Today my very kind mother sent me off for a few precious hours of ‘me time’. Anyone who looks after their child full time will appreciate that this is like winning the fabled Golden Ticket, you feel like it’s Christmas morning and your birthday all rolled into one. Whenever I am home my mom always gives me as much breaks as she can so big thank you mum!
So there I was on my way to have a coffee in the local shopping centre. As I walked in the door my eye snagged on one of Those Machines. Parents will know what exactly what I am referring to. For those of you who have not had the luxury of losing half a day’s pay on one of these babies I will explain. You the parent insert money into the machine while your little monkey clambers aboard to drive beside Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam or God Forbid the infamous Peppa Pig. This ride will last barely a minute and before you know it said child will be pleading with you to part with more of the grocery money (they always have these devil machines just outside your local supermarket so you can’t avoid them when you desperately need nappies and milk). Like the mug that you have become since this child’s arrival you reach again for your wallet/purse. The sensible partner will then be forced to intervene leading to a major meltdown and one of those marital rows which make other couples more smug about their own relationship.
My husband and I recently discovered that by pretending these machines are ‘broken’ we can avoid all the extra drama of shopping with a toddler and little lady is quite happy to remain being wheeled around in the trolley – standing in with the groceries rather than in the appropriate seat but we will take what we can get.
Rant aside, I passed one of these machines this morning and found myself turning around to say ‘broken’. It was on the tip of my tongue when I noticed the very confused looking older gentleman beside me. I smiled weakly before fleeing the building, using the freezing wind to calm my red cheeks.
There are lots of perks to being the main person my tiny lady spends her days with but one of them isn’t appearing like a crazy lady in public shopping centres – neither is reaching for a hand that isn’t there when crossing the street or turning when someone else’s child screams out ‘mama’. Worst than all of these, however, is inexplicably missing her all of a sudden when you finally get some precious alone time. Typical.