Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Time for Mums to Step Out

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Time for Mums to Step Out

Article excerpt

A FEW years ago I had never been away from my children for more than one night, but in the last couple of years I have had to come to terms with the concept of "shared care".

To me this is not the way I believe families are supposed to raise children, but what choice do I have? I have to go up to three days without seeing them and there's nothing I can do about it.

I feel guilty for not being there.

While their tantrums, fighting and the trail of mess they leave behind are reasons to need some peace and quiet, after a couple of hours I'm all recharged and want them to come home.

God help me when they grow up and leave home for good.

I have become so used to living in a house full of activity that being busy is all I know.

Truth be told, I think keeping busy is simply my way of fixing my "mother guilt".

When they're not home, I find more ways to keep myself occupied. Kid-free weekends involve cleaning, grocery shopping, bulk cooking and sorting out the house for when they return.

Saturday nights typically involve exhaustion, a movie, wine and my couch. Now, I have two significantly younger (and child-free) sisters who have been pestering me for months to go out and party with them.

To them, sitting at home on a Saturday night by oneself is not normal.

Since having children, my nights out have become few and far between.

I'd much rather be up early playing with my kids than nursing a hangover or suffering self-inflicted sleep deprivation.

And, of course, my "mother guilt" tells me I'm far too old and responsible for such shenanigans.

But last weekend I was kid-free and my sisters weren't taking no for an answer.

Finally they had convinced me to go out with them and their friends, most of whom were at least 10 years my junior so right away I was feeling like the odd one out.

I squeezed into a borrowed party dress (because let's face it, as a mum I don't party let alone own a dress specifically designed for one), then trowelled on some make-up in a bid to hide my 30-something-year-old laugh lines. …

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