I recently talked about making sure to find time for yourself. The suggestions I made in that post were all things you can do at home, with the kids home. But what if you actually want to go out for a night? Whether alone or with other moms, there’s always a way to get a night out that helps you relax.
Here are just a few ideas.
- Go to a movie. Yes, I know. People look at you strange when you go to a movie alone. So what? Go anyway! Movie tickets can be pricey for the whole family, but if you go alone, it’s not too bad. And if you want to save a little money, take a big purse and sneak in your own snack and drink (sh…don’t tell!).
- Have a little picnic in the park. Okay, so this requires you to head out earlier in the evening, so that you’re not alone in the park after dark. But it can be fun to pack up or pick up dinner (many of your casual dining restaurants like Chili’s and Applebee’s have curbside service so you can get your food to go) and spread a sheet or blanket on the grass. Eat dinner while listening to some quiet music, reading, or simply enjoying the beauty of the early evening (or late afternoon, or late morning, whatever!).
- Do a little window shopping. If you have no self control, or if looking at things you can’t have just depresses you, this may not be a good option for you. But I know that I sometimes enjoy looking at things I’d like to get my kids for Christmas, or new cooking utensils, or walking down a spice aisle and checking out the new blends, or being in a bookstore.
- Take a good book and go to a coffee shop. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery for a mundane thing to feel refreshing again. Take your book (or your Kindle or Nook) and head to Panera, Starbucks, or your local mom and pop diner or coffee shop, order a hot or cold drink (depending on your weather) and a yummy dessert or meal, and enjoy. Tip your waitress well, if you have one, but this is usually a very inexpensive option. You have the luxury of some uninterrupted reading time, and a delicious treat you don’t have to share with anyone.
With the ladies:
Often, after we become parents, we don’t find the same pleasure in things like nightclubs, bars, and other places like that. So sometimes, we find ourselves at a loss for what to do for a mom’s night out.
- Dessert and drinks. A group of my friends and I would meet at Panera’s for dessert and drinks. We chose Panera’s for the ability to just get a drink, or to get a baked good or even an entire dinner. This allowed us to choose to either eat at home with our kids or to feed the kids and enjoy our own meal later.
- Late night dinner. It might be a second dinner, or just a big snack, but sometimes you can extend something from earlier in the evening (say, a movie or the dessert and drinks from above), and enjoy more time out. I think the best mom’s night out I had was when we met at Panera’s and moved on to Steak ‘n’ Shake after Panera’s closed. The conversations and laughs we had that night left me relaxed and content for days afterward. If you go at the right time, you’ll find there aren’t any crowds, which not only makes for better and faster service, but you can relax and have some real discussions that you wouldn’t have if you were worried about other people possibly overhearing you.
- Mom’s night in. Instead of going out, why not stay in? Have a movie night at one friend’s house. Have a mani-pedi evening, and give everyone beautiful nails (or do makeovers!). Maybe turn it into a teaching experience. Maybe one friend knows how to cook a special style of food or another friend knows how to knit. You can take turns hosting and teaching the others your special skill. You can save on the costs by having everyone bring something (if cooking, everyone can bring one ingredient; if knitting, everyone brings their own yarn and needles, etc.).
- Comedy club. Not every town has one, so you might have to travel a bit if your town doesn’t. But comedy clubs can be a great way to destress and enjoy a night out with your friends. You’re certain to have a lot of laughs (whether at the jokes or at how bad the comedian is). It might be a bit pricier than the other suggestions on the list, as there might be a cover charge and a food or drink minimum, but it’s worth checking into, if comedy is your thing.
Naturally, you want to make sure you have a reliable, trusted babysitter for the kids while you’re out, and you should make sure that your cell phone is on, charged, and with the ringer turned up loud enough to hear wherever you might be. But whether you get a break when your kids go to their father’s for visitation, or you only get a break when you hire a sitter and make one, it’s important to remember that you need time away from your kids. As much as you love them and enjoy your time with them, all mothers need a chance to be alone, and/or to be with other mothers, so they can relax, have adult conversation, vent, and get advice/suggestions/ideas. Don’t feel guilty about taking a few hours once or twice a month (or more often if you need it) to enjoy some time as an adult, instead of just a mother.