Sunday evening I stayed in a central London hotel, all by myself. Yes, that’s right…all by myself!
I admit that my stay was purely for work reasons. I had an early start the next day and didn’t want to be contending with Olympics travel chaos. But despite the work agenda, the overnight stay turned out to be a revelation and something that all mums should do from time to time!
I don’t want to be playing on the world’s smallest violin, but sometimes I desperately crave some ‘me’ time. I think I’m a bit of an introvert. While I love being around friends and family, and of course having a crazy three year old running around, I have always needed some quiet time to myself. This is nowadays out of the question as my husband and I both work from home, so even when Little I is at preschool or with family, very often my husband is still there.
Sometimes when I am in desperate need of some solitude I will shut myself away on an evening in my ‘library’, which is our box bedroom that I have filled with my books and a comfy reading chair. It really is my sanctuary, but I always feel a bit anti-social when I hideaway there and so try not to make a habit of it.
I can’t lie; I really was a little bit excited about staying in a hotel for the night on my own. When I arrived in my hotel room it felt eerily quiet and so of course the first thing I did was to call home! Once I’d done that I felt better and turned the TV on for a bit of background noise. Being able to select the channel I wanted to watch without cries for Peppa Pig or Sky Sports was really quite a treat. Just being able to watch the news and absorb what was being said was in itself a novelty!
Sadly there was no bath which was a shame as I’d packed a few bath goodies, but after a hot shower I got into my PJs and relaxed. I’d bought a magazine, chocolate, and what hotel stay would be complete without a copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (actually I am on the second one!).
Time passes so much more slowly when there are no little people about, or no jobs to be done. Usually I find once Little I is in bed, the evenings fly by as I rush around trying to get pieces of work finished or household jobs done, as well as catch-up on a bit of TV with hubby. For once I felt like I had a ‘proper’ evening. I had planned for an early night but that didn’t really happen. I didn’t want the evening to come to an end!
The next morning I had set my alarm for an hour before I needed to check out, but that turned out to be an extremely generous amount of time. This part was the true revelation for me. I had forgotten what it is like to get up in the morning without a little person to get ready. Our mornings at home typically consist of me chasing a stark naked three-year-old around the house, or all hell breaking loose because she wants to wear her best party dress to preschool. But in my hotel room it was bliss, sipping cups of tea and eating a leisurely breakfast while reading the complimentary paper and watching the morning news. Our Sunday mornings used to be like that, a long time ago!
Sometimes I daydream how wonderful it would be to have a place to escape to; a Carrie Bradshaw-like apartment, for just a few hours each week, where I could write the book that I so desperately want to. Do other mums dream this? I’m sure if it came to it I would never actually go, but it’s just a little daydream of mine.
I have to say though, hand-on-heart, the best part of being away for the night was the welcome that I received from Little I the following morning. She was so ecstatic to see me, and of course I was equally excited to see her. I’d saved her a small packet of complimentary biscuits from my hotel room, which in her eyes was the best present ever. As a treat I let her have them for breakfast and we cuddled on the sofa together while she ate them and chatted to me about my trip to London. Sometimes it’s really good to be reminded of what you have.