Friday, March 25, 2011

Sleeping in London

Big Ben, Kids!

I've crossed the pond*.

(*please see below for american translations)


Before the guilt of my decision comes slamming down I will say this first. 

I have had constant companions, wee yins by my side, attached to my hip, and glommed to my front, for the past 6 1/2 years.  I have cross-country road tripped with our bairns, travelled by planes and autos, been delayed for hours in dirty airports, and taken toilet stops for potty-training little ones in shady gas stations with a single light bulb swaying precariously above a dark shunkie.

A sunny day out with my sister,
the Scotsman and the sleeping babe
Haven't I earned one teeny, weeny trip to see my newly arrived, precious bundle of a niece?  A sweet baby girl who just happens to live in North London with my sister and Scottish brother-in-law?  Och-aye.

And so I spent the majority of last week battling the guilt of abandoning my kids for two weeks for the excitement of exploring an amazing city with my sister.  Granted, in the years since my first was born, I have only traveled away from them twice, each for three nights.  So after the thrill of purchasing my airline tickets, updating my passport and shopping only for essential items from The Buckle, the reality of what I was about to do sunk in.

I was not going to see my kiddos for 16 days and nights.  No bedtime stories, goodnight kisses, hugs to heal a hurt, help to end a fight, small hand to hold, precious nose to tweak.  I questioned my decision.  Could I really do this?  Would I just become a sobbing, childless mess?  Would I break down at the sight of another child with their mother?  Would holding my niece wrack me with guilt?

Could she be more adorable?
I'll tell you the answer although it doesn't make me sound good.

Yes I could do this.  And, no I'm not a mess.

I have slept through each night of my journey since Saturday night.  I have experienced no jet lag.  I have slept blissfull nights of sleep.  Brilliant nights of sleep.  Gorgeous nights of sleep.  And when my body and mind have had enough sleep, I awake each morning by simply opening my eyes, stretching, and langoriously climbing out of bed, making coffee and then drinking that coffee while it is still hot.

And I've had dinners out, eating at my own pace and leaving when I'm ready.  (My niece is a truly amazing, chill baby who was apparently born to please her parents and make their life easier.)  I'm exploring London by foot and enjoying absolutely every minute of my visit.

But my sister reminds me that it doesn't mean I don't miss or love my kids.  She's right.  I do miss them. Terribly.  In fact, I packed up that part of myself and put it in my internal carry-on until I can return to them.  Otherwise, I probably would be a mess. 

But, to all you moms out there.  It's good to have a break.  You deserve a break.  Even if it's just one night of sleep uninterrupted.  Or a night out with a friend or husband.  I will return home next week from holiday more refreshed then I have been for years.  Ready to jump back into my starring role as mom.

Sleeping, eating and drinking hot coffee is a reminder of the easy, relaxed days before our kid invasion, but it's not a substitute for all the moments since.  All the amazing sweet memories we have made with our brood. Laughing together at Daddy's monkey face, playing Blue 42 tackle, building a lego city, taking our first family hike that ended with loads of crying and a bloody knee, and even the road trips.

So, my guilt is gone.   Because taking time for myself is not a selfish thing.  It is only selfish if it's meant to make me happier in spite of all those I love.  I am happy.  I am content.

       But crikey, the sleep is gorgeous.     

Translations for the Americans 
Pond: the opposite of a stagnant pool of water, the Atlantic Ocean to be precise
Wee yin:  a small person, like a child or just something your brother-in-law calls you and it makes you feel like a small person all young and sweet
Bairns:  small children
Toilet:  as in "Excuse me but where are your bathrooms?"
Shunkie:  Scottish slang for disgusting public toilet
Och-aye:  Scottish for "Right", "Absolutely" Or "Yes, Melissa you really do deserve this trip, it's okay"
Abandoning:  dramatic way to say I'm leaving them with their loving father and doting granparents
The Buckle:  a store you must visit if you love jeans and want a personal shopper
Brilliant/Gorgeous:  An English way to say awesome or cool but sounds way cooler and
less surfer-like
Holiday/Hospital:  Same meaning, just said without the pesky use of "my" or "the"
Kid Invasion:  Not a British saying at all, just an obvious play on the American description of Beetlemania as in the "British Invasion"
Crikey:  A really fun way to say something



  1. So perfectly put! Sleeping in the middle of the living room floor, in your cute Buckle jeans, looks heavenly! I am so happy for you and your visit across the pond! What a great picture of you and the little princess. I think my favorite word that you taught me in this post is "crikey", not sure how to use it yet, but I'll think of something. Love your profile pic, you look gorgeous!

  2. Good for you!! I want to eat that precious little niece up though!!!! I LOOOOOOVE her smile!!!!!!! So glad you're enjoying yourself, and your "other" part of your family. :D

  3. What is this sleep thing to which you are referring?

    I love that picture of you and baby I in her stroller? Can you email me a copy of it. I know your Aunt Linda would love to see it. If you don't, then I'm going to have to whip out my Facebook account when I'm down there next week to show her pictures of everyone :P

    Have a safe trip back. -- Alyssa

  4. Great post! No you are right, we should not feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. Because we are better mom's and wives because of it. Okay - your sisters baby is SOOOO adorable. Have a few more glorious days in London!