4 May 2015

The Parent Trap

Don't be fooled, this isn't us on a date. The kids are hiding either side of us. 

Since John and I became parents around four and a half years ago, we have been out, on our own, without the kids in tow, about a handful of times, literally, no more than five or six times. And these “nights off” consisted mostly of just having a meal somewhere, clock watching frantically not to take liberties of the kindness of our babysitters, and mostly being back within two hours, three max.

This is mostly down to circumstance, not lack of will. We would LOVE to go on regular “date nights” like most couples do, or even just join our friends on a big night out, where we can have a laugh, as many drinks as we like, safe in the knowledge that we don’t have to be up early in the morning, looking after the kids with a massive hangover *Let’s face it, there is literally NOTHING worse than looking after kids with a hangover!*.

The problem is that we haven’t got family nearby who could help out, even though both sets of grandparents would be more than willing to and are also saddened by the fact that they can’t help. But it is what it is. My parents live far away in Germany, and John’s parents in Wales, so this option is out of the question.

And because we are both only children, we haven’t got any siblings either, who might be willing to step in.

This is a real bummer when it comes to just having some couples time, sans kids. We are almost always functioning as parents and very rarely just as Isabella and John.

Most of my friends with kids have got parents nearby and are able to “ship off” the kids for evenings - heck, whole weekends at a time! -  and go on hotel breaks and nights out and weekends away. We, on the other hand, have never ever been away over night without the kids.

The scenarios are usually like this:

- Either I go out or John goes out, separately, while the other one watches the kids and looks after them while the other nurses their hangover the next morning.

- We enlist babysitters (which we very rarely do) and go out for two hours or so and then rush back so we don’t take up too much of our sitter’s time. This is particularly the case, when it’s just our friends who have volunteered and are giving up their own time for free, and since we moved, we haven’t actually been able to call on them anyway. We had a babysitter once last year, a girl from Becky’s nursery, and this was a good option, but I was heavily pregnant at the time and couldn’t drink and it was hardly party central, and since Alex has come along, we haven’t dared yet to ask her back and leave her with two kids at the same time.

- We do dinner dates with our friends (who also have kids) at each other’s houses, where we have the occasional drink, but where one of us always has to stay sober to drive back, and where we stay out till 8pm-ish, max. Ok, 9pm, if we really push the boat out and the kids go to bed late. But that’s it.

I do believe that it’s important for parents to take time to function outside of their Mummy and Daddy role, but unfortunately, we haven’t got that luxury. We are literally stuck in a bit of a parent trap.

I know there are worse things in life, and of course most of the time we are extremely happy to be parents 24/7 *cough*, but I’m not going to lie, I’m dreaming of a proper night out – with John – where we can just drink too much and have fun like we had BC (before kids).

Our time will come, I’m sure. Maybe when the kids are teenagers. Come to think of it, that’s when we’ll probably have to ferry them around to and from parties and nurse THEIR hangover rather than ours… Damn!

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1 comment

  1. I'm in same situation, only child and parents up north. Mrs B's parents are in Hertfordshire but still a two hour drive. It's really hard sometimes. We've had a date night and one night away in a year. Makes you really miss your old life however much we love being parents. I wonder if there are networks of parents like us who could do babysitting swaps? Like air bnb for babysitting?


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