I read an article the other day on another blog or some mother’s group page that was talking about mothers going out and partying. One camp (some of the women) hold the idea that once you have children your partying days are over. The other camp strongly believes that it is okay to go out, especially if it is at a time when your kids are asleep and you are not stealing their time. (Of course, they are at home with a sitter)
Which camp is yours?
When my sister had her first child, I watched her pour everything into what my niece needed. She was always dressed in the cutest things, her hair was always beautiful….she was put together. My sister, on the other hand, did not spend even half of the time she used to spend putting herself together pre-baby. She gained weight, dressed like a rag-a-muffin, and almost never did her hair or makeup. She was beautiful without that but, had lost her funk.
This was not the example set for us by our mother. As a matter of fact, because of my mother my idea of what it is to be grown involves sequence dresses, a cocktail, dinner parties, and coffee of course (but the coffee is from dad). My mother was a business woman and she was always dressed in three-piece ladies suits during the day. She easily dressed up at night to go to any number of social events doing her networking as it was done in that day (sounds so long ago)…in person. My mother threw dinner parties, went to symphonies, wore ball gowns and fur coats. As matter of fact, fur coats used to be part of my vision of grown but, I’m a bit wiser and I’m okay without animal fur.
The point is that my mother took care of herself. She enjoyed her adult life without the kids attached which, I believe, made her a better mother. By responsibly enjoying adult only activities she set an example for how we were to move through enjoying our lives once we were older. I learned to drink responsibly by watching my mother drink responsibly in front of me. I learned how to dress up and step out for a fun night on the town by “helping” my mom get ready, watching her apply her makeup, smelling the scent of her freshly sprayed cologne (I hated that cologne) and wondering what fun she was going to have. I wanted to be grown so that I could dress up…be fancy…and go out.
Stealing away time for one’s self as a parent is what leads to better parenting. I am of the camp which stands by a parent’s need to release…a need to go out not as mom or dad but as adult. It is so funny to me because when I go out I often get, “You have three kids? You don’t look like a mom.” I am not sure how to take that because I am, most definitely, a damn good mom. What am I supposed to look like?
Perhaps the problem is with “partying” as a parent. I could see an argument against partying if the definition includes overly heavy drinking, hangovers, and negligence of the kids the morning after due to exhaustion from coming home at the crack of dawn. Sure…in that case, parents should not party. But, if by partying we mean going out for a cocktail, seeing a play, going dancing…then, by all mines get out and shake a leg.
After all, husbands need to date their wives.
Single parents…well…can’t be anything but single if they hide themselves away with the kids.
I am stepping out. Hate me if you want.