This article originally appeared on Ravishly.
Sometimes, I leave the house and get together with friends in a place that will give us nachos and margaritas, and then more nachos. I leave my apron hanging in the kitchen. I put on my fancy clothes (totally Instagramming that). I do my hair and put on my bitchin’ red lipstick. I look freaking stunning. The night is ours, my friends.
Some backstory: I am a parent.
My husband and I have a bundle of kids, and while we have been doing this parent thing for over a decade by now, I have learned so much.
About my children. About society. About life. About myself.
Having children really opens your mind to bigger concepts of what life really is made of. Big picture ideas. Does the dirty kitchen floor really matter when your little 3 year old girl is curled up in your lap, sobbing gently because Snow White was running away from the woodsman and she feels so badly for the poor, scared princess? The floor is not even on my radar at this moment. My entire heart is devoted to comforting and protecting my baby from these tears that are being shed on my breast. When my 6 year old son mentions that he has to pee when we are hanging out on an isolated beach, and we tentatively advise him to find a bush hidden away next to the sand dunes (hey, no judging).
Yet, when we look back to check on him, we see him standing at the very top of the tallest sand dune with his tan overalls bunched around his ankles, peeing into freedom.
That is a parenting moment I could never reproduce or replace, and the euphoric joy my husband and I felt as we laughed at the simple misunderstanding is a euphoric joy that fuels parenthood.
Parenting Moment: Following in her mother’s footsteps with good taste in lipstick.
Being a mother has changed everything about how I was planning on living my life. I love my family, and I love all of my children more than life itself.
Sometimes, I leave the house. I leave my apron hanging in the kitchen, and I put my fancy clothes on that will totally go on Instagram tonight. I brush my hair and put on my bitchin’ red lipstick, and I look freaking stunning. My 4″ sparkly heels are the sound of liberation as they land definitevly on the tile entry way of a local restaurant where I am getting together with girl friends. We order nachos and margaritas; and maybe more nachos, after that. The night is ours, my friends.
My killer, “I’m going out tonight” shoes.
Until 9pm, when we have to head home and pay the babysitter; and even after the babysitter leaves, I have the quiet house full of slumbering children, well fed on pizza I ordered before I left (perhaps as outright bribery to let me go out for an evening).
I love going out with girlfriends. I love laughing with them, I love talking with adults and I love relaxing with my girls.
But I swear to you….
If I go to another Girls’ Night Out event and have to talk about which diapers we have used, or how to make sandwiches that kids will eat, or how lemon essential oils will take gum out of your kids’ hair…
I am seriously going to start punching people in the face.
Listen: We are all in this parenting thing together. We are all doing the best we can, and we can all learn from each other, no doubt. No doubt.
But if we have a babysitter at home watching the kids, and we are wearing our grown-up clothes and our very favorite heels…we are not talking shop.
I am talking about adult stuff. I’m talking about the Pope, I’m talking about the government, I’m talking about the recent societal uproar, I’m talking about social issues, I’m talking about big ideas…I am using the rest of my brain that still remembers how to use polysyllabic words in consecutive sentences, and that isn’t devoted to worrying about what diaper cream we are using.
There are 5 conversations that come up, in particular, that I will put my shiny heel down. Unless you just got out of the hospital with your first baby, unless you are having a serious crisis, unless you honestly need to discuss this for a very particular purpose….just like our favorite song says: We need to Let these conversations Go:
5. Naptimes. Bedtimes. Reading times. Poop times.
Omg, it’s just a day. A day with kids. You are going to be feeding them, putting them to bed, playing with them, reading with them, schooling with them, eating with them, walking with them…some days you are practically breathing with them.
Although it is interesting to talk shop with other parents, if we are having a Girls’ Night Out..I am not talking shop.
We do not need to spend the evening talking about how to form the perfect naptime schedule. Message me on facebook about your ideas on how to get your wiggly 4 year old to keep taking naps, or email me with some Babble article you read on how to create a sticker chart for your infant. But if I am holding an Amber beer in my hand, I am not talking about naptimes. I swear, my eyes just glaze over once I hear buzz words like ” Baby-led positive self-regulating attachment naptime schedule competence.” If I hear this from your lips, I am ordering you 3 more martinis and getting you shit-faced until you start solving the world’s problems based on this crazy theory you had when you were 22, and then driving your relaxed, adult ass back home.
Girlfriends gotta stick up for each other.
4. What to feed the kids.
I am going to be so humbug about this, but hear me out.
Feed them food.
3. How to clean the house
I hate cleaning the house. I clean my house because we have 7 people here, and I may, or may not, be the worst offender of leaving cups around the house. Laundry is the bane of my existence, and I love Lysol wipes in unnatural ways. Mirrors, windows, toilets, doorknobs, blankets, cars…they’re awesome.
I remember one weekend, many years ago, when I was on some organized “retreat” with other women who were also part of an organization for mothers. We were watching this video on how to be better mothers. The woman I went with was sitting next to me, and we were both sitting in a room full of attentive young women who were eager to learn from older women about how to love their families in real and authentic ways. I don’t know about them, but I was very interested in what they were going to talk about. I love learning new things!
And I swear to you, we listened to this nonsense about how to clean your kitchen counters and what percentage of the counter space should be occupied, and 15% of your kitchen table should be used for centerpieces, “but no more than 15%, or it starts to get crowded…”
I was stuck at that event, because I was the coordinator for a freaking international mother’s group and I had to go…but my brain began melting, and I could only write my thoughts about what a ridiculous waste of time this was in a notebook, because everyone else seemed to love these ideas.
Here’s the deal: if you love organizing your kitchen, that is great. More power to you. If we are shoving nachos into our faces, the percentage of counter space available in my kitchen is the last thing on my mind. Besides, maybe, the GNP of Amsterdam. That might be the penultimate thing on my mind, followed by the counter space available in my kitchen.
2. My period.
Ladies, we have been getting our periods ever since we were 12.
Most of us get them every single month.
I get my period exactly 3 weeks after I stop bleeding from birth, so I have no break other than pregnancy. It is a constant in life that I can always rely on.
I don’t need to talk about it, in detail, at all. It has nothing to do with being embarrassed, or feeling uncomfortable about talking about menstruation, or getting grossed out by it. I have been changing diapers for 10 years. There has been poop on things in my house that I never expected. Menstruation is not even factoring on my gross-out meter.
There are just better, more thought-provoking things to talk about other than our periods.
Another Bloody Mary? Don’t mind if I do….
1. My birth story.
It was exciting when it first happened…of course it was!! It was birth!! The miracle of life! FROM MY BODY.
I was an incredible, life changing moment.
But it has also been quite a few years, and it’s just not my main focus of conversation anymore. Again, unless you just had a baby, unless you are going to have a baby, unless it honestly just comes up in conversation: Even though this is an enormous, life-altering, incredible and amazing event that we have all gone through…
we actually don’t need to rehash the details of our epidurals over cocktails. 5 million times. We’ve all done it, and your youngest is 14 years old. Let’s move on, shall we?
Now, if you will please pass the salt, we can get this party started.
Nails done. I am ready to go.