My child-free alter ego

Since having Lily four and a half years ago I can probably count on both hands the times I have been 'child free'.
I'll be honest, it doesn't usually bother me. I had my children because that was what I wanted from life. Giving up boozy weekends never seemed like such a sacrifice, I can watch a film on DVD instead of going to the cinema and a curry still tastes amazing when it's delivered to your house and you can eat it in your PJs whilst watching Netflix.

A lot of the time, I'm quite happy to stay in, or if I do go out, I like to do it with Matt and the kids. My family, making the most of our times together. We set aside weekends for us and don't have family near by to look after the children for the night or take them off our hands for a few hours. If we're going to have fun, we have fun together.

However.

And this is a really BIG however.

Since becoming a full-time stay at home Mum in January the couple of times I have been 'child-free' I've discovered that a slightly-crazed, potty-mouthed character with no filter takes their place. A persona so power-driven that at the faintest suggestion of 'child free' time it springs forward, making rude jokes and inappropriate comments just because there are no children listening.

This second self needs no alcohol to spur their pursuit of fun sans kids. Just being in purely adult company is enough to make them feel intoxicated.


Take last Saturday as an example. We attended a Gin and Beer festival as a family, with other friends and their children. After a while Ollie began to get tired and I spotted Matt clock watching anxiously because he wanted to watch the Palace game on TV.

So, being the loving, kind wife and mother I am, I suggested that they pop home for a bit and come back later. Aren't I the best?

This left just me and Lily who was having the time of her life dancing, making friends and being indulged by all her Mummy's pals.

It wasn't long before she too began to tire. And it was at this point when my second, freedom-hunting persona raised it's head and suggested:

"Maybe Matt could pick Lily up, head back to Neil's house and let the kids sleep, then take me home later."

Within minutes of Lily being picked up, my second persona, wildly shouting "Free at last! Free at Last!" had overtaken my command centre and it was all my sedate (well, relatively) self could do to fight the urges to dance on the tables.

It was like I'd consumed a tray of tequila shots and a cocktail pitcher all to myself.

Resisting the urge to dance like a tit. I instead drank a lot more, took the mickey out of the band's lead singer, scouted the crowd for 'hot guys' for my single friend and then, after heading back to my friend's home to meet Matt and pick up the kids polished off some of their curry takeaway and left their home without even offering to tidy up/clear away my bowl.

Back in the car, the sweary, immature and, quite frankly, rude Stephanie recedes in the presence of my sleeping cherubs and I start to feel more 'normal'.

Until I'm hit with a shame akin to that of Dr Jekyll after a Mr Hyde bender.

And so it occurs to me, as I'm filled with the need to apologise for any child-free induced antics - that perhaps in this situation, I was the child.

It was fun though. While it lasted.

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