So here I am at House Basic on the coast. I don't enjoy camping (using 'don't enjoy' in the sense of 'look at people who do it and scream internally "Why, for the love of god, WHY????"') so this is the closest I get to roughing it.
And it's rough. There is no internet access (or at least there wasn't until I discovered wireless broadband), no Foxtel (which hurts ), and the TV has actual knobs and an aerial. We go for walks in the park, read books, and play parlour games. It's like living in Jane Austen's England, only very slightly more advanced.
Still, it's a place of great serenity, with a lovely view, and lots of wildlife. Bush turkeys wander round, giant spiders crawl the walls, and rodents scamper across the floor. They leave their cute little mouse droppings everywhere, including inside the traps we leave for them (but only after cleverly removing the bits of cheese).
Still, despite the tremendous physical hardships, it's fantastically relaxing being here with my mum and the kids. For one thing, I get to eat vegemite toast every night for dinner while the kids eat pasta (and my husband back home is on his fifth night of pizza).
For another thing, I stop being a parent.
Yes, when I am staying with my mum, I forget I have children. No, I don't forget my kids exist - their volume renders that impossible - but I forget that they are mine. And so does my mum.
Yes, Nana asks them what they want for dinner and cooks it, reminds them to put their jackets on, and tells them to brush their teeth. She picks up their wet towels from the floor, washes their clothes, and rescues Toddler when she gets too close to the stove. I, on the other hand, doze on the couch, lifting my head only to kiss one of my kids goodnight when they are presented to me, clean and shiny after the bath that Nana gave them.
So complete is the role reversal that, on one memorable occasion when popping out to the shops Mum asked me "Will you be okay with them while I'm gone?"
So thanks for the holiday, Mum. I'll put up with the rodents, and the spiders, and even the aerial. Freedom (from kids) comes at a price, and I am more than willing to pay.
Oh, yes, and a cup of tea would be lovely! Thanks...