Last week I had a rare treat – two nights out in a row! It's a sad fact of kids that once your little ones arrive you can't just spontaneously hit the town, but rather have to plan these events with military precision.
Still, with a wedding anniversary (six years which is apparently sugar, we've a while to go until we hit the gems) and a birthday (yes, I'm 29 again) to celebrate, it was time to find something not covered in snot to wear to a bar, or restaurant that didn't allow children.
The initial plan was to go out on the Thursday night (on my birthday) but my husband ended up with a big deadline for the Friday morning so he kindly agreed that I could go out for drinks with friends on the Thursday and that we would do dinner on the Friday night instead. Hence the rare two nighter!
Normally when I go out, I wait until the boys are bathed and fast asleep in bed before performing a Wonder Woman-esque quick change and sneaking quietly out of the house. This method keeps the stress levels low as they don't know you're going out so don't play up. The secret is not to get too excited and pull out your fancy outfit from the depths of your wardrobe, or even get your handbag and high heels ready, because toddlers soon suss that means 'Mummy has got plans'.
Unfortunately I made a beginner's error of trying to get to the bar for 7pm. I'll admit it was partly because I wanted to enjoy happy hour cocktails – I'm a sucker for a strawberry daiquiri. So, it was inevitable that my three-year-old, Ethan, soon twigged something was going on. Normally I'd pick him up from nursery but my husband agreed to do that while I blow-dried my hair and put on some make-up. I may not have been dressed up yet but this tiny change to his routine and to Mummy's usual appearance was a big red flag.
He then became Mr Clingy and would not allow his Daddy to do anything, only Mummy could give him his milk, help him brush his teeth and put on his pyjamas. When I attempted to leave before he was in bed it was meltdown with full-on tears and a tantrum. Luckily a few custard creams and an episode of Transformers Rescue Bots calmed him down sufficiently that I could nip to the tube station and get to the bar only ten minutes late. My friends would probably count that as me being on time, to be honest.
The following night I vowed that we were not leaving the house, let alone getting ready to go out, until both boys were asleep. His younger brother, Logan, had behaved impeccably the previous night but they do tend to take turns on clingy-ness so I wasn't leaving it to chance. The boys' Auntie was on babysitting duty, luckily she lives nearby and often spends time with us so they didn't suspect that this time Mummy and Daddy were sneaking out for a nice dinner and drinks.
Waiting until they fall asleep before leaving has other benefits. A friend told me of the time she had just left the house for a night out when her son decided to shout at her from the front door that he 'didn't want her to go'. Cue lots of pleas along the lines of “Mummy, please don't go out drinking again”, all loudly enough for the neighbours to hear. Pretty annoying when it was her first proper night out in months other than PTA meetings.
My own social calendar has gone rather quiet now, plus I think I've used up my quota of nights out for the next wee while. Not to worry, I've still got a few bottles of birthday fizz to enjoy from the comfort of my own sofa. Cheers!
How long has it been since you have had a 'night off'? Have you got any tips for sneaking out without the kids noticing? Let us know by commenting below...
Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine and watch out for the hashtag #somethingfortheweekend every Friday to join in with the conversation
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