To begin with, I must apologise in advance to anyone reading this who is the parent of a small baby/toddler. Stop reading now: this is not for you!
In all likelihood you are incapable of drawing from your addled memory any recollections of what a good night’s sleep entails and the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation have, in all probability, rendered you incapable of speaking in meaningful, coherent sentences. No, this foolish yearning for the sleep-filled days of my lost youth is likely to cause you to foam at the mouth and curse me for failing to appreciate my solid 7 hours sleep a night. And you would be entirely justified in doing so…
…because basically, I am selfish and greedy. Whilst I do (honestly!) recognise and appreciate the definite bonuses that come with entering a new era in which my children can go to the toilet unaided and make themselves a drink, I still secretly hanker (from time to time) for those carefree days where there was no such thing as an appropriate time to be up the morning after a late night.
In the world of parenthood, the idea that it is even possible to sleep after 9am unless you are seriously ill now seems incredible. The only possible post-late night scenarios now consist of:
1) You persuade someone else to get up with the children/make breakfast.
This enables you to stay in bed but importantly NOT TO SLEEP because that is made impossible by the extensive noise caused by the small people living in your house. These people have no respect for the concept of a lie-in and will either a) gleefully yell questions at you as you lie with a pillow over your head trying to drown them out or b) argue viciously with each other (whilst aforementioned alternative adult is apparently otherwise occupied) until you are forced to leave your bed to prevent WW3.
2) You tough it out.
In the absence of a readily available alternative adult, you are forced to dispense with any notion that you might be able to have a lie-in (which, on reflection, may be preferable to scenario 1 as at least this way you don’t get your hopes up) and eventually drag yourself out of bed when you tire of listening to your children beg to be given breakfast (honestly, who do they think I am – their mother?!). In my case, this is often followed by my youngest daughter’s gymnastics lesson where I spend an hour sat at the gym with a very large cup of coffee trying to remind myself that I should stop pretending I am young enough to cope with a party lifestyle.
3) You TURN DOWN a lie-in when the opportunity finally arrives.
No seriously – you really do!
In this blissful scenario you are staying in a HOTEL with NO CHILDREN. In theory, this means you could stay in bed until 2 minutes before check out time (which is often later at the weekends, so might get you as far as 11.58am) BUT (and this is the crucial but) …this would mean missing a HOTEL COOKED BREAKFAST THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR.
So come on!! Who are we kidding? No amount of wistful hankering for lost youth is EVER going to make you miss that breakfast…
Make mine a full Veggie English and keep your lie-in, you youngsters!