This week I have mainly been… date nighting in Fermanagh!

Don’t you just love Wowcher and Groupon? If it wasn’t for them, I doubt I’d ever get to go anywhere. You can’t deny someone a bargain stay after all! We booked a deal to stay at Lusty Beg Island about four months ago then, did our usual and forgot about it. It was only when we received the ‘warning, your voucher is due to expire’ email did we finally get our arses in gear and book it. Booking is the easy bit, finding someone to look after three, mental boys for the night is the hard bit. As usual, eldest and middle had to be split up in order for us to sell the idea of babysitting them for a night. Once anyone has looked after them both together and, witnessed the obligatory 6pm-8pm battering session, they refuse to do it ever again. Eldest was packed off to my sister on the promise of a ‘sleepover’ with his cousin and the other two stayed with nanna. Freedom beckoned. But first, a cheeky Nando’s because, why not?

We arrived at 3 pm, drove the car onto a little ferry and, were transported to the most beautiful little island. So picturesque. After checking in and obtaining our key, we went to explore our room. It was perfect, even if it only had a shower and no bath. Is it a mum thing to want to have a bath in peace once you get away from your sprogs or, just a Grace thing? I’d no sooner sat on the bed when I received a Whatsapp from my sister advising that eldest had been awarded ‘star of the week’ at school. I burst into tears. He has wanted to get star of the week ever since he started school. Every week he has become increasingly frustrated when he hasn’t. “Maybe you would get star of the week if you refrained from glueing your artwork to your face?” I helpfully offered last week. Either something clicked or, she is just running out of children to award it to but, he did it! Trust this to happen the one day I don’t pick him up from school. I know how excited he would have been to tell me. Mum guilt began to set in. Only one thing for it- wine! After a few glasses, the guilt subsided. I could always make it up to him the next day. Off we went to play a game of pool in the hotel’s game room. After a few vinos, the game was rather one-sided I’m ashamed to admit.

We had the most amazing steak and dauphinoise potatoes for dinner, overlooking the lough. Perfectly relaxing. Next, we headed back to our room for a few more drinks (yes, we are that broke these days). Come 10pm the two of us were royally merry. “Let’s go to the bar and ask if they will make me a big bowl of dauphinoise potatoes” I demanded. “At this time?” hubby replied. “Yes at this time! When a girl want’s potatoes, she wants potatoes! Failing that surely they will have Tayto”. Begrudgingly, hubby retrieved his coat. We entered the bar, approached the barman and, asked for some potatoes. “Um, the kitchen closed at 8pm” he responded dumbfounded. “We have Tayto though”. Some people just get it. Tayto in hand, we found a table. It appeared we were the only ones there. That is, until I heard a lot of giggling and four girls came hurtling around the corner. They then joined our table. We got chatting and,  they were all fellow mummies and fellow mum’s on tour. I shared my Tayto and they shared their fishbowl gin. Hubby sat there quite obediently whilst not just one, but, five women proceeded to talk utter shit to him. I have never drunk gin before and, now I know why!

Waking up the next morning to check my phone, I was confronted with a smashed screen. “What the? When did I do that?” I panickedly asked hubby. “I have no idea, I don’t even know what time we came back to the room at” he replied. “You may also check if you have your engagement and wedding ring as I vaguely remember trying to stay awake whilst you repeatedly emphasised how your finger has got fat this week and they no longer fit” he added. I had been thinking that all week in fairness. I leapt up to begin the search. No wedding ring. Gin 1, Grace 0. Eldest may have been bestowed star of the week’ but his mum has been titled ‘twat of the week’. Middle has also disowned me upon returning as my phone is ‘broken’. All my worries that he loves my phone more than me, have just been proven. Never again (until next time I get some freedom).

Star of the week- this would happen the one day I don’t collect him from school!

This week I have mainly been….. going on a date night and basically sleeping through it!

I don’t know how it happened but, somehow I turned thirty-three on Wednesday. I feel like this is the perfect stage to begin lying and knocking a few years off myself. So, from now on, I am thirty years old (forever). I feel much better now I’ve made that decision.

When hubby asked me last week what I would like for my birthday, I asked for one thing and one thing only (no, not that- please!). What I asked for was a meal in peace. A meal that I didn’t have to prepare and cook myself, a meal that wasn’t interrupted numerous times by a crying baby or, middle and eldest battering each other, a meal that someone else was responsible for tidying up after and, most importantly, a meal that I got to eat whilst still hot! That was the only thing in the whole world I could think of that I didn’t just want but, needed. How times have changed! I also told him that I wanted no part in arranging childcare or anything and, he would have to do it all. Men can plan things without thinking about the logistics of who actually cares for your children whilst you do what they’ve planned.

He managed to rope his two sisters into looking after them (thank you E and S). We debated going hardcore and heading into Belfast. On the day in question, however, we had been up all night with two coughing, barfing kids. So we decided to head down the road instead for an Indian meal and some drinks after. Two hours before freedom and, I was having a breakdown. So many things to organise and do. Make them dinner, PJ’s left out, baby changed, bottles made in advance and, I somehow had to find the time to look presentable. I got halfway through my to-do list and was questioning if free time is even worth it. When someone is doing you a huge favour, you want to make life easier for them in any way that you can.  I started to get the dreaded ‘mum guilt’ also. What if one of them was sick again? How would they react to someone else putting them to bed? What if baby missed me?

We headed out at 7 pm for our meal after I had staged a huge hissy fit over having nothing to wear (this wasn’t even dramatic, I literally have nothing to wear). We got to our table and, I suddenly realised I had nothing to talk to him about bar our children. Nothing! All our conversations revolve around them and their day. It’s almost like we have lost ourselves in the daily stress fest. But, sometimes you need to be shown that so that you can work to amend it. Free time can highlight many things.  In the end hubby ate so much that he felt ill the rest of the night. He also started drifting off at the bar at 10 pm. I wasn’t for going home as I knew the kids were settled and asleep. I ordered a cocktail. Then I started to feel sleepy. Come 11 pm we were debating whether we should move tables as one had a sofa and we could maybe go a nap. “Should we just go home? I’m wrecked” hubby begged. “But it’s freedom!” I implored. “Freedom is all well and good when you are rested and up for it, I just want to go to bed” he replied. I thought for a second then, had to concur. I was royally knackered and no amount of Red Bull would ever fix it! Kids! Maybe next time we get a night out, we can just nap. Forget date night, nap night is the future!

When you have children their every need and want consumes you. You get so used to being ‘mummy’ that you can lose you. I do everything for my kids and, enjoy doing so. But, somehow I have to get ‘Grace’ back. I’m not quite sure how I go about that. But, I’m working on it. Does anyone else feel this way or is it just me?