“We need a parents night out” my wife declared on 2nd January. Well it was resolution season so we thought we would add it to the list. How this was going to come about though was beyond me. We were never going to jump off the sofa and head straight for a restaurant or a local bar, we instead took 6 weeks to arrange a day, a time, a babysitter, agree on what to do. This last one might sound trivial, but when you have a parents night out once every blue moon, we somehow find ourselves struggling to decide on the best option. We don’t want to waste any time and we want it to be the best it can be!
So the scene was set, the plans were made, this parents night out was happening! Picture the scenario, it is Friday morning, 8.00am, children are in their coats ready to go to school and nursery. “Am I going to after school club today daddy?” “Yes you are”, was the reply, but not for long, “we are picking you up early so we can have tea and get ready to go out”. “Where are we going?” “Mummy and Daddy are going out for a meal”. Cue pandemonium.
Now there was a varying scale to this anger from our children about our parents night out. Our son, who is 3, pretended not to care, as long as he got some choc choc, or pizza, or a “treat” which we have since discovered is an all-encompassing way of him telling us he wants to commence battle. “Can we have a treat Daddy?” Could mean anything, and it generally does! Our daughter, slightly older and slightly more clued up, went for the emotional angle. She cried, she said she didn’t want us to leave her, pretty much everything a child needs to do to make you feel so bad about going out for a date, that you then don’t want to go.
Well this wasn’t stopping us! After dropping them off and a full day at the office, we were ready for a rest. This parents night out was happening.
Or was it…
You see the thing with children is, no matter how young, they just don’t forget. We had omitted to think, but they have had all day to plan their approach to not letting this happen. What level of bribery would now be required?! I thought I had it nailed, I had pizza. “Don’t want pizza” “I don’t like pizza” “We always have pizza”. Of course none of the 3 statements are true, didn’t stop them from being uttered though!
Getting ready for our parents night out became laborious. After leaving the office at 5.30, going to collect them from school and nursery, getting home and putting their tea in, we had left ourselves a one hour window to get ready. Between us. Of course, around 8 minutes of this were to be allocated to me. It was beginning to feel fruitless – “should we bother…?” “Should we go another night?”
“No!!” My wife insisted. “We haven’t come this far and arranged this to let them win!”
“Yeah but…” Truth was, by this point I was sat happily on the settee, Peroni in hand watching the children eat pizza and watch Mister Maker. A parents night out just didn’t seem appealing!
“You’ve got 8 minutes to get ready!!” I heard. No going back now. Shower, hair wax, outfit, shoes, all in 7.5 minutes. Sounds good, but all I can hear from downstairs are the sounds of 2 children fighting over precisely nothing, and my wife refereeing to the best of her ability. Which as anyone with more than one child will tell you, is pretty much impossible.
I bolted for the door, taxi driver having a go at me for being 2 minutes late (he was himself 4 minutes late but that didn’t enter the equation) and his next pickup was a large party of 12 who might get upset with him. I was past caring. I was seconds from bouncing out the taxi and just walking down the road to the local pub. Luckily, it all became worth it. My wife came out the house, screams in her ears, looking beautiful. Maybe the parents night out would be worthwhile after all…!