Do you ever just feel like you need a break from being a parent? I am not just talking about enjoying some ‘me time’, I mean a proper break. Lately I have been feeling really bogged down and constantly struggling my way through the daily grind. For the past few weeks I have often caught myself fantasising about sending my boys off to their grandparents for a weekend, an hour or so to myself just isn’t cutting it anymore. I have daydreamed about packing up Leo’s little George Pig rucksack and cramming nappy after nappy into Alex’s change bag and waving them good bye as I leave them in the very capable hands of my parents or in laws. Is that really such a bad thing? Mum guilt has obviously tried to tell me I am a horrible mum for craving time away from parenting when I should be making exciting plans for family days out but I am telling mum guilt to do one. I need a break and I have decided that that is ok. Here is a look into my daily life as a stay at home mum of 2 boys, to help you understand why I am in desperate need of a break from being a parent..
6am – I am woken up by either the sound of Alex crying, Leo climbing into our bed telling me he’s starving and needs breakfast or, more often than not, pissed off cries from Alex and the sound of Leo scream/singing at him after he’s climbed into the cot and woken Alex up. I never wake up because I have simply had enough sleep.
6.15am – I am dealing with some kind of toilet drama. Either Leo has wet through his pull ups, Alex has pooed and is trying to roll off the bed while I change him or Leo needs a poo at the exact second I am have unclipped my bra and am about to feed Alex.
6.30am – I have a ravenous baby stuck to my boob while Leo continues to claim starvation. I try to check the hundreds of notifications on my phone but it is a fruitless attempt with both kids needing my constant attention.
7.30am – We all go to the kitchen to start the chaos that is breakfast. The Amazon Alexa is turned on and we kick start the day to the not so relaxing tones of the soundtrack to either Lego Batman or Trolls or sometimes Leo just gets Alexa to play the Star Wars theme tune on repeat.
8.00am – I am still trying to convince Leo to eat his breakfast (considering he was starrrrving at 6am, I have no idea why it takes him so long to eat) while also shovelling baby porridge into Alex’s mouth and attempting to catch the slices of fruit that are sliding off the high chair and heading straight for the floor.
8.15am – I am in Leo’s room searching for clean clothes and a pair of matching socks (never gunna happen). I get Leo dressed and plonk him in front of cbeebies while Alex sits and plays in baby jail (aka the play pen).
8.30am – Ignoring protests that I’m in the way of the TV from Leo, I do my 10 minute full body workout while hoping Alex doesn’t try and make a break for it from his play pen while I’m mid plank.
8.40am – It’s shower time and Alex is sat staring at me from his bouncy chair and occasionally letting out an angry scream at me for daring to care about something as trivial as hygiene. Who knows what Leo does in this time but by the time I’m back in the living room that place is trashed.
8.50am – Chuck any clothes I can find on, tie my hair back (no time to dry it) and run around the house like a headless chicken looking for book bags, coats and shoes. I usually have to spend 5 minutes persuading Leo to put his god damn shoes on, you would think I was asking him to put his foot into a crocodiles mouth or something the way he goes on.
9.00am – And we are out the door, at the exact time we are supposed to be walking through the door of play school.
9.15am – Shake off the feelings of shame and failure for dropping Leo off late yet again and practically run home with Alex as during the morning rush I still haven’t eaten.
Are you stressed yet? Are you thinking I must get a break now that I am one child down and I have something in my house affectionately called baby jail? Wrong.
9.30am – Clean up the shit tip of a kitchen that, despite being spotless at 6am this morning, is full of dirty plates and a floor littered with squashed banana and toast crusts.
9.45am – Sit and play games with Alex, knocking over stacking cups is a current favourite. Probably deal with another nappy situation right about now too.
10.00am – I normally try and catch up on emails or blog now with Alex sat next to me in in his walker but, oh, what’s that? He’s hungry again and is sleepy too? Cue 10minutes of grumpy baby before I give in and stick him on the boob again.
10.30am – Half hour is usually spent trapped in the nursing chair while Alex has the laziest feed ever and then it’s a game of roulette trying to get him into his cot without waking him up.
Nap time, surely I get to relax now? Well, I might stick the TV on or try to write but I can’t concentrate, my house is a tip. More often that not the precious hour or so in the day when Alex sleeps is spent sorting out the never ending piles of laundry, picking up toys and chucking coffee down my throat while staring clueless at yet another bloody renewal form from HMRC.
I am not going to bore you with the rest of my day but it usually goes Alex wakes from nap/Alex needs lunch/pick Leo up/find ways to entertain kids for the afternoon/tag in the husband when he finishes work and run and hide in the kitchen whilst cooking tea. I don’t even want to talk about the stress fest that is tea time, let’s just say unless we are eating pizza or fish fingers we usually have to spend forever convincing Leo to stop talking about friggin Lego Batman and eat some food. Chuck in an over tired Alex who would rather scream at his spoon than let me put it in his mouth, then you can see why by 5pm I am desperate for them both to go to bed so I can collapse on the sofa and binge watch Netflix, can’t you?
I love my boys with all my heart but lately this daily routine of ours is feeling a bit relentless. The house is never quiet and while I absolutely love the sound of the boys giggles, Leo’s little stories and Alex’s shrieks of excitement, they can be hard to pick out amongst the hours of screaming, crying and arguing. It is no secret that being a mum is hard work and I think it is completely ok to want to step back from the responsibility of parenting sometimes.
The thing is, we don’t live by our parents. We are down in the South of England and both mine and my husband’s parents are in a little town in Mid Wales; bringing up children away from your family is really difficult. Leo is almost 4 and in that whole time he has only spent a handful of nights away from us. Alex is 8months and I think Oli and I have had about 3 date nights and not once have we had a night away from him. I think that is why I am feeling the way I am lately, it has been years since I was last able to just do what I want, to spend quality time with Oli and to just be a little bit selfish. We all need to make time for ourselves sometimes, it is pretty much impossible to keep chugging on, giving everything you can to your family when you haven’t been given the chance to recharge and look after yourself for once.
When you become a parent you pretty much hand over your life and freedom to your tiny newborn, I understand that and I knew that’s what I would be signing up for when we decided to start a family. BUT does that really have to mean I have to spend every single day of my life being dragged from sleep each and every morning and trying to coax food into tiny mouths and deep clean the kitchen three times a day? If you have a job then you are entitled to annual leave. I don’t have a job but I could benefit from some holiday time as much as anyone who spends their days glued to a desk in an office.
So last night I cried to my husband, I told him that I am really struggling. That I don’t know how much longer I can keep giving my all to the boys before I just burn out and can’t give any more. I just want one weekend, I don’t think I am asking too much. One weekend where Oli and I can go out for a meal on the Friday night, spend a Saturday morning in bed and the afternoon just doing whatever the hell we feel like. One single weekend where I don’t have to change a nappy, breastfeed, play Lego or watch Moana for the millionth time. I know for a fact I would spend the whole time missing my boys, that I will be texting my mum for photos of them and asking for details on what they are doing but it would still be a break. I know that if I just got to take a little bit of time to look after myself for once and reconnect with my husband then I would be a much happier mum when my boys were back in my arms.
For now though, this child free weekend will have to remain a dream. Alex has gone on bottle strike so until I can get him to stop being a breastfeeding junkie I will just have to make do with the usual couple hours in the evening where Oli and I sit zombiefied on the sofa staring at our latest Netflix addiction.
Hopefully my request for annual leave will be accepted by my mini bosses soon.
Do you ever feel like you need a break from parenting? Do you think it is ok to want to spend time away from your children or do you think it’s selfish? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Oh Wendy I really feel for you and mentioned on your Instagram post that during those early years it can be so so tough. Time out and a break is crucial – you are not asking for too much. Do you have friends that would help out? Or maybe it would be worth looking at nursery even for one afternoon a week where you could just have a couple of hours to yourself. Looking forward with no break in sight is not healthy. And you hit the nail on the head when you said about annual leave request – employees always have a break to look forward to – even a weekend but when you’re a mum even the weekend feels the same. It isn’t that you’re being ungrateful, you’re just shattered and that’s normal. Hope you get that break soon lovely xx #postsfromtheheart
justsayingmum recently posted…A Letter To You
There’s nothing at all selfish about a break.It’s necessary.We spend all our time looking after the little people we neglect ourselves. Mine are much older but they go on holiday with Grandma every summer holidays have done forever really. I’m already looking forward to it (even if I’ll be whining about missing them by day 3!!)Hope the boob addict will grant you a bit of time off soon !!#postsfromtheheart
daydreams of a mum recently posted…My children do not come from a broken home
I found that I was a much better ,parent, to the children I used to child mind than I was to my own, that sounds dreadful actually what I mean is that I had more patience with the ones I was looking after #bigpinklink@_karendennis
There is absolutely nothing selfish about what you’ve said. When my eldest son was 1 I went to Greece with my hubby for a week while he stayed with my mum. Admittedly I missed him like hell but I came back so refreshed. It was just so nice for us to remember who we were underneath the title of mum and dad.
Oh my word. You have read my mind! My daughter is almost 10 months old and my husband and I have never had any time away from her (does a nap count?). It’s so hard when it’s relentless isn’t it! I guess we should take pleasure in the fact we’re not alone?
Oh wow your days are FULL on!! It is the hardest time in the world when you have 2 with one in the baby stage. There were times I thought I would not get through it when I had my 2nd when my first son was just 18 months old. When I was pregnant I moved back to live near family and it was the best decision I ever made as without them I don’t think I would have kept my sanity. You have nothing to feel selfish about wanting a break, our inlaws have the boys over night at least a few times a year and it is so appreciated, I feel having time away from them every now and again makes me appreciate them and our time together a whole lot more. I hope you get your longed for weekend soon, it will do you the world of good. xx #bigpinklink
mums’ army recently posted…Top 10 white lies my mother told me
Definitely not selfish and I have always looked forward to the days that Joseph has with his Dad or my parents. I NEED that break for my own sanity. Maybe pre-children and pre-autism diagnosis I would have said to someone why have kids but I think lives these days are more chaotic and it’s ok to say you need a break AND take it!
Gosh, I feel exhausted just reading it! And you blog as well?! Wow! You’re not being selfish. Just honest. You can’t look after others unless you’re looking after yourself and it sounds like you really need a break. I hope you all get that longed for weekend soon. It’s much deserved
I know exactly what you’re going through! My family are miles away (as are my partner’s). I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve been out in the last 3 years. My partner and I tend to take it in turns to have some time to ourselves (I went to Manchester for the weekend with my friends a few weeks back), because it’s the only way we can do it. We’ve kind of accepted that while our daughter is little we won’t get much time as a couple. It sounds like you are desperate for a break though, and you definitely deserve it! Tell that mum guilt to do one and arrange a night/weekend off asap, everyone will thank you for it! #TwinklyTuesday
Totally acceptable to need and want a break. I’ve often wondered how we are going to cope but it’s too late now. I guess I’m going my mum will take pity and come to stay sometimes. #dreamteam
I hear ya! Three here and one constantly needing me…staying up until 3-4am. It’s crazy! Take a break! #TriumphantTales
Amanda recently posted…Encouragement: A Movement
This is me. I wrote about replenishing ourselves as mums last week (https://coffeewithkatie.blog/2017/06/20/how-to-replenish-yourself-in-the-midst-of-motherhood/), but really you’ve said it better, an hour of ‘me time’ is not going to cut it, we need annual leave (and sick leave / weekends / public holidays…). Hope you get your weekend away soon! #triumphantTales
It’s totally reasonable to want a break!! I had a girl’s weekend away a few weeks ago and it was bliss – lovely weather, cocktails in a pub garden, gorgeous food…and yes I missed her but I think you really need that time to relax and be yourself, and get a bit of perspective! Go for it #TriumphantTales
I can relate to this sooooo much. My 3rd one wouldn’t take a bottle EVER and I could barely leave him for 11 months. I love him to bits but it can get stifling and drain you to point break. Don’t feel bad, you shouldn’t have to ‘treasure every moment’. I hope you manage to get a break soon. Sending love. Thanks for joining #bigpinklink x
Yes, yes, totally feel like this! And I only have one! It’s the drudgery, the same-ness. The constant whining and tiredness. Mum guilt stops me from having any annual leave but I feel like I need to get over that… #DreamTeam
Mrs Lighty recently posted…Essential Summer Baby Kit
I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling lately. parenting is the hardest thing in the world, it’s the best but also the worst, and it is the hardest “job” of them all with no break, physically and mentally. I’m glad you were able to get this off your chest, and hope your husband will be able to help you out to get some rest. I find it so important to get some self care and me time, even if it’s 10 minutes or a few hours. only recently has my other half been able to look after our son for longer than an hour and I can actually leave him now for a day, he is still breastfeeding so relies on me to get to sleep but he seems to be getting on ok in the day with just his dad which really helps. I don’t leave him often at all, but the times they have together and let me have some me time really helps. #TriumphantTales
Needing a break doesn’t make you selfish; it’s totally understandable. Caring for others 24/7 is tough, never mind little beings, and in order to take care of others to the best of your abilities, you need to take care of yourself also. I hope you’re able to have a well deserved rest soon! #TwinklyTuesday
Jade @ Captured By Jade recently posted…Activities for Adventurous Children
i used to feel like that all the time from 1992 when the first child was born till 2014 when the last child left home. for the past 3 years i’ve felt very lonely and missing a purpose, my dream of returning to work and building a career wasn’t fulfilling and I’m wishing i could have it all back again, the grass is never any grener on the other side #triumphanttales
Absolutely not selfish at all. Parenting is bloody hard work as well as being rewarding. I know we totally need a break and some us time every now and then! In fact as soon as our house is back to normal I’m booking the MIL in for some babysitting! #bestandworst
Fran Back With A Bump recently posted…Project Kitchen: Week One
Yes, yes and yes!! I’m feeling like that a lot now. I think it’s because Piglet and the grem have started bickering, there is noise constantly and the MESS!! I try to tell myself I’m ok and to chill and that helps but Piglet still breastfeeds at night so we can’t leave her with my Mum yet!!! I hope you get your break hun – you deserve it guilt free!!! Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x
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#triumphanttales okay, me and Mr F take 20min ‘me’ breaks at the weekend when we need time to be ourselves or to prevent us from losing the plot. I like mine in the morning, he prefers a sunday snooze. or perhaps you could ask a friend to help out, I’m not sure you need an entire weekend, you’ll be amazed how much a nice meal out away from home can soothe the soul.
good luck with your application for annual leave, be creative and i think you’ll find it sooner than you think… could the wales team come down for a take over one weekend?
my link is about prioritising ‘you’ time – hope it helps x
Definitely sounds like you need a break! We are quite fortunate to have family and friends close by and with my mummy being in and out of hospital recently (collapsed lungs) I’ve been thrusted into other people’s care. Hopefully you will get the break you need. Sometimes going to work can actually be a blessing to get out of the house! #TwinklyTuesday #DreamTeam
Baby Isabella recently posted…Turning up the heat – Funk The Family 2017 Review
Yep, i only have one and I sometimes need to just have a little break. I’m fortunate that my parents are close by, so she’s just had her first weekend sleepover at 7 months – which was lovely, but I still found myself jumping awake at 4am thinking she was crying! I do hope you get a little time to yourself soon, it sounds like you more than deserve it! #dreamteam
Muffin top mummy blog recently posted…A new mother’s guide to mummy etiquette
Hiya! Yes, I have always felt like I needed a break and I totally get the whole parents living far away too, mine are in Yorkshire. Coby is 12 now so all I can say is it does get lots easier, the Mum guilt never completely disappears, but it def gets easier. Over the years I’ve had lots of weekend breaks, a few girlie holidays and it’s amazing! Does you the world of good and also it’s good for you children to have a little time away from you too. Don’t ever feel bad for needing that time. You’re a fab Mummy!
It’s not a bad thing Wendy! Everyone needs a break. We are right here in the same boat and I can count on one (coughs… half a) hand the amount of times we have had a break in the last 5 years. It can be very frustrating and tiring, but as they get a teeny bit older, it does change and will hopefully get better as you leave the boob and poopy nappies behind. #Dreamteam xx
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“If you have a job then you are entitled to annual leave. I don’t have a job but I could benefit from some holiday time as much as anyone” This all day long!!! When I was on mat leave I was literally going insane the more time went on. Luckily, my in-laws are down the road so we roughly about once a month get time off from Ben and can be just us!
Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.
Mrs Mummy Harris recently posted…Bens Week of Wonders – Sun, sea and animals.
I love this post so much and defy any parent not to have felt like this. At 15 moths I still have a breastfeeding junkie and would dearly love just one full night of sleep. In reality like you I’d probably be awake wondering how he was, but I. Theory I can dream of peace #PostsFromTheHeart
Mummy Times Two recently posted…What About When Birth Doesn’t Go The Way You Imagine?
I’d go nuts if I didn’t have my allotment & running – but you’re right we need more than just me-time #postsfromtheheart
Crummy Mummy recently posted…#MySundayPhoto
Yes, yes, bloody yes! I could have written this post! I love my boys to the end of the earth but I literally haven’t had any time away since Oscar was born (the hour to go visit a school does not count!). Oscar is a serious mummy/boob boy and while he does have a bottle if he has to, he gets really grouchy if he isn’t around me. I think it’s mostly me worrying that he will just be miserable when probably he’d be ok for a few hours – not overnight though. It’s 9pm on Saturday and I’ve already had to go and boob settle him 4 times! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
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Don’t feel remotely guilty about needing a break – we all do! I know the breaks are hard to come by in the first year after a baby, which is why we managed to sneak in a weekend away when I was pregnant – I need that time away now and again. Motherhood is relentless and often tedious in the day to day, and seeing those days stretch out ahead of you without things to look forward to is really hard. I’m grateful that we have my parents close by who are happy to babysit (even if I probably won’t be taking them up on that for a while yet! Although I’m suddenly thinking that just one morning where I don’t have Max waking up the baby at 5.30am would be pretty blissful!) #KCACOLS
Totally understand this and my boys are now 7 and 10 so its obviously less physcially demanding. However, I am trying desperately to carve out time with my husband cause he works shifts, the boys have lots of activities and we have no family nearby. We have had two nights away since they have both been on the scene and their dear fairy Godmother had the bosy that time. Dont ever feel guilty about it, it is so hard and you have to take your breaks when you can to survive.
Hi. New reader here. 1st time mum to a 12 week old. Totally get what you mean. I’m only 3 months in and already feel like I need a good break!
Definitely don’t think it’s selfish. The best thing for the kids is to have a health happy mum to look after them.
If your child free weekend is not going to happen anytime soon, could you task your other half with doing everything for one day (other than the breastfeeding)? Give yourself a holiday at home? I basically did this for a little time at the weekend and it did wonders for my reserves.
Breastfeeding aside – (As I lasted 6 months max), I would so hand my girls over to my mum for a weekend. Even a week! They wouldn’t even ask for me. Sadly she lives in another country so the reality is me, me and me! I wouldn’t even feel guilty about handing them over, and they wouldn’t even ask for me. Do it!
I know exactly how you feel. Day in day out 24 hours a day it can really start to get too you. Sometimes I feel like I am cleaning up after the kids all day and at the end of the day the house is still a mess! Its enough to make anyone go crazy! I have a one year old and a four year old and I work part time, my other half works away a lot as well. I don’t think I have had a day without the kids for about 14 or 15 months now. Not that am counting! Tomorrow both children are at Nursery. Even if its just a couple of hours a week. Take it! Its not selfish its keeping yourself healthy and happy which will then impact on your parenting positively.
This struck such a cord with me! I work full time and have two small terrors and constantly berate myself for not being a better mum, and for the fact I work at all. Then last week my eldest contracted chicken pox and the three of us were trapped in quarantine together for a week. I love my girls, I am extremely blessed to have them, but I was overjoyed to be able to escape and get back to work. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of a date night is a distant dream, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 4.5 years, and I still have a booby junkie at 2.5yrs old, but the only thing that keeps me sane are those few hours each day when I am me again, when I talk to non related adults about non child related things. I know that I will continue to beat myself up for the fact I work, but now there is a corner of my mind that says “yes you work, but actually you are a better parent as a result when you are with them.” I am sure that some would say I am selfish, but you know what, I think as parents we are hard enough on ourselves, when someone is honest let’s help and respect that rather than judge. So hang in there Wendy, know you are doing a fantastic job, but try and get some annual leave – you need and deserve it before you burn out. Xx
It is in no way selfish hun, my girls are older now but I felt blessed when their Nan took them for a night, as much as they were loved we all need a little me time. People sometimes don’t understand how draining it can be and demanding they can be at times. We loveeeee them but all need a break for ourselves to recharge the batteries and feel like a woman again. Don’t feel bad. x
Back again from #bestandworst!
Crummy Mummy recently posted…Why I won’t be buying Baby Dove
I feel exactly the same. We don’t live near any grandparents either. My sister lives near both sets of grandparents and will often just drop her boys off ad hoc when she needs to run little errands, for a hour or two here or there. It makes a big difference.
I’ve always been quite academic and career driven, but I gave that up to have children. I feel very vulnerable being dependent on my husband’s income (I do a little part-time job but only a couple of hours a week). I feel as if I am treading water or even moving backwards in terms of any kind of personal development. I try to keep some hobbies going when I can – it’s a struggle to fit it in but I need it for my own sanity. You mentioned you manage to do some exercises – well done! That’s a challenge!
I feel quite claustrophobic and daydream about getting away from the children for a bit. Luckiy my husband will take them for a while when he gets back from work. Don’t get me wrong – I love spending time with them, but when it’s all day long every day it’s mentally exhausting, but paradoxically not mentally challenging.
I really feel like this at the moment. The monotony of daily parenting is going to kill me one of these days. I absolutely adore my two (who are 4 and nearly 3) but I need a break from parenting. At this stage I would nearly take a holiday with them just for a change in situation. I don’t think it makes us bad parents, it is just a sign that we try to be too much to too many people without ever getting time for ourselves. It’s so so hard not being close to family but it does get better, I promise x you are doing a great job, mama x #KCACOLS
I would love a weekend off! It would be so nice just to lie in bed and not be listening for the first whinge of someone wanting something! xx #kcacols
Get a divorce? I’m only half joking. As a single mum to two, I get every other weekend “off”. My happily married friends are, somewhat ironically, openly jealous of this regular “me” time. And as I’m so shattered most of the time, by the end of the fortnight I am counting down to handing the little darlings over. And yet … be careful what you wish for! There is a terrible pressure, probably self inflicted, to make that free time “count”, despite the mounds of housework and related admin that inevitably builds up when you have two children, a full time job and only one pair of hands. There is no partner to ‘re-connect’ with. There is the fact that this solitude is inflicted not chosen. There is the terrible irony, that after being desperate for some peace and quiet I inevitably spend some portion of the weekend wandering round the house, sniffing their pyjamas and deliberately treading on Lego because I miss them so much. It seems I don’t quite know who I am, or what to do, when I am not being mummy. And yes, I also work outside the home, so I get annual leave. Which I spend, not relaxing poolside in a bikini, cocktail in hand, but doing all the things you mention in your post … which, incidentally, I couldn’t agree with more! In fact, I urge you all, as I do my friends, to somehow find a way to take that time as a couple. You’ll regret it if you don’t. In fact, you might just find you’ve got more “me time” than you’re strictly comfortable with …
Personally I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have the odd parenting break especially when you have two little ones to juggle. Nobody can run on empty right?! Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS please do pop back again.
I think it’s perfectly reasonable to want a break. You would get a break from any other job or work you would do. #kcacols
Bread // Queer Little Family recently posted…My Sunday Photo – 9th July
What an honest, brave post! Every parent has different needs and if you feel that you need just one child free weekend with your Husband that is OK. My little Eco is 16 months old and have only been separated once for 4 hours when I had a hairdressing appointment followed by a back to work meeting. He still nurses and sleeps in our bed. Hubby and I haven’t had any time for ourselves yet but hoping to spend a bit more quality time once he starts nursery next April. Hope you get your break soon x #KCACOLS