Girls’ Night Out, Mom Style
Do you remember what girls’ night out used to look like before kids?
These days, the formula for a great evening out has changed.
The plan. First, a “night out” generally means dinner instead of a multi-stop evening with drinks, dancing, or bar hopping. If we are feeling really crazy, we head to a café after our meal for coffee and dessert. The coffee, of course, is decaf, because I can no longer drink caffeine after 2 p.m. without being up half of the night. Regardless of what time I get home, the kids will still be awake just as early in the morning.
Timing. Instead of meeting friends at 10:00 – or even 8:00 – a successful night begins no later than 5:30 or 6:00 for two key reasons:
(1) I can take a break from the dinner and bedtime chaos with the kids.
(2) I can socialize with my girlfriends long enough to enjoy it but be done early enough that I don’t fall into a coma.
Location. While the restaurant does not need to be expensive (everyone's on a budget now anyway), we seek out restaurants where you don’t find many children and that are quiet enough for conversation. That means we avoid locations touting a kids' menu, free refills, and giant TV screens. We also make a reservation to make sure we can monitor our time.
The company. While we might be heading out a little earlier these days, the best part now is how much we savor the time together. Because there are more obligations on our time, we appreciate our company so much more. The conversation is always full of laughter and covers every topic we can muster, from home and kids to work and marriage. While our cell phones stay within view in case something arises at home, no one aimlessly scrolls during our time together. We value the companionship and the wisdom our friends provide. I always go home feeling recharged, content, and thankful.
Bonus night. As a recent dinner wrapped up with my friend Sarah, I laughed as we both pulled out our grocery lists. Because yes, it's true: The most exciting way we could envision wrapping up our Saturday night was to grocery shop unencumbered at 9:30 p.m., when the aisles are clear and our children are home in bed.
That, my friends, is a great night.