The looks of envy when I was chatting to mum friends about my child-free hotel stay over half term turned to confusion and even contempt when they asked who I was going with.
A romantic escape with my husband? A girlie catch up with a close friend? A bonding experience with my mum?
Nope, I was flying solo and spending a night away all by myself, just for the hell of it.
It was all the sweeter for knowing that I’d almost cancelled the room a couple of times in the weeks running up to the trip, feeling a bit selfish about spending all that money on myself.
But I can honestly say it was worth every penny to come back rested, re-energised and ready for a house full of rambunctious boys for the rest of half term.
I’ve been a mum for a decade now and my older boys, aged 10 and eight, were home educated until last year.
My littlest has only just turned three and started at preschool this term, so I’ve had a child by my side almost every waking moment for those 10 years.
All our holidays revolve around what works best for young children, so it was heaven to go away to a boutique hotel and not to have to worry about the whims of anybody other than myself.
The idea first came about when I decided to go to see a show performed in my old hometown by an amateur dramatics group I was once a member of.
After checking out some of the budget hotel prices, I decided to make a weekend of it and book into the Hotel Cromwell, a historic former coaching inn I had always admired in the high street.
As I walked along the corridor to my room, the art deco decor and cosy charms of the quirky building were just what I imagined they would be.
My first act was to lie down on the bed and take a nap before heading out onto the high street for a spot of retail therapy.
Whiling away the hours before my evening theatre excursion was
just what the doctor ordered to kickstart my 24 hours to myself.
It helped that I knew my boys were also having a blast – two were being spoilt with a day out with Nanna and Grandad and my eldest had headed for a sleepover with a pal he’d not seen for a while.
My husband Dee had drawn the short straw and was at work, but he’d had a summer break with his golf buddies and I think had been relieved that he wasn’t being asked to sit through the show.
After a brilliant evening’s entertainment watching the stage version of Young Frankenstein, I didn’t head back to my hotel room until after 1am.
I can’t actually remember the last night out when I staggered home after midnight – it made me feel young again.
The next morning, the thick curtains did their job and I didn’t wake until almost 9 o’clock, without my mini alarm clocks chiming in from the next room at the crack of dawn.
A leisurely soak in the tub before breakfast was also a touch of long-forgotten indulgence.
And the cooked breakfast was delicious and plentiful, without needing to cook, clean up afterwards or check that everyone had eaten enough.
I’d even booked myself a late checkout and a Sunday roast to make the most of my second day off, so I had time to spend chilling out in my room before heading back to my family to hear all their tales from our time apart.
If any other frazzled parents out there are thinking how lovely it might be to have some alone time, without their partner or children to factor into the equation, I’m here to say, just do it!
It might feel a bit self-indulgent, but in a world where we’re used to putting everyone else before ourselves, it’s worth being your own number 1 priority, if only for one night.
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