I took the twins to stay with my mother in the UK for long periods of time. On top of this, he had had work weekends away. I had no jealousy or desire to do the same. I loved being with my kids, and missed them after just a few hours apart, however, from about 4.5 years I had started to feel a bit energetically ‘ground down’ and ‘running on empty’, in terms of what I had to offer them. Having two first babies at 27 was a full on life-changer, I wasn’t the same Hannah as before they were around.
I booked 16 days away in France for in 6 months time. I started to feel panicky. I hadn’t planned it to be so long, but a combination of factors meant it ended up being 21 days. I envisioned missing them like I did after a few hours for the entire duration, but on the other hand, the idea of getting up whenever I felt like it, making a cup of tea and seeing to myself first for the first time in 5 years, felt exciting and attractive. I planned to take long baths, long runs and go out for dinner without worrying what time I would be home.
The fact that every day (except the time of that operation) they had been the first thought on my mind in the morning. What were they going to eat that day, do, what other things did I need to do for them, etc. I felt bound-down structuring my day around their routine, everyday. Oh course this probably sounds selfish, I felt selfish to the point I wouldn’t admit these feelings to myself. There was slight resentment when Adam went on his latest work trip to Sicily. Although I didn’t admit it, it was time for me to take a break. Of course, many mothers with many more children than me don’t have the opportunity for such a break (I was lucky that this chance came about through a combination of factors) but many parents don’t have access to many things, such as nutritious food, it doesn’t mean it is not desirable for the welfare of everyone involved. Many people have to be involuntarily apart from their children, like I was for the operation, and that’s a different matter and feeling altogether, but ‘mummy burnout’ is now something I recognise, which I didn’t before this break. (more…)