I am not a very good liar, let’s be clear on that from the outset. If you’re reading this for tips on how to have an actual affair then I think you will be disappointed! If, however you want to know it’s okay to leave your family for a night and take a well earned break from this shitshow we call parenting then please read on!
I am incredibly old-fashioned in my approach to parenting. Both Mr. British Maple and I firmly believe that these miniature humans are solely our responsibility and that any help offered should be kindly accepted but never expected. To this end, we have had very little time to ourselves (and even less time together by ourselves but let’s save that story for another day!) We’ve been back in the UK for a few months now and the legendary Mr. British Maple suggested I have a break and visit some of my old friends up North (I know I’ve bagged a good’un and am totally punching above my weight!!)
I was so excited at the prospect of seeing one of my best friends again and meeting her newest addition; but there was part of me that wanted just a little bit more (isn’t that how all affairs start out?) I wanted a night alone, completely alone. Just me, my Instagram feed, a bed and some really cheesy TV without the rolling eyes of the hubster, coercing me to watch Ninja Warrior or some God-awful film about cage fighting again. So, I made a feeble attempt to make plans with another friend on the Friday night too (knowing full well she wouldn’t be able to do it) Surprise, surprise she couldn’t make it but did anyone else really need to know that?! This was the start of the deceit…
In the lead up to the affair, I was excited, nervous, exhilarated! I planned and packed, then re-planned and re-packed (please note, I managed to find time to do this but still can’t keep on top of the boys’ laundry!)
Finally the day arrived. I needed to leave at the best time so the boys didn’t ask too many questions. My bag was packed but in the bottom of the wardrobe, away from prying eyes and sticky fingers. The hubster arrived home early so the car was mine.
I jumped in, cranked up the sat nav and hit the road to Liverpool (affairs should always happen in Liverpool!) Skip forward four hours and 45 minutes and I finally arrived. I checked in, set out what I needed for my secret night away and wandered out to pick up my favourite food (if you don’t like Wagamamas, we can’t be friends).
By 8pm I was in full affair mode. I turned off my phone, put the do not disturb sign on the door and loaded up Netflix (I had to skip the bath because there wasn’t one!) My next dilemma was how sordid did I want this affair to be?!
- Do I leave my socks on (I did, because I couldn’t work the thermostat)
- Do I drink my mini Malbec straight from the bottle, in a mug or a plastic cup (plastic cup won but only after I couldn’t swig a big enough mouthful from the tiny bottle neck!)
- I drew the line at eating in bed (croissants and Easter eggs, yes. Noodles and gyoza…big fat no!)
After four back-to-back episodes of Pretty Little Liars I climbed into bed and didn’t move an inch until the next morning…at 5 chuffing a.m.!!! Still, it was six hours straight sleep (my longest stretch of sleep in 1390 days, precisely). That alone was worth the hotel charge, horrendous drive and suppressed mama-guilt!
I settled down for some early morning alone time (judgement-free!) with my iPad (purely for social media purposes), drafted my next blog post, spent far too long in the shower and actually used a real life hairdryer before wandering out to enjoy waffles and coffee for breakfast.
Within no time at all the affair was over, or rather, mothballed for another occasion. I was back in the car and heading to my first ‘official’ catchup. The pangs of mama-guilt started to take hold so I called home to make sure everyone was still alive. Of course they were. Why? Because Mr. British Maple is their hero and who wouldn’t want to spend a couple of days with their hero?!
Then came the dreaded question “How’s Michelle?” (she’s the fictional Friday night friend!) Ballbags. What do I say? (I’d be so utterly rubbish if I had a real affair!) I started to mumble some ambiguous verbal garbage about Cub Scouts and broken down cars before Mr. British Maple rescued me and said “I hope you jibbed her off and just watched Netflix all night, you deserved a real break”.
The guilt rose to epic proportions and I revealed every last detail of my sordid acts of moral turpitude. Hubster’s response: “I knew you weren’t really meeting Michelle, you can’t lie for toffee!”
So for any future solo hotel stays, lonesome waffles at breakfast or just a day of single-handed mooching; I won’t consider it an affair, more an open-relationship with myself, fully consensual and nothing to feel guilty about.
A Guest Blog from Abi Griffin
Abi (a.k.a. The British Maple) is a newly Cheltenham-based mama with two rambunctious toddler boys. Having recently moved back to the UK after five years in Canada, Abi’s life is now consumed by house renovations, school searches and trying to not eat too much cake (or drink too much coffee, or waste too many hours on Pinterest, or consume too much red wine…)