How to survive a big night out as a parent

Kinderling News & Features

Being a parent usually involves a lot of Saturday nights at home wearing tracky dacks and watching all the Shrek movies.

But sometimes an important invitation gets sent and that means a babysitter, dangly earrings and heck, even a shower.

For me, life at the moment is about swimming lessons, little kid’s parties, 20-year school reunions and 40th birthday parties. That means a lot of late nights and early mornings, which is a volatile combination. 

Here's my tips for surviving a big night out:

Flying solo

When you first emerge from captivity, it can be terrifying without kids or even your partner by your side. Push through and rediscover your inner party.

Going to an event alone can be intimidating, but can also be exhilarating. There you are swishing off down the road with lippy and heels on. Off into the big wide world for a night of fun. Look at you go!

I sometimes leave home saying, ‘see you guys! I’ll be back soon!’ and end up checking my watch sometime later and it’s 3am and we’re at a dodgy karaoke bar. Those are great nights.

Above all, don't feel guilty about having a good time. These opportunities come along but once in a while so live it up.

Trust me. Next weekend, you’ll be slipping on your elasticised pants and watching Frozen again.

Getting ready 

You may have grand plans: nails done, ironing, a leisurely glass of wine in the bath while getting ready. But this will never happen.

Suddenly it'll be 6pm, the babysitter has just arrived and you haven’t even had a shower yet and you have to explain all the idiosyncrasies involved in putting the kids to bed.

In the days leading up to the event, make sure  you try on your outfit and like it. There is nothing worse than suddenly hating all your clothes while the Uber is waiting.

Just accept that the kids will be hanging off your elbow while you try to get ready.

Throw a packet of M&Ms over the living room floor if you have to so you can straighten or curl or do whatever with your hair. 

To heel or not to heel?

You miss them, don’t you, ladies? NO, YOU DON’T. Heels are beautiful and evil and they will destroy your night out if you let them. The very high ones are spectacular, but if you don’t really wear heels much, choose comfier ones and have a good night.

Otherwise you will end up with loo paper wrapped around your blistered toes as you do shots of tequila to numb the agony.

Another tip: Don’t do shots. You are not twenty anymore. It will never end well. (I keep learning this one.)

Men don’t get off lightly either with footwear. Those hipster cowboy boots look cool as hell, but your feet will be in hell too. And save the stiff, pointy-toed glorious two tone brogues for a dinner date. And take thongs for the ride home.

Talking about the kids

On a night out, you really should try and steer the talk away from kids. It'll be difficult. Now you're away from them, suddenly they'll become the most hilarious, beautiful creatures . Especially after a few shandies. You might start to get a bit emo and want to show some pics - it'll happen.

Just remember that some people don’t have kids and really don’t care about yours and also may have interesting non-child related stories too.

Handling hangovers

So you woke up with your shoes on and it’s clear you didn’t brush your teeth before bed. That’s a bad sign. That means you didn’t drink a litre of water before bed. It’s going to be a long day.

If you overdid it, there are ways to keep the kids happy and get the sloth-paced day you need as well.

My top tip is fill up a baby pool, order pizza and sit in the water eating it with the kids, followed by Frosty Fruits. All the food groups are covered, and the kids will love it. Get them to perform concerts for you. You can watch and clap and sip water. Can’t you? Of course, you can!

The only thing that could destroy your delicate soul is an impromptu pop in from the in-laws. If you hear the front gate open, or the doorbell buzzing, all run and barricade yourself in the bathroom. Whisper to the kids that you’re playing the ‘silence’ game.

Eventually they will go away and you can get back to your baby pool Frosty Fruit concert. Best. Day. Ever.