The “Big Night Out” is a delicious treat to be enjoyed by non-parents and parents alike.
But it can look a little different depending on which side of the fence you sit!
Having kids is a wonderful time in your life. Nobody is disputing that. But the bliss of parenting is balanced somewhat by a new level of inconvenience you could never have imagined… The battle to get out of the house for a big night out.
Sure, you heard some rumours alluding to the fact that kids can add a little chaos to any situation. But that fact is never more true than when you’re brushing one kid’s teeth, prying the dog’s squeaky toy out of the mouth of another and haphazardly smearing on some lipstick.
Here are some ways that a big night out changes after you’ve birthed a kid or two…
THEN: Remember those glorious early evenings of pouring over the contents of your wardrobe, pulling together the perfect ensemble? Remember taking a hot shower? Exfoliating, washing your hair, sliding a Venus razor over your shins? Wrapping yourself in a fluffy towel and wiping the steam from the mirror to begin the beautification routine you’ve been perfecting since you were 13? Setting aside an hour to prepare for a big night out was almost a religious experience, or at least that’s how you remember it now you’re on the other side!
NOW: These days, the focus is less on getting out of the house looking like a babe, and more on getting out of the house, period. Between getting the kids bathed and fed and briefing the baby sitter on everything from emergency contacts to tricks your kids will pull to get out of bed, the big night out is often over-shadowed by the preparation. If you can manage to squeeze in a shower, wing your eyeliner and walk out the door in your favourite black stilettos at the end of it (or you know, even walk at all), you’re basically a unicorn. We want to know all your secrets.
THEN: The world was your oyster. You had heard of a pumping new tapas place and sure, it was 45 minutes from home but dammit, you were trying it! You rarely bothered to make a booking. A 50-minute wait for a table? No problem! You could use a couple of cocktails at the bar to warm up anyway. Your phone stayed firmly planted in your handbag as you stared into your husband’s eyes or gossiped with your bestie. Conversation flowed. You scrutinized the food and pondered over ordering dessert. The big night out energised you.
NOW: Trips into the city are bi-annual. The more local you are in case things go awry at home, the better. And sure, it’s a Tuesday night and you have literally never seen this restaurant busy, but there’s no way you’re risking not making a booking and having to wait for a table. Ain’t no parent got time for that!
As you take your seat at the table, you lay your phone right beside the cutlery; you promised the baby sitter you would be easily contactable. While you stifle yawns as the day, the week, heck, the years catch up with you all at once, you realise just how doggone tired your really are. You eat the food gratefully, ignoring the slightly under-cooked potato and the flat sparkling water – heck, you’re just pleased as punch to be eating something that you didn’t have to cook! Of course you order dessert, because a heady combination of this being your first night out in 6 months and #parentlife deems you deserving of that decadent sugar hit. Calories be damned! Your conscience fights a battle between trying to live in the moment, and stealing glances at your phone, wondering how things are going at home.
THEN: Enjoying yourself? There was simply no reason to end the night until the fun was finished. You could go home and sleep it off without interruption. There was nothing stopping you from ordering another bottle of wine. Or two steaming cups of coffee to extend the outing. If the restaurant closed, no problem – you could move onto a bar. Take a late-night stroll through town. Lay on your back in a park and stare at the stars. OK, maybe you never did that, but it sure sounds whimsical now, doesn’t it?
NOW: The baby sitter’s request that you are home by 10.30 because ‘she has school in the morning’ rings in your ears. It determines your every move from about 9 o’ clock. As the night goes on, the fun is somewhat overshadowed by the clock ticking ever nearer to the curfew imposed on you by a 16-year-old. That and the promise of your little humans interrupting your ability to sleep it off overnight. You inevitably arrive home with a generous ten minutes to spare.
Do these ring true for you? Or have you mastered the art of getting out of the house and leaving the kids in your dust? However it pans out for you, one thing is for sure – you SO deserve that big night out!