Rest. Retreat. Relaxation. Respite… Kids.
Hang on, that doesn’t seem quite right… and as I parked up at the Manor House Hotel in Godalming, Surrey ahead of an afternoon of pampering, it did cross my mind as I hauled my two small sleepy daughters out of the car, that this may not be particularly straightforward.
I had been invited along to try out a “Petit Pampering” package, the latest service from up and coming company, Petit PA, which offers help and support to new and expectant busy mothers. While I was heading for a few hours of yoga, afternoon tea and a massage, my daughters, aged 6 and 2, would be looked after by professional child carers and entertainers.
On arrival my children were immediately offered something to eat and a face paint. The six year old happily sat to request a butterfly on her face while my two year old got stuck into a toy train set. They were pretty content so when after 15 minutes I went to leave for a 45 minute yoga session, my eldest threw a bit of a curve ball and clung onto me, not wanting me to go. This set off alarm bells with my younger daughter and before I knew it, I was trying to extract myself from two crying girls. Not a good start.
I offered them reassurance that I was only nearby and, in turn, the Petit PA team reassured me they would let me know if my girls didn’t cheer up. So off I went to yoga, trying to brush off the mummy guilt but confident in the knowledge they would be fine.
The yoga session was a great way to start to unwind and, after a quick check on the girls – who by now were on an Easter egg hunt in the hotel grounds – the next stop was a spot of afternoon tea.
Having seen the girls were having a good time, I relaxed over scones, sandwiches and sweet delicacies and had a lovely (uninterrupted!) catch up with a friend who was also on the retreat. This was the first time she had left her four month old son with someone other than his Dad so, understandably, she was a little anxious. As the kids were never far away from the parents, she was able to feed and help settle him between her “me-time” sessions and there was enough flexibility in the schedule to allow for this.
Next stop was a massage and by now I did feel I could properly switch off and enjoy doing nothing as my masseuse worked on my knotty shoulders. I also caught a glimpse of my friend as she too had a treatment. She had a small contented smile on her face so hopefully those earlier anxieties over her littlest were melting away.
Finally I had a chat with a specialist postnatal and prenatal personal trainer, who was full of really useful tips and exercises for all us Mums at various stages of motherhood and with various feelings about our post or pre-baby bodies.
At the end of the afternoon it was time to have a proper reunion with the children who barely noticed when I returned to their play room. All were pink cheeked and full of beans having enjoyed plenty of entertainment, stories, fun outside and even their own mini-yoga session. My 6 year old was clearly enjoying new friendships and my 2 year old was running around enthusiastically in a game of “Duck, duck, goose”.
This time, I had to extract them away and as we headed back to the car, my eldest said “Can we come again?”, and I was very happy to confidently reply “Yes”.