There are certain numbers that every parent knows with a high degree of precision; the amount of hours they or their partner were in labour, the weight their child weighed at birth, when their child walked (although that one fades a little once they pass 5 years of age) and how long it’s been (to the nearest day) since they last had kid free time with their wife/husband/partner. Those heavenly moments where you skip out the house as a grandparent, willing or otherwise, volunteers to look after your little monsters angels. The skip may even be accompanied with a few whoops if it also means that you’re avoiding having to do bedtime with them. Rupert was 13 months when the lady of the manor and I had out first evening out, we went to see James Bond at the cinema, not much change to watching TV in the evening I guess but even so we felt FREE.

The last time we had a night away together without children was on 24th April 2014 and technically one was actually with us because we think that might have been the weekend Rupert was conceived. But at least at that point he wasn’t able to cry, scream or talk to us, or for that matter play with the bin, throw things in the toilet or try to break the telephone.

I of course love my children, I love being with them, playing with them, seeing them grow. But you realise how much you love them when you have a short time away from the intense, all consuming activity that is parenthood. As they say a break is as good as a holiday and those short breaks certainly feel like a treat. But here’s the best bit, it’s also pretty darn good for your kids, especially if you have more than one like we do. Let me give you an example.

kid free time

A few weeks ago the lady of the manor and I had a whole day away from the kids so that I could run the Milton Keynes marathon and she could run the half marathon. Yes that’s right, we had a whole day kid free and we chose to get up at 6am to go and run long races, that’s how we choose to ‘relax’. While we were having fun in the unexpectedly hot Milton Keynes sun Henry was having a sleepover at his best mates house up the road and then went fishing with his mate and his dad. Matilda had a sleepover at her aunties house, she was spoilt rotten by her aunty, her great aunt and her cousin. Rupert meanwhile had a day with my parents at home, pottering around the garden and generally being the centre of attention.

Each one of the children got a break from being a sibling just like we got a break from being parents, they got to be spoilt and the centre of attention for a little while, plus of course a bit of an adventure being somewhere other than home for the big 2. Personally I think all those things are a good thing for children to experience occasionally, it’s not going to turned them into spoilt children but is going to make them feel special and give them some quality time with their extended family. I know that my parents in particular enjoyed getting to know Rupert a bit better, something that isn’t easy when we’re altogether. We try as parents to have one on one time with the children but family life is busy and it’s not always easy to find those moments is it?

So here’s to kid free time, a time where everyone wins and a time that reminds us how bloody lucky we are.

Eden project family photo