Husband and I had the following conversation on a number of occasions pre-Pickle: “Of course, when WE have children, they’ll fit in with OUR lives. We’ll still go out, we won’t be THOSE parents whose WHOLE LIVES become all about the baby.”
And we were deadly serious- not even a hint of sarcasm.
I feel a bit embarrassed about how utterly naive we were about the whole thing. Of course people tried to warn us, but we just brushed them off as scare- mongerers, backwards thinking, so ‘1990s’. We were the social media generation! The multitaskers, the Have-It-All-ers. If we could manage to get on to the UK property ladder in this financial climate, then having an active social life AND a baby was going to be a walk in the park!
Quite simply, we were wrong. So very, very wrong. Laughably wrong.
As those who know me are aware, I am a great wine lover. I was sure that as soon as I popped our little bundle out (Yep, just like that), I’d be indulging in a couple of glasses a week, regularly expressing so as to not pickle our little Pickle, and enjoying languid lunches with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio Blush. I even suggested to Husband that it’d be nice to have a bottle of Tattinger and straw on ice in the delivery room. Well, I don’t think I have ever wanted to drink alcohol less in my entire life than after pushing our little human out into the world. Ugh, the thought of booze turned my stomach for the first two weeks. I started to worry I’d never get the taste back again. When at last it did return, we were in the depths of cluster feeding and the thought of expressing in the 20 minute windows between her supping sessions made me want to cry. When I finally did have a glass of champagne, Pickle acted as if we’d put toxic waste in her bottle rather than the liquid gold result of an hour’s pumping, and point blank refused it, going puce with frustration. This culminated in both her and me crying incessantly, and Husband rubbing his temples a lot. Needless to say it was a good month or two before I even considered a glass of wine again.
It felt like an age before I was ready to contemplate Husband and I leaving Pickle with another responsible adult and going out TOGETHER. But finally, after months of climbing the walls and forgetting what it was like to be a normal human couple, we felt the time was right. So let’s move onto something a little more complex; steps for going out for a date night.
- Choose a night you’re both free.
- Book a table somewhere (even this isn’t always essential).
- Remember to turn up.
That’s literally all you have to do. I can’t believe we didn’t do it more often! It was a breeze!
- Choose a period between growth spurts, teething, cluster feeding and developmental leaps so they won’t terrorise the babysitter with bat-shit crazy behaviour (sometimes completely impossible).
- If breast feeding, calculate when you’re going to pump so you don’t end up crying in the toilets with boobs akin to a plastic model of Lolo Ferrari halfway through the evening. (FYI if you have to take the pump with you then this really can’t be classed as a ‘night out’)
- Find a pre-baby outfit you can still shoehorn your post-baby body into that doesn’t make you weep.
- Ensure you’re both in a fit state to make it through the evening without face planting into your dinner through sheer exhaustion.
- Drill your chosen baby sitter repeatedly on the evening routine (probably best to type it up and laminate it), and impress the importance of not deviating from this one iota if they want any chance of an easy(ish) ride
- Ensure you have a way of getting home quickly incase disaster should ensue- this may mean one of you has to go teetotal (sad face)
And then, after all this organisation, as you’re leaving the house the baby projectile vomits, starts screaming blue murder and spikes a temperature. It’s ok, another opportunity will arise in a few months. Probably.
I don’t regret being wildly optimistic pre-Pickle, and it wouldn’t have mattered how many people told me how difficult getting out would be after she arrived, I still wouldn’t have believed them. I don’t think you can really grasp it until you’re in it. It’s a rite of passage I think we all have to go through. And it’s funny, because you go on and on about how much you need ‘you’ or ‘us’ time, and then when you get it you can’t wait to get home and get a fix of some ‘them’ time. Smelling their little heads after an evening out with other adults is 100% the best night cap in the world.