I’m just going to say it. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a parent. No, I’m not trying to get rid of my kids. And I don’t mean I wish I’d never become a parent, or that I don’t want to be one ever again. I just mean that there are some days – okay, weeks – where the idea of not being a parent is really appealing to me. No answering a million questions a day, no organising smaller humans’ social lives, no school pick-ups, no making the same request over and over again.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m craving some irresponsibility. Yes! That’s it in a nutshell. I want to be irresponsible! And I know that begs the question: why can’t you be irresponsible and a parent at the same time? Because it’s a bit like asking the Dalai Lama why you can’t be Buddhist and pro-violence at the same time. He’d look at you with his smiley face and say something wise like “Water cannot be a mountain”. Or “You cannot force an extra eye onto a two-eyed beast.” Or something like that.
And maybe you wouldn’t quite understand him at first but you’d feel good anyway because, well, that smile. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m afraid of responsibility. I’m not. In fact, I’m pretty good at it. But often it feels heavy. Really heavy. Like weight-on-your-shoulders heavy. Which is why I sometimes wonder what I’d do if a genie popped out of a wine bottle and granted me the wish of a whole week without responsibility. (I must confess at this point that I have fantasised at times of it being a whole year. I trust you’ll forgive me.) Not just a trip away for a week, mind you. An actual week where my kids simply didn’t exist, and my mind was temporarily wiped so that I wouldn’t remember them either. As an anti-guilt measure. Just for that week. Oh, come on guys, I can’t be the only one who disagrees with Bridget Jones’s assessment of “All By Myself”? No, Bridget! I do want to be all by myself! It could be our anthem!
So what would you do? I know what I’d do. I’d read at least 15 books uninterrupted – except by the woman in reception reminding me of all the spa bookings I had. (Did I forget to mention I’d be in a 7-star hotel?) I’d sleep a lot. Eat even more than that. (Remember the guilt-free clause?) Swim in the sea – after leaving the required time after meals (I wouldn’t be that irresponsible!). Run lots of loooooonnng baths. Meditate. Daydream. Remember who I am.
And when I returned to my normal life, I’d bring her back with me. (No, not the woman at reception, that would be silly. Besides, she probably has her own family to attend to.) I mean me. This woman. Less burdened, more fun. With a twinkle of irresponsibility and quite possibly a new haircut. (Because I’d have all that time to get it done.)
Relaxed. Rejuvenated. Responsible.
Well, until the next time!
Want to read more from Expat Living’s parenting columnist Orla Breeze? Find out why she thinks there is a baby conspiracy and asks are we making our children’s lives too complicated?
This article first appeared in the December/January 2017 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.