We all know as parents that once your life is run by a knee-high dictator your social life goes well and truly out of the window. A night out with pals or partner is a distant memory with evenings now orchestrated around supper, bath time, stories and the peril of a restless child who just won’t go to god damn sleep.
Even if a night out is craved, many parents might not consider it to be worth the hassle. A babysitter will be needed and you know they won’t stick to the routine you’ve so carefully and strategically drilled over the last couple of years. How’s a novice going to deal with a persuasive child who insists that mummy and daddy allow forty books before bedtime? What are they going to do if nightmares make an unwelcome late night visit or what hell will be unleashed if they leave the wrong nightlight on or step on that creaky floorboard when tip-toeing out of the room? You could head out for a night on the tiles but you’d only be checking your phone every two minutes, so really, it’s just not worth it is it?
Well yes, it is actually.
George and I went out for the first time in yonks the other night; nothing fancy, just a Pizza Express and to see Bond at the cinema and do you know what, we had a really lovely time – one of the nicest evenings for a long time. Just me, George and some decent conversation not centred around Toy Story, colouring in or school fees. That might sound incredibly selfish, we as parents of course set ourselves up for this lifestyle, but I insist it isn’t. Of course in the back of our minds was Edie, wondering if she’d be strutting around the house at 9pm like a cat who got the cream knowing we weren’t there to ensure she hit the hay. But all was fine - phones stayed in our pockets and it was truly wonderful to just reconnect and be adults even just for a few hours.
With a young child there’s the obvious strain and tension that can hamper even the strongest of relationships – the lack of sleep, the continued exhaustion from the never-ending entertainment you must provide, the financial worries, the differences in opinion over the most miniscule of decisions (just go with what mum says), so it’s important to find time for each other once in a while. We don’t go out enough and with our second baby now overdue, it will probably be a long time before we go out again. However, whenever an opportunity does arise to down tools (baby monitor, bottle etc), from now on, we will be there with bells on. I’ve been to blame for rejecting the opportunities to let our hair down before, I’m far too insistent on ensuring Edie’s routine is adhered to (and just because I simply love story time with her), but now, the the social beast in me has been unleashed - Prezzo and a rom com anyone? Wild.
We could easily have put Edie to bed and then just fallen into our usual evening routine, but thankfully we didn’t. Even just the one night together of feeling like we had no worries or responsibilities was enough to rejuvenate us and ensure we get through the next few months stronger. If you get an opportunity for a "hashtag date night" with your partner, let loose and go for it! The slightest disruption to a child’s night isn’t going to cause any long term adversity, but missing an opportunity to cherish some time with a loved one just might.