In your pre-children days, you used to scoff at the idea of ‘date night’.
Every night is a potential date night when you don’t have to wrestle three children into bed at the end of the day.
When you were pregnant, you swore you’d never become one of those ‘date night’ couples.
You would continue to make sure your relationship always got a lot of attention and that ‘quality time’ was abundant.
And then your baby arrived.
Since then, you’ve totalled about eight hours sleep (in three years), you have forgotten the art of eyebrow plucking and you’ve realised how hard it is to find babysitters. These days it’s rare that you have the energy to do anything but sit comatose in front of the television screen at the end of the day.
Every so often, you yearn for the carefree evenings of your past life. The theatre trips, the cinema outings and the drinks after work. Those are the glory days, and you remember them fondly whilst wearing an outfit made up almost entirely of baby snot.
In an attempt to keep the magic alive (or at least bring it back from the dead), you decide to relive those wonderful days by organising a ‘date night’. It turns out that there is just no other title that truly depicts an evening like that, and so you embrace the term with gusto and look forward to a child-free evening with your partner.
When the big day approaches, it becomes clear that the kids didn’t get the memo about date night. Or, more realistically, they got it, laughed and decided to ruin your fun.
Here are 10 things that always happen on date night:
#1: You Wake Exhausted After Two Hours Sleep
The night before date night is always horrific. What you wanted was eight hours of uninterrupted blissful sleep, so that you’d be able to knock five years off your eye bags and feel at least partly human on your night out. Instead, all of your children took it in turns to wake up every 45 minutes, meaning that your eye bags are now well and truly to the floor. There isn’t a concealer on the planet that could take five years off your sleep deprived face.
#2: You Don’t Have Time To Shower
You know those days where you seem to be two steps behind all day long? You don’t have time to enjoy luxuries like showering, eating lunch or drinking hot cups of tea. Instead you spend the day raging around with a cohort of children, desperately trying to make it to bedtime alive. You keep hoping you’ll eventually catch up and be able to enjoy a bubble bath before date night, but deep down you know that is never going to happen. A pits and bits wash in the sink is the best you can hope for on date night.
#3: You Don’t Get Ready Like A Celebrity
The whole point of the night is to make you feel human again, and yet you’re already failing before even stepping out of the door.
Remember that gorgeous picture of Gisele Bundchen breastfeeding her baby, whilst a team of professional hair and makeup stylists prime her to perfection? You will be a bit like that, but without the team of talented beauticians making you shoot-ready.
You will apply your makeup one handed (a skill you have definitely not perfected. Hello, Dame Edna), wiping a toddler’s snotty nose with your other, breastfeeding the baby hands free (definitely one for the CV), and reading The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
The only positive here is that you usually don’t have time to apply makeup at all, so hopefully the smudged, wonky eyeliner will at least go some way towards making this evening feel special.
#4: Your Favourite Dress Is In The Wash
You know that one dress that hides all the lumps and bumps that pregnancy left behind? The dress that makes you feel young, beautiful and sexy? Yeah, that’s in the wash.
In fact, it’s been in the wash since your last date night. Was that in 2014, or 2012? Anyway, it hasn’t seen the light of day since. It’s crammed in the bottom of your laundry basket, hidden under a pile of muslin cloths, twelve odd toddler socks and a terrifying amount of school uniform, all of which are always in more desperate need of being washed.
You don’t have time for a fashion show, so simply grab whichever dress (sort of) fits you, and shove it on. Your helpful team of tiny stylists immediately accessorise it with a smear of snot, a tiny bit of baby sick and thirty seven dinosaur stickers (all on your bum, so you won’t actually notice them until you get home at the end of your date).
#5: Your Kids Turn Into Velcro
Most days, you can’t convince your kids to spend quality time with you without bribing them. They’re usually more than happy playing together, only calling you when there’s a bum that needs wiping or a tummy that needs filling. On date night, however, this all changes. All of a sudden every single one of your kids need you all day long.
From the moment you wake up until the moment you fall, exhausted, out of the door on the way to your date, you will be covered in children. The baby will need to be held constantly, the toddler will need to hold your hand all day long, and your older child will have a million questions that all need immediate answers.
#6: Your Babysitter Gets Sick
Despite months of warning, your babysitter’s immune system lets you down. All of a sudden it seems that date night might be cancelled, all of this effort for nothing! You ring everybody and anybody you’ve ever met until finally someone says they can help out. You wish them luck and then run gleefully out of door, already mentally ordering your first cocktail.
#7: You Can’t Decide What To Do
There’s nothing on at the theatre, and all of the movie releases look crap. You both sit in the car, desperately trying to come up with something fun to do. You could go for a walk, have a nice meal, or just enjoy an evening in the pub. Obviously, it doesn’t really matter where you end up. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll drink too much and talk about the kids all night.
#8: Your Child Wakes Up As Soon As You Arrive Home…
The fantasy goes something like this, you pay the babysitter and see them out. Then you embrace and slowly make your way to the bedroom. The reality is rubbish. You can hear your child’s cries from the street, and know that the babysitter has predictably not managed to convince anyone to go to sleep. You take a deep breath before opening the front door, only for your wide awake child to run towards you excitedly as soon as you walk in. You give your partner a look that roughly translates as ‘I’ll be two minutes putting him back to bed, and then I’ll meet you in the bedroom, winky face’.
#9: …And Then Starts Projectile Vomiting
You carry your child back upstairs, already planning what you’ll get up to once he’s safely asleep, and then all of a sudden you are covered in projectile vomit. Yep, that wide awake, cling child is actually sick. Of course, because it’s date night. That’s actually one of the symptoms of a sick child. Did you try to enjoy some time to yourself? Yep, then your child is definitely sick. Another spray of vomit lands in your hair before you make it to the toilet. You spend the next forty minutes getting your child bathed and changed, and singing him back to sleep.
#9: Your Partner Falls Asleep
Once your child is safely back in dreamland, you finally get chance to take that shower. Not because you want one, but because you’re now coated in dried sick. After untangling the last chunks of carrot from your hair, you walk into the bedroom and discover that your partner is fast asleep in bed. You consider waking him, but you’re just too damn tired. Happy date night!
For more relationship humour, check out BellyBelly’s article 30 Ways Your Relationship Changes After Having A Baby.