Just lately, I’ve felt too much of a ‘Dad’ and not enough of a ‘Husband’. My wife works long stressful hours while I run the home as a housedad, and as a result, our relationship has suffered. I’m not talking about the logistical partnership – we work as a team, each of us knowing what’s expected of the other to make sure the bills are paid and our children are healthy and happy.
No, I’m talking about the intimate side: the connection. I love my wife dearly, but I miss her, because our children are omni-present. Their needs always come first, which inevitably means our desire for each other comes last, or vanishes altogether.
I wanted to correct that imbalance and create a weekend without that was just about me and her. A total sabbatical from our children.
Unfortunately, we’re not lucky enough to live near our parents who might willingly take on the role of looking after our charges for two whole days and a night. We can’t afford childcare, so that option wasn’t open to us, either.
But what we are blessed with are neighbours who have become very close friends, and thus the seeds were sown for a Totally Childfree Weekend Away.
The last time we did this was nearly four years ago, when our eldest (my stepdaughter) was six, our oldest son was three and the youngest was just a few months old. Friends of mine stepped into the breach and we had an amazing weekend together in Paris.
But there has been nothing since. The occasional night out has been great, but we needed some time away where we could enjoy an evening of total debauchery without worrying about paying the price via requests for breakfast etc the following morning.
Enter Stage Left, Amy and Mark – and a touch of serendipity.
Amy and Mark don’t have kids of their own yet, and wondered over dinner one night what the reality might be if they were to take the plunge.
‘Have ours for a weekend,’ I said, mischievously.
Well, what’s the point of having guinea pigs if you can’t hire them out for experiments every once in a while?
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the deal was struck, and our seven and four year-old sons (their sister was with her dad for the weekend) were left in the capable hands of our brilliant neighbours while we headed off to Bath (more of which in a later post) to fill our romantic boots.
Did we miss them? More to the point, did they miss us? And even more pertinent, how did Amy and Mark get on as Possible Parents To Be?
Judge for yourself by scrolling through the pictures above….
So, what was the verdict?
Well, from our point of view, we missed the kids, of course we did, but Amy and Mark did far more with them than we ever do.
The kids’ verdict was quite simply: ‘When are Mark and Amy coming back?’
And Amy and Mark’s? ‘Great fun…but can you leave it a year before you ask us again!’