We went out last night. We went out without children and we had a meal in a restaurant that didn’t have colouring books to keep us occupied whilst we waited for our food. There were no balloons on the way out and there was no room to even fit a pram between the tables. It was great! I think.
Since our son was born we can easily count the number of times we’ve been out socialising and to do that we only need one finger. Well, actually now we need two. But were we really missing out? Did we really need to spend time away from the children in order to feel like ‘ourselves’ again? Surely ‘ourselves’ are now parent-selves and don’t those people stay in every weekend, or take the children with them if they go out (ensuring they can easily leave at 7pm so that bath time is only half an hour late and everyone can get to bed on time), but only to places that have balloons, colouring books, wide-aisles and highchairs. Isn’t that who we are now?
Well, yes and no. We are parents first, but we were other people before that. We used to go out to pubs with sticky floors that were thick with smoke and vibrating with loud music, laughter and chatter. We used to drink cider and lager and we used to stagger to the taxi rank at the end of it all. The next day we used to lie in, luxuriously making the most of a lazy day where nothing was required of us, accept to decide whether or not to do it all again.
Last night was a different, more orderly kind of night. We met friends who also have a baby and we felt reassured that our ‘We ought to get home for the babysitter’ would not be met with ‘ Oh, come on! Stay out, we dare you!’ because the people we were with were likely to feel that they too ought to get home before too late. So we ate, we drank wine and we even frequented a sticky-floored pub. It was lovely.
I must add that we all found it incredibly difficult to resist checking our phones every twenty minutes or so (just incase!) and we all subconciousy decided at eleven-thirty that enough was enough- time to go home. No pressure.
At home, the children slept soundly, the youngest not even aware that we had left the safe, warm house to venture upon a life without him. This morning the eldest is full of tales about the games she played with Nanna and the fact that she had three stories, not just one and Nanna let her read all the bits in speech bubbles and Nanna let her have an extra ten minutes downstairs after brushing her teeth because she had been so good. In fact, the eldest wants to know when, exactly, are we going out again?
So now the question is, when will we be ready to abandon this life again for a few hours? I’m not sure that sticky-floored pubs are quite the same anymore. These days I like mine covered in mechanical hamsters, crayons and toy cars. These days, I actually prefer having cheerios stick to my feet instead of cigarette ends and I quite like getting a balloon on the way home.
I do have to add, though, I had a lovely time last night!