Just occasionally I wish that - by virtue of a paid job, nearby relative, or live-in
I realised last week that there have only been two nights in nearly five years where I have slept away from my daughter. On the one hand, how incredibly lucky am I? (And this hand is definitely the winning hand, I know it holds the top trumps.) But on the other, I felt the need to scream for my lost independence.
But I can't do that because I live in a block of flats and it would've woken the neighbours. How bloody frustrating.
If you've ever felt this way, and you're the parent of a preschooler, I've found a sort-of short-term solution. It's simpler than you would ever have imagined. I can't magic up a childminding granny, a full-time Mrs Mop, or an undemanding morning job in a divine local boutique (aaah dreamy)... I don't have the cash or the work permit to make any of those things happen.
But I can do buttons.
Seriously, if you don't have a tin of buttons, go to your local cheapo craft shop and buy the biggest mixed bargain bag they have. They induce remarkably long periods of contented, educational quiet time, during which I retreat to my room to knit and read. Knitting and reading isn't exactly asserting my independence to the world, but sometimes a bit of peace and quiet is all I need to restore perspective.
And when I start to crave her company again, I can always go and join in with the colour sorting, the threading, the adding, the size grading, the tiddlywinking, the endless mesmerising possibilities...
They've been known to save my day.