Honest Motherhood: Mum and Dad’s Great Escape

 This weekend, you could say my partner and I were brought back to life somewhat. We were doing just fine beforehand, but now we are better. Better people, better parents. The magic formula? Escaping the demands of parenthood for just one day. (Or just over seven hours.) The first time since Leo’s arrival in August 2020. 
We’ve escaped individually on many occasions. I do an acting class on a Saturday that allows me approximately four hours of breathing space. And Joel mainly has work-related evening functions that he doesn’t count as socialising, but that I very much do. “You came home drunk, you had FUN, it counts Joel!”. 

It was nice to experience the liberation together for once. And not just an hour of Gogglebox before bed. A proper outing. We ventured to London to see East is East at the National Theatre, a selfish Birthday present for Joel. Selfish because I love the National, this play looked good, I knew he liked the film and I wanted company. Win win. 

We were like young children pulling into Waterloo staring out at all the buildings. “That one definitely wasn’t there before…”
We headed to the Southbank food market then sat by the river with our lunch. It felt so good to be amongst the hustle and bustle again; London has an atmosphere like no other city. We didn’t get long to scoff our food down before dashing to the theatre. 
The play itself was brilliant, a hilarious revival of the culture-clash classic. I laughed, very nearly cried and loved every minute of it. Simply being in a theatre again after all this time was pure joy. I wanted to be up on that stage but I also wanted to sit there in the audience soaking up all the theatre magic. It went far too quickly. We couldn’t believe when the lights went out and the play was over. 
“I don’t want to go home!” We whined to each other. 
“Let’s stay and go for cocktails!” Joel, forever the spontaneous one. 
“We can’t..told Mum we’d be back for Leo’s bedtime.”   

We had a quick mooch round the National Theatre gift shop, which consisted of me proudly pointing out to Joel all the plays I’d seen or read.I bought a play titled “MUM” as a sort of souvenir for our day. It is currently on at the Soho theatre, though ironically due to my real life role as a MUM, I have not been able to go and see it.
Reluctantly we dragged our heels back to Waterloo, envious of all those clearly on their way to halloween parties or just out for drinks. I must have counted at least nine people in scrubs covered in blood. 

Sad and desperate for the fun to continue, we ended up in Tesco buying alcohol and munchies for our wild night in post Leo’s bed time. 
Joel: “You are going to buy a bottle of Bailey’s and have about five small sips aren’t you..”. 
Me: “Yes, yes I am.’ 

It was a relief in the end to get back to Leo, I felt guilty leaving him all day and was happy to be reunited, even if it meant missing the overpriced cocktails. His little face lit up when we walked in the room and that was enough to remind me I was exactly where I needed to be. After putting him to bed we began googling plays to see and brainstorming all the places in London we might want to take the children. We were buzzing. The whole afternoon was a colourful reminder of all the exciting things going on in the capital. An exhilarating day for two tired parents, we needed it. 

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