I was feeling outrageous, like I was all ‘Girls Gone Wild’, although with far less boob and pash action and far more quiet time to myself. So really nothing like ‘Girls Gone Wild’. More like, ‘Mums Gone Mild’.
Nevertheless, it was a trip back to the time before I became Mum. Back when I was just Lauren.
To be clear, my child is The BOMB and I love spending time with him. He’s also very much like a bomb in that he EXPLODES into every room, his shrapnel reaching the highest, most perilous points and hitting the most dangerous items with military precision. He cares not for toys or colouring books because he is training to be Jason Bourne and every day is like our own action adventure film where the dim-witted blonde woman is slated to die a horrible death in the second act.
Which is to say, it’s never dull at out house and any work has to be done in his two days at day care. Precious, short days. With a small business, a blog, freelance writing and a part-time job, my idea of a treat is having a hot cup of tea and getting to watch the afternoon news.
WELL TURN THE UGLY LIGHTS ON BECAUSE THIS PITY PARTY IS OVER.
Yep, I gave myself a day off and am now a complete expert in mumdulgence and have put together the definitive guide to treating yo’self.
1. Go back in time to when you were young and carefree
Find the place where you were your wildest and fall in love with it again.
I went back to Kingston and Manuka, the suburbs that first embraced me when I moved to Canberra to work in the Press Gallery. Canberra’s inner south is where I ate, drank, danced, disgraced myself in front of new friends and spent countless nights talking to the fat old men who run this country before fronting up to work the next day to grill them as they stumbled into Parliament House. I loved every second.
It’s not quite the same anymore, but as I stepped on to Kennedy Street, I felt that familiar pull of a place that has a piece of your heart still beating in its pavement.
2. Eat by yourself
If you have small children you’ll know that eating out is unbearable. Unless you have one of those kids who sits there quietly, eating neatly and not trying to get up and run along the length of the café with a spoon in hand, belting the backs of all the chairs. Do you have one of those perfect restaurant-appropriate children? Shut up.
Anyway, the idea of eating alone usually scares me, but this was GLORIOUS. I walked into Penny University, one of those cafes that looks like you’ve stepped inside a Pinterest board, and ordered a fat chicken burger because solo dining was not designed to be hijacked by pretentious kale wanks on a plate. You need to order exactly what you want. No one is watching.
I sat quietly and stared like a creep at the people gossiping all around me until I became aware of my shiftiness and pulled a book out of my bag that I’ve been trying to start for months. I put on my thoughtful face and turned those first, blessed pages because I like to look cerebral and important. I ate my lunch one-handed as I read and I felt smug and happy because the food was still hot and I got to eat as much as I wanted without anyone ruining my appetite with talk of poo.
3. Don’t wuss out
Stay. The. Course.
After about half an hour I started to feel guilty and worried about all the work I should be doing at home, so I left. LIKE A TOTAL FAILURE.
This is the opposite of treating yo’self and is what every mother does when she’s having fun. Because, you know, someone might catch us putting ourselves first and dob on us.
I felt like a moron all afternoon because I spend every second of my life working or taking care of someone else and I deserve an hour off now and then #martyr. I decided to try again in the morning.
4. Treat Yo’self
And by this, I mean, do something so indulgent your mum-brain implodes with guilt. For me, it was spending an hour and a half waiting for a tiny table so I could instagram the shit out of a milkshake.
Pâtissez is that milkshake joint that has people declaring their intent to move to Canberra. It’s a brand new café in Manuka that makes food you simply need to photograph.
I smiled and said “no problem” when the girl at the door told me it would be a minimum of an hour wait. FOMO had her covered. I stood and tried not to let my organs shut down in the August frost. I loitered near the door like a beggar, trying to steal some heat from inside. But finally it was my turn. I took my seat and ordered a ‘Muddy Pat’, a warm chocolate milkshake topped with a brownie and a toasted marshmallow.
I cannot express in words…. pictures only.
I rolled home.
5. Forget the guilt
The most important rule of all, OWN IT MUMMA. You took some time to do whatever the hell you wanted to. YOU DESERVE IT.
I did feel slightly ill from the dessert/milkshake extravaganza all afternoon, but nothing beats that feeling of doing something just for you.
This post originally appeared on Kidspot as part of the Voices of 2015 competition.
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