The importance of having time away from your child

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In a month or so, Ashleigh and I are going away to see a band that we both love. We’ll be spending the weekend away from Grayson, and although we miss him when we’re away – it’s so important as a parent to have time away from your children to remember who you are.

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t do it often. The longest we’ve had away from Grayson was 4 days for our honeymoon (and we both agreed we would have been happy with 1 day less). However, getting to spend time together without your child means that you have to remember who you were before you were a parent.

Before we moved away to Liverpool (long before Grayson, and even before we became “official”), Ashleigh and I would enjoy a drink or two, normally at our (then) local pub in Norwich. We’d play pool, lose money on the slot machines, and drink copious amounts of wine, vodka and Red Bull.

If we couldn’t be bothered to get ready to go out, we’d stay in, open the wine and chocolates and shoot people on the Xbox, or just curl up and watch a movie. Hell, we’d look forward to watching Guy Martin on Channel 4 just to hear him say “Eeeehhhh, proper grafter, him, proper grafter!”

These are the things that made us, us.

Whilst we’ve tried so hard to remain “us” since Grayson came along, your lifestyle does change – it’s impossible for it not to. The Xbox hasn’t been plugged in since we moved, and we’ve still got a whole bottle of Vodka in the freezer from New Years eve. Unheard of, in days gone by. But we made an agreement, that once Grayson was here, we would still make time to be us, to let our hair down every now and again.

We first left Grayson alone to go to a gig up in Liverpool – we had free tickets to see Taylor Swift in Manchester, so G’s nanny very kindly travelled up to see us, and kept an eye on him whilst we went out for a few hours. We didn’t stay away for the evening, it was just a few hours. A few hours that felt like a lifetime for us – the first time away from your young baby is not much fun – and whilst we had a good time, we couldn’t wait to get home to see him. We were also absolutely shattered, so a night past 11pm was just too much! But we got time together, we had a meal, we walked to the gig and talked about stuff, we laughed, we became us again. More importantly, Grayson got his first taste of an evening without Mum and Dad nursing him.

Now, when we get an offer for a night out, or the chance to see a band play somewhere, we grab it. We’re so lucky to have such amazing family around us, Grayson has his Nanny come over and look after him whilst we become us again. If we go away, it’s now for 2 nights, at most. It’s two nights where we can (importantly) catch up on sleep! But more importantly, we can enjoy each others company. Our last trip away was to London for Ashleighs birthday. We had a meal out, and ambled our way back from Covent Garden to Tower Bridge where we were staying, via a few bars, where we just chilled, enjoyed some nice wine and food, and, I’ll be totally honest, looked through pictures of Grayson from when he was born, up until the most recent pictures we had on our phones.

Yup – that’s normally how the nights go – we talk about Grayson, and things we can do together as a family – things he would like, and look back at all the memories we have made together. We’re off to a gig in a few weeks for 2 nights away, and whilst we will become us again for that time, we’ll both be longing to get back home and cuddle our boy.

Because, of course, “us”, is three, now – we could never imagine our lives without Grayson. But as parents, you have to remember that you started as a couple, and it’s important that you get that time together now.

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