It was a great idea when we planned it months ago. A night out with one of our favorite couples. We both lined up sitters. We were going to be kid-free and out for the night — just like old times.
My girls had been begging GG and Papa for a sleepover, and we needed a night away. But then, my friend texted me that morning that her daughter was puking and they were not going to be able to join us.
Since our girls were already stoked about their sleepover, Paul and I decided that we would still go out and have a date night. However, I forgot what all that entailed.
First, there is the packing for a night away. They needed an extra outfit for that evening — just in case, extra undies (because you never know), pajamas and church clothes (and Miss Maylie likes options). They needed bows, socks and toothbrushes. Of course, they had to take some of their favorites toys, and don’t forget their sleeping bags.
By the time we finally had baths, hair done, gotten dressed, shoes on (for the third time), and were ready to go, this Mama was more than ready for a night out. We shared hugs and kisses and the girls more or less pushed us out the door. And we were off.
We started with dinner. The girls started with dinner as well, and Aunt Nikki, Bray and Brandy joined in. I thought about the chaos they were experiencing — four kids on one side of the booth. She sent pics, and I kept checking my phone for updates.
Paul and I were lost in silence for the first 10 minutes. Usually, we can’t get a word in edgewise at dinner. If we start to talk to each other, the girls always have something more important to say. It was almost awkward that, in a room full of people, it felt so lonely.
Don’t get me wrong, it was great to spend time with my husband! We eventually were able to discuss work, life and our excitement about the evening — completely uninterrupted! The service was great, the food spectacular and 45 minutes later we were finished and unsure of what to do next.
Typically, we have baths to run, books to read and bedtime to attack. That night, we had a blank slate and realized that we were so used to our babies being the brushes and paint that we were practically lost.
We had some friends out across town and were able to grab a Lyft to meet them. (Thank you, Lima for getting Lyft!) Paul and I both ran into people we went to high school with. It was great to catch up. We shared our successes and mainly talked about our babies — because, well, our girls are pretty much the coolest things we have ever done.
The next morning, I met GG at church. I was a little late (darn it, I couldn’t even blame it on the girls this time!) And when I got there, my exhausted little Reagan was sobbing at the door of her classroom. You know, the pitiful, can’t-breathe cry, “I want my mommmmy!”
My heart broke. My poor baby! I swooped her up and held her tight. She joined me in “big church” and slept on my chest all cuddled up and safe. I was gone one night and it felt like a lifetime. I never cherished her snuggles as much as I did in that moment.
We then had an “adventurous” day with two extremely tired girls who had gotten nowhere near enough sleep and had no desire to follow any directions. We ended that night as a worn-out family who all needed an extra day of rest before the work week.
And I, full-time working Mama, felt so guilty for leaving them for a whole evening, night and morning. It was the first time I left them that long on a “normal” schedule, and I felt like I cheated them — cheated us — on our time together.
Oh, I’m sure we will plan another parents night out, because it seems so much better in my mind, and I think it is beneficial to have time away as a couple with other adults.
But, in all honesty, I would have been just as happy spending the evening with our girls, getting them to bed and sharing a bottle of wine and some music with Paul on our loveseat in sweatpants. Then getting up super early — maybe with a slight headache — but with snuggles on the couch with my baby girls.
I guess, maybe, I have officially grown out of the going-out lifestyle. Or maybe, I just grew in to a much better one.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.