From personal experience, men seem to get a lot more free time.
Now I know that this "free time" is available to me should I wish to take it, but the top and bottom line is that as soon as my Daughter has whiff of a temperature... I know something is coming. And is my "away day" really going to bloom into free-spirited "free time" if I'm picking up my phone every hour, endeavouring to explain where the thermometer is, whilst juggling a cream cake and prosecco single-handedly and worrying about whether she's drinking enough, eating enough, taking her medicine and not on the verge of being admitted to hospital in a sicky, temperature ridden, red-faced, sweaty state? (As she has been repeatedly when that sky-scraping temperature won't budge and her face is covered in scary, non-blemishing suspicious spots from puking up.)
Is our time out as mothers ever really free? How many of us can control worrying? How many of us know where specific, important things are kept to the detriment of our other halves who don't? My little one's immune system has really been put to the test and she's caught more than her fair share of strange illnesses and worrying bugs so far and with it has come this deep-seated anxiety for me, where I just can't seem to break away, mentally.
I know how quickly she deteriorates and I know what to do when she does.
My partner kindly and happily tries to persuade me to take as many days off as he does, he tells me to go to the spa over night (which I have done), to ask my girlfriends to join me on a weekend in a foreign country, go on holiday for a week, even.
He would genuinely be quite happy for me to go.
But I can't.
Because I worry too much. A physical holiday would never be a holiday from my mind and the constant worry of leaving my child for long periods of time. Don't get me wrong, I've done my fair share of nights away, but any longer, just seems to send me into a frenzy of worry.
Thing is though, I still want... NEED time off.
Oh I need it, I crave it, give me all the time off.
But when I have time off, I'm not thinking of the same kind of time off that he's thinking of: I want to stay at home and enjoy being at home at my own pace; I want to be able to watch Homes Under the Hammer in my pants without a toddler asking me why my pants are so big 47 times, alternated with demands for me to crawl under the sofa and retrieve a 2cm Suzy Sheep. And I actually want to see what that crumbling, derelict house looks like post-makeover by the end of the programme, really badly.
I want to lie on my sofa and count the hideous swirls of aertex, because I've nothing better to do with my time, I want to walk to the local shop and buy my favourite magazine, stroll home at a leisurely pace and read it from cover to cover, which usually takes at least a week (on a good week!), I want to stand in my garden and look at my plants for an hour or two, without interruption, admiring the colours and shapes, even the dead ones.
I'm just saying, Men: just because we might not get out and about as much as you do, or sometimes even want to spend a whole day at the spa (which in fact requires effort beforehand, because we have bikini lines to tend to, we can't just go all spiders legs in public, fine for you though, you're used to it by now), we still want and need that break. Also, prancing around in costumes sporting our stretch marks or post-baby bodies at the spa just fills some of us with a bit of dread, particularly when bumping into hot babes in swim gear, it makes us feel a bit... crap.
A couple of hours every week does us the world of good; we don't need miles in between us and our children to feel more rested, to feel like we've had a break and are better able to juggle everything. Sometimes we just need to switch off our minds, focus on something else and still be around, should we be needed... but in emergencies ONLY.
And just to finish off, if you want to sit in your pants and watch boxsets all day, I completely understand, you need your time to chill too.
But don't forget to trade in one of your away-days for it first! ;-)