Not going out

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It may be a cliche but I think that I can count the number of times I’ve been out socially, without the children since EJ was born, nearly 22 months ago, on one hand (possibly one finger*) *slight exaggeration.

Lately this has been getting me down somewhat. I miss having a social life, going to the cinema, arranging to get together with friends, being part of a book group, offering my extremely niche general knowledge (the capital of New Hampshire and the year The Wizard of Oz was released anyone?) to our former pub quiz team, you get the idea. Even when JJ had turned two and we had yet to convert that second twinkle into EJ, I was managing to attend regular zumba classes with a friend and the social world looked set to open up again slightly.

But then along came EJ and I was forced to recognise two major ‘no entry’ signs on the road back to a social life. Firstly, a second child, and in particular, having two pre-school children, so lacking any kind of independence, or the maturity to be reasoned with, can be stressful for one adult to deal with alone, particularly of an evening when the witching hour is in full swing. I’m sure there are some lucky people out there who have calm, compliant children – my exploration of the ‘no tantrum’ phenomenon has clued me into this unfamiliar circumstance, however, I have a little terror in the shape one impossibly unreasonable four year oldwho can quite quickly work his litte brother up into a state of manic high energy with chasing, wrestling and frantic leaping off beds and climbing up onto window frames – apparently having saved this physical and mental mania especially for bedtime – the point at which I have generally already been rudely introduced to the end of my tether!  Now imagine expecting someone else to deal with this alone – even my parents. Even my husband!!

Which leads me on to my second No Entry sign. The fact that the hubster works some pretty random and varied shifts, often out at work in the evenings and at weekends. And when he’s not working, he has maintained regular gym attendances and does both ad hoc and organised runs.

I guess its impossible when you are in this situation not to look at each other with some degree of envy or at least a feeling of being left out, when/if one of us gets the rare opportunity to ‘go out’. This negative emotion is also responsible for a lack of forward planning that involves any kind of child free time. Sometimes its just easier not to ‘rock the boat’ (“watch out, give a shout, into the water we go!”).

For all of these reasons I was amazed to stumble into a rare opportunity for a night out last Saturday. The hubster had been working and I was staying overnight at my parents’ with the boys. Some time ago I had received an invitation to the 40th Birthday party of an old friend and work colleague who lives closer to my parents than to me, but I hadn’t properly RSVP’d as I had all of these fears and worries whirling around in my head. In the event though, it seemed that the hubster didn’t mind and my parents would already have the children both in bed at their house anyway, so I grabbed up my “Dorothy Shoes” (and yes, sure enough I was approached by another party-goer with shoe-envy asking me where she could get a pair – I don’t think I’ve ever owned a pair of shoes which has led to strangers approaching me before!) and headed off to the heady heights of the local Indoor Bowls Club.

Despite the fact that I was driving, only really knew a handful of people and knew I had to go home to share a room with EJ (who may or may not wake up crying in the early hours), it was liberating to go out, get dressed up (slightly – I really don’t have party clothes any more!), catch up with good friends and have a bit of a dance!

I’m so glad I was able to attend an event which meant a lot to a friend too as I don’t want to be that person who fades away, or gets reassigned to the mental compartment entitled “Sucked into black hole of family life never to be seen again” (you have one of those, right?).

And now, I continue to look to the future and wonder whether I will be able to pick up where I left off with my social life in my mid forites – a decade having passed in a purgatory of tears and tantrums.

Right now I feel this longing for a weekend off – just to maintain my sanity! But all the while I know that child free time will hove back into view eventually and I’m trying to focus on the magic moments rather than the manic moments. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

 

34 thoughts on “Not going out

  1. I get through these days by telling myself they won’t last forever & to enjoy the magic moments, too! I venture out without the kids once in a while, but it’s pretty rare! And a date night – practically never seen! Glad you did get to your party & we’ll get out again one day…!

  2. I really relate to this, with a two year old and nine month old. My baby is still unsettled in the evenings too and won’t go down with anyone else – she gets up loads too so I can’t leave her yet. I would love just one evening out with friends….. It is hard not having that time out! X

    • It is really hard! Especially when you have a bad day, or week and behaviour is going haywire and you aren’t feeling like you are getting to share the load too much. But I suppose that’s just the burden of motherhood we all have to bear and one day all our hard work will have paid off and we’ll have a beautiful grown up family to socialise and laugh with!

  3. If it makes you feel any better, I could have written the paragraph on the witching hour myself! It’s such hard work on your own’ guess that’s why it has been given that phrase!

    Glad you enjoyed your night out hon. I’m rubbish at socialising in the evening these days and can only manage lunch time catch ups. I prefer it this way as I gt the best of all worlds 🙂 #sharewithme

    • I know what you mean about socialising in the evening – sometimes if an opportunity does present itself I’m thinking, actually, I’ll get behind on my blogging/won’t be able to read my book/watch my movie or just soak in the bath and go to bed early! Sob! 🙂

  4. I can really relate with two under two as well hunny. Until recently I had no family around to help babysit and like you Mr P sometimes works late and maintains his gym sessions and golf so I was feeling the same. It’s natural to be a bit envious of the other we as mommies really do have it a bit tougher in a different way. Good for you for getting out and getting dressed up to talk to adults which feels amazing sometimes when you have spoke to kiddies in kiddy talk all week long. Make sure you make ME time for yourself it is so important and not only will make you enjoy and be calmer even when the kids are going crazy it will make even those moments special. They won’t be young forever and slowly you will start to see light at the end of the tunnel and a new type of social life appear. I can give advice but I too am trying to be better at making time for me. It’s only fair in life. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With me #sharewithme

    • I guess I’m lucky in that I do work part time so I don’t have the whole kiddie speak thing all week long! I have enough of it though! I think sometimes with the blogging too – although we all love it – sometimes we set our own bar a bit high and then it can become a bit draining. I’ll definitely keep trying to make me time though! Thanks so much for hosting – doing a brilliant job hon X

  5. Totally relate to this, as do many I think. It just feels easier not to organise a night out because of the additional hassle’s involved. I’m longing for a bit of ‘me time’ right now I have to say. So glad you got to go out and enjoy yourself x

    • This is why I was so desperately gutted when I realised I’d double booked myself for BritMums Live Iona – that two days was going to be an oasis of sanity inducing me time and adult company away from the madhouse! Oh well. Next time maybe…

  6. I know exactly the way you feel, its hard for me as I am on my own but slowly I think you do begin to get some life back I make the most of time to myself which has been rare lately but I will be going back to work next week so that will become my social life! great post #sharewithme

    • I work part time and whilst it is a great joy to have somewhere to go legitamately without bubs in tow, I don’t consider it a social life really! I need heart to heart chats over cocktails or failing that a spa weekend! 🙂

  7. I can really relate to your post, Sam! Sometimes, it feels like you never ever stop for a second and do not get any time for yourself at all. Not easy. We have the witching hour at home, too! Mel #SharewithMe

    • It must be even more so for you Mel, with three going on four – I really admire that you are brave enough to go for it with a big family – I think it becomes a lot more fun as they get older when there’s more of them!! X

  8. My kids are older and it’s still hard to go out in the evenings. It seems that the preschool years lead into the school age years with all their activities and obligations. It’s hard to carve out an evening, but I do enjoy going to lunch or getting out during the day while they’re at school. Good for you for attending the party! Also, your shoes are really cute! 🙂 #sharewithme

    • Aw thanks Marie! What I’m hoping is that despite the fact that there will still be lots of contraints when they’re older, we will be able to enjoy more outings together as a family – you know evening BBQs and proms in the park and stuff like that in the summer. It will all be more civilised… pretty please! 🙂

  9. Ah Sam, it is hard enough to get out with one child let alone two – I am not relishing that! My parents are quite good about babysitting Monkey but I’m not sure how they’d manage with two, especially when the baby is little! I’ve started to have a vague panic about it and am trying desperately to arrange some time catching up with friends in the next few months before I get too preggo as when baba arrives I know it won’t happen for some time! Hubby is good at giving me time too, but again one child is not the same as 2! Having said that, my friend, who has an erm energetic 3 yr old boy and a 1 yr old girl, recently went away for the weekend, leaving daddy with the kids, and actually he coped really well. He’d never even spent a whole day on his own with them both before and was thrown in the deep and did really well, so you never know! xx #sharewithme oh, glad you went out and got some more lovely compliments about your amazing shoes!! xx

    • Thanks Caroline – I still can’t imagine being able to get away from my two for longer than a couple of evening hours – let alone thinking about how anxious it might make me if I ever did! I think it will get easier as they get older though – I’m hoping that at 4 and 7 they will be a bit more user-friendly from a baby-sitter POV (including grandparents & daddy!!). Yep, fun to have another excuse to get the glitter shoes out of their box! X

  10. I am going through a similar thing. Now that I have two children, and am a SAHM,I rarely get to go out. I miss after work drinks or meeting up with friends. I wish we lived closer. I think we’d have such fun. BTW, have I mentioned that I love your blog redesign? #sharewithme

    • I’m often over your way of a weekend – we should go for a cheeky cocktail down on the riverside one evening if the planets align correctly! Thanks for the compliment on the blog too X

  11. I can totally relate to this!!!. My kids are 9, 6 and 13 months Saturday gone i went out for the 1st time since conceiving my youngest… I had nothing to wear haha, it had been that long that i forgot i stored my party shoes at my mums house in the spare room (my old bedroom) and she put them in the loft! lol. So i ended up going out wearing my everyday day stuff, but added some bling to show i made the effort. Sometimes i cant wait for all my kids to be older so i can have some me time, but then i dont want them to grow up, because there just sooooo squishy lol 🙂 #ShareWithMe

  12. Gorgeous shoes! So pleased you got to go out and show them off. It’s a tricky time, I have the will but not the energy to get out these days. I look forward to it so much, then come the night, I’m hit with a massive wave of exhaustion! It’s worth it when I battle through though. Great post. #Sharewithme

    • I know exactly what you mean – it seems like a good idea but then you need the stamina too which can be hard to muster when you’ve been up for 14 hours when the evening begins!

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