Swapping the rattle for a cocktail: Parents Night Out

As your mouth slowly falls open during the morning commute nap and you miss your station stop, you realize something has changed. The dark circles become permanent and unwelcome additions to your eyes. When you were young, sleep was ‘for the weak’ but at least it was an option. Now sleep is merely a mirage on the horizon that never quite materialises. Your work clothes are never as crisp as they once were. The smug twenty something colleague sitting across from you always points it out when you wear the same shirt two days running.

When you bring children into the world it is easy to tell yourself that you’ll keep your social life and be the cool, coffee house savvy parents that everyone still invites to their dinner parties. Unfortunately you cannot have contemplated the permanent and unrelenting responsibility that father and motherhood inexorably injects into your world. Organising your own life can be a challenge in today’s excessively busy environment where technology has fed our perceived capacity to be everywhere all the time.

When a whole new life depends on you as parents you can quickly forget to allocate enough fun time for yourselves. The school-night pub sessions, cocktail happy hours that went on until dawn, spontaneous trips away, last-minute theatre ticket swoops and weekends spent entirely in bed together are all in the cross hairs of your children’s water pistols. Your way out of the deadlock of cooking, washing, laundry, cleaning, working, not sleeping and repeating is a babysitter and a parents’ night out.

Ideas for the great parental escape

You could turn the concept of date night on its head and book a day off work together. Daytime dates mean you haven’t spent the day at work tearing your hair out and you’ll have more energy for each other. If the weather is nice and the kids are with a friend or at school do something energetic to get the adrenaline up.

Revisit a favourite date spot or restaurant together. Sometimes it is easy to forget the things you are passionate about beneath the weight of responsibility. If your love life is suffering for a lack of privacy, you could send your baby sitter out with the kids to a movie or dinner and stay in to bask in each other’s company for once. A night in a fancy hotel can help you both feel the escapism of a holiday, if only for a short while, and the privacy of a suite can re-energise the intimacy of the relationship.

Make sure you both have an input into the plans as well. Spontaneity can be thrilling but where time is precious to the two of you it will make for a happier, less risky experience all round if you both know what you have to look forward to. Try not to make excuses either. There is always a way. The Guardian make the valid point that letting your children know being an adult is, and can be, fun is crucial. Letting them grow up to believe that adult life is one giant ‘to do’ list will not bode well for a positive or adventurous outlook.