Being a parent when your children aren’t there is an odd thing. It happens for me every other weekend and the odd week during the summer; the kids go off to spend time down south with their dad and I’m left to my own devices.
I alternate between a couple of feelings. Always very sad at the prospect of being without my two sidekicks for a few nights, healing almost a bit giddy at the thought of the freedom of being able to leave the house at will, unencumbered by baby wipes and helicopters. And also obviously excited at getting up at a time that doesn’t constitute the middle of the night for people in their early twenties.
At the start of my single parenthood I didn’t do too much with my time off. I’d clean the house, go to the gym, do the weekly shop. But as time has gone on I’ve realised how important this me time is to my happiness. For one, being in the house alone without the kids feels downright weird and a little bit lonely and for another it’s GOOD to get out and have the experiences I may have missed out on by having kids so young.
Which is why I’ve started travelling a bit more. In the last year I’ve seen Paris, Amsterdam and Paxos (heart eye emoji) and then I spent time in New York last month seeing friends for my birthday.
And when a work opportunity arose in NYC and I realise I had a childless week to fill I thought why the hell not? and grabbed myself a last minute flight back out to the big apple.
Being out here again has been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve spent a lot of time with my best friend Kirsty (a buddy who lets you share her bed is a buddy for life), hung out with people I met the last time I was here and made new friends. We’ve spent most of our time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and I truly love this place. Between the relaxed vibe, restaurants, creative people and BEAUTIFUL SUNSHINE I could definitely see myself being here. Until October and for the whole period of Winter (minus 18? I don’t think so) but, whatever.
I love the distance from home I get by being away. And spending time with someone who knows me as well as Kirsty does is worth its weight in gold; we talk about life, love, the universe (and a lot of sex apparently?). Life clarity at its finest – I always come away feeling more confident about my next steps in life and inspired for my work and goals.
Being a single parent is not anyone’s ideal situation. But I feel beyond blessed (#BLESSED – vom – but you know what I mean) that I can take these times to myself to work at being the best version of myself, to sleep and to enjoy my time without the kids. I miss them like an arm of course but I know that will make me a better parent when I’m back in the country (and, erm, over the jet lag).