The text read: “Let’s do dinner Saturday night?”
Never has a simpler suggestion filled me with such dread.
Why? Because of the immaculately-planned moving parts involved in such a loaded question.
To begin with: Who is going to look after my child? Do I have to ask for a favor from a family member, or leave my child with an unknown student babysitter who is going to expect me to order her food, and then pay for an Uber back home? Or do I have to pore over the calendar with the nanny, reducing hours elsewhere for a sleepover that night? Suddenly this little dinner has cost me $100 before I’ve even stepped foot out the door.
Always someone of the, shall we say, fashionably-late variety, my time management skills have improved exponentially after having a baby because I have to time everything in reverse. I know my husband is laughing as he reads that sentence, because I'm still always late, but I mean, he doesn't understand the zillion stars that need to align in order for me to get my coat on in time (now I have a baby to use as an excuse - yesss!)
Let's see, I need to be up at 6am, so I should really be home by midnight at the latest. Realistically I’ll be in bed by 12.30 (after much creeping around trying not to wake the baby).
Hello?! Home by midnight?!
Midnight was when things got started, not when my night ended! Those were the days! But seriously, it means dinner has to be at 8.30 in order to fit in a leisurely conversation, interrupted by multiple glances at my phone, and then followed by a drink somewhere else, so I don’t feel like a total loser (yawn!) Ok, so I must put the baby down by 7.00pm, which leaves me 45 minutes to get ready.
You see how every minute has to be accounted for? This doesn’t include on-the-day-of buffers for if the baby won’t sleep, or if my older son “walks” me to the elevator by clutching my leg and screaming “Don’t goooo!” all the way, alerting each of our neighbours to the departure of his heartless mother.
Ugh, and if the baby wakes up at night (lolz, ‘if’) then my precious few hours of sleep is shot to shit. All this planning is already giving me anxiety and between bathtime, bedtime, and getting ready, I’m tired before even I leave the house.
“Then let’s cancel,” says my husband.
Crazy. As. F@$k.
As exhausted as I’m going to be tomorrow, I need to do something to remind me that between the sleep deprivation, closetful of clothes that still don’t fit, and barrage of tiny human excrement to be disposed of every few hours, there is the glam, old (dare I say, new and improved,) me in there somewhere. Just don’t give me a glass of red or I’ll be nodding off in my penne. Or rather, DO give me that delicious Pinot and let me doze a little (your company is scintillating, I promise). But obviously, wake me up for dessert. Because, chocolate.
Moral of the story: Don’t stop asking a new mom to dinner. She needs it. Once her baby is a little older she will venture out at 8.30 or 9.00, but now...9.00pm is bedtime. For her.
And if you’re a brand new mom, try to make it happen. Even though it requires the precision of a Swiss watchmaker to plan, it’s totally worth it. We’re having dinner tonight with some friends who are new parents. Dinner is at 7, previously known as the preferred dining-out hour of the aged, and now of the freshly-parented. So you know, I have to go get ready ASAP. Yes, At 4pm.
Whatevs, I’m still so cool. Because I say things like“whatevs.” AmIRite?
Did you acquire new time-management (or otherworldly) skills once you became a parent? I'd love to know!