Wake up and smell the daisies

This passed weekend I went back in time. I went back to my old, care free life of no kids and zero responsibility. Yes, you guessed it. We dumped the boys with the grandparents for the night! For 36 whole hours I experienced what it was like to not be a mom and have children to care for.

While it most certainly wasn’t the first time since having kids that we experienced this freedom, it was the first time in ages that I found myself longing for it, in a rather obsessive way. To not have to watch them 24/7 and make sure neither of them killed themselves (or each other). To not have to do the evening routine and read a gazillion books before bed. What really excited me most was not having to share my food with two pestering little flies, but the absolute best part had to be having my husband all to myself! For one night we abandoned all parental responsibility. Instead, I put on a cute WHITE dress, some rad hippie summer sandals and my new bohemian hat and headed into the exciting, energetic and fun filled abyss. The annual music festival that is Rocking the Daisies.

My husband (a regular festival goer) gave me a pep talk on the beautiful scenic drive there (made even more beautiful by the fact that there was no whining coming from the back). He warned me of the need to pace ourselves. “We have a long night ahead of us pup, so take it easy!” I assured him I knew what I was doing. My exact words “Stop over analyzing everything babe…. I need a night of letting go, of nobody telling me what to do. Yes I will pace myself. And I will eat enough food!” So with his wise words echoing through head, I did what every mother experiencing this amazing freedom would do. I arrived, dumped my bag in our Heartbreak Motel tent and headed to the nearest bar.

It’s the strangest feeling when you are so used to children in your space, to all of a sudden not have them there. No children to hold or run after, hands to wipe, noses to blow or mouths to feed. I had my hands to myself, nothing to hold in front of me or use as a tool for conversation. It was a bit awkward at first. I had to remember who I was without my kids. In a way they have become my identity and without them I felt exposed. And there I was surrounded by thousands of youngsters, with music pumping from every direction, the only things in my possession being a hat, sunglasses and some cash in my bra. For once the only thing in my shadow was a plastic cup filled to the brim with Vodka and Red bull. Sorry what was that? Yes a double. Oh come to mamma!

Not even an hour into arriving and I found myself barefoot in the sand dancing to Deep House at the infamous Beach Bar. I was in heaven. I forgot how much I loved to dance. To feel the music in every muscle of my body and to let go. Like proper arms in the air, hips shaking kind of letting go. I forgot how much I missed that. I forgot how much I enjoyed wrapping my arms around my husband’s neck while we danced and shouting to each other over the music. I forgot how much I missed being young with him. For those few moments, it was only the two of us (and 20 thousand other hooligans yes), the sun on our skin and the music. We were 18 again. I was young and carefree. He was relaxed and happy. We felt invincible! We. Had. No. Kids.

One of my highlights of my night had to be when during one conversation it arose that I was in fact 32. One girl let out a little gasp. As it turned out she thought I was 22 (oh please just go with me on this, humor me a little). What added to her horror was that I had two actual real live children at home. And when she found out I was married to the deejay she just about fell over. I felt cool for all of five minutes. You know, that “I’m a mom but I’m still cool enough to be here and live a rock star lifestyle” kidda cool. But hey who am I kidding? Come morning, when the sun would rise, my wrinkles would be visible for all too see and the energy of my youth that briefly made an appearance would be a distant memory.

But a memory I will hold on to for a very long time. And one my husband and I wont forget in a hurry. We ate, we drank, we danced, we laughed (a lot). We walked. We met new people. We saw old friends. We danced some more. We sat on the grass in the middle of a field and told stories and giggled like school kids. We used dirty porter loos and trashed our shoes. And we danced some more. We hugged and held hands. We smiled. We kissed like teenagers. And we DANCED! We soaked it up. We made it ours. Those hours we shared took us back in time. To when we first met and the world was our playground. We were young. We were free.

The next morning was a cruel awakening when reality hit. I felt the heaviness of all 32 years of existence. And some. There was no denying my real age and no denying my body’s recovery time was no longer what it had been in my younger days. I was exhausted! My body hurt from all the dancing and my throat stung from all the screaming in the wind. This was all made worse by the fact that most 22 year olds were already up enjoying a day on the sand and in the water, still with ciders in their hands and grins on their fresh little faces. And yes it made me angry. How dare they recover so quickly? How dare they make me feel so old!!! After eating a rather revolting breakfast burrito, I made my way to the crowded “beach”, sunk myself in the warm sand and began to make sense of what it was I feeling. I looked at all these kids having fun and I realized something. It was okay that this wasn’t my life anymore. Yes I had missed it and had been great to venture back to my wild childless days but it wasn’t me anymore. I had grown up. I had become a mom.

My life was back home in the form of two teeny tiny little humans. The best of their kind. And as ridiculous as it sounded even to myself, I missed them. I couldn’t get their cute little faces out of my head and all of a sudden that beach was the last place I the wanted to be. I could not have gotten out of that place sooner if I tried. And although we told stories of the night before on the journey home, it was the stories we told of our kids that made me smile the most. All the quirky and funny things they do. All their delicious gorgeousness. They are my life now and I’m a little more ok with it than I like to admit.


Leigh Geary

Leigh Geary was born and bred in good ol’ Jozi before moving with her family to Cape Town where she continued high school. She went on and studied Foundation Phase teaching and Child Psychology through Damelin while working in the childcare industry as an aupair. She is married and has two energetic little boys, Noah and Brody, who inspire her to record her stories for them as well as bringing moms together through shared experiences on her blog The Mom Diaries.

1 Comment
  1. For most (sensible) moms their days of partying are happily behind them, but I know I’m going to be one of those dance-around-my-bag kinda girls for decades to come! Leigh, your article is brilliant and it totally resonated with me. Especially the bit about your kids being your main feature that you forget how to act without them … And that as amazing as it is to relive our days of freedom, when the sun rises on that patch of greener grass we realise our lawn at home littered with toys is where we really want to be

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