It was the Mamamia office Christmas party last night, and I’d been looking forward to it for ages.
Babysitter booked six weeks ago? Check. Approximately $700 put aside for said babysitter so I could enjoy myself with my colleagues for a few hours? Check. Impractical yet highly Christmassy dress and even more impractical shoes sorted? Check.
At 7pm on the night, I was frocked up, and ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
“See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya,” I thought, as I waved goodbye to my 11-year-old, Winston, and his babysitter, and ran as fast as my ridiculous high heels would let me towards my Uber.
A mere extra 30 minutes on top of the 10 minutes it should have taken to drive into the city, including a trip back and forth over the Harbour Bridge, I arrived at the venue in Circular Quay. Party time.
My son was also excited, because an evening with his babysitter always meant a trip to McDonald’s, and a fun time with someone whom he loves and who’s amazing with kids. They were both under strict instructions for Winston to have a bedtime of 9pm, because it was a school night. And also, because I didn’t want a curfew, because I’m an adult, dammit.
So, we were all set… or, we should have been. A mere one hour and forty-four minutes after I left the house, and an hour since I got to the party, I received a text message no parent ever wants to get.
“Are you coming home now?” my kid asked.
Yes, one of those texts.
Oh, honey, no. Please don't kill mummy's vibe.
I was more than a little surprised: was I not clear that I was going out for the night? And that I would not be home for hours? This was an 11 year-old-child, who is accustomed to me having a life occasionally. It's not like I never go out... I do so, regularly. So I was a little... confused.
My mummy guilt was starting to kick in (yes, yes, it doesn't take much), and a few thoughts crossed my mind: had something gone wrong at home? Should I call?
As I stood there with my phone, my colleagues around me wanted to know what was happening. I showed them - and they had quite a different response.
"Oh, no! Mummy's not coming home for quite some time!" they all yelled in unison, laughing at the innocent question. And in that moment, I relaxed and saw the situation for what it was: a kid who was missing his mum.