Thursday, 26 September 2013

Big Night Out

I’m going out with the girls on Saturday.  We haven’t been out for months, and the last time we did it was a civilised affair with cars and a distinct absence of wine.  This time though, we’re out on the town.  New dresses have been bought (what, this old thing?!) and I hear that Z has already started her beautification.  I won’t be far behind her, with a home manicure planned for this evening after Daughter has gone to bed, Husband has gone for his weekly cerebral challenge at the pub quiz with Father, and all is quiet.

I think any thirty-something working mother will agree that sometimes a night out can be more effort than it might seem worth.  Our night out was planned by strategic facebook discussion and put down on the calendar (pen, not pencil).  By our standards, it was fairly easy, and essential that we all get together now to sort out the biggie – the Christmas Night Out.  Husbands have all been instructed they will be staying in, or baby sitters booked.  Bribery chocolate has been bought – ‘I know you don’t want Mummy to go out, but look!  Chocolate orange segments!  And yes, of course you can have a new game on my Kindle.  No, you can’t have Happy Poo Jump.’ – and travel plans are being devised (to the city centre 10  miles away, hardly need the use routeplanner).  Shoes have been tried on, curling tongs dug out.  But it made me think of another life, when nights out just happened.

The weekend used to start on Thursday.  ‘Just for a drink’ usually turned into going to the local nightclub.  A nightclub!  On a Thursday!  And quite often we’d do it on a fiver.  A load of us would pile into L’s ancient estate and off we’d go.  That car was as good as a limousine to us, rolling us up to the door of every club around.  Then it would be Friday, and of course we’d be out that bit later with no work to go to the next day.  And then Saturday!  Pub and club again.  No arrangements were ever really made outside of our small circle, everyone just knew where the rest of the crowd would be.  Sunday was recovery day, sleeping until after midday.  A fortifying roast dinner later, and it would be back out for an intended quiet one.  There was always someone to go out with, always something to wear and always money in our purses.  There was no negotiating of dates, no staring at wardrobes that had nothing suitable in them (despite dramatic cries of ‘I’ve got nothing to wear!’) and always just enough for that last round.

How times have changed.  But one thing has stayed the same.  Nights out with your best girlfriends are like a battery charge.  We’re all mothers of young children, wives, workers, chief cook and bottle washers, and our Saturday daytime events will include children’s parties, the supermarket run, work, several ‘don’t go Mummy!’s and probably all manner of unglamorous tasks that our younger selves would never have ever thought about.  The mirror will reveal creases that didn’t used to be there and maybe even the odd grey hair.  But after that first glass of wine, and when all the child/husband/work/parents/fortnightly bin collection moans are drowned in the second glass,  onlookers won’t see an exhausted group of women in their thirties and forties.  They’ll see a group of friends who might as well be 22 again, because they’re having just as much fun as they did then.  If only L’s estate was still on the road..!

Friday, 20 September 2013


When  I've lost some weight, I'll buy some new clothes.

When Daughter is a bit older, she'll stop sneaking in our bed at night.

...and will eat the same food as us

...and will stop following me to the toilet.

When I've organised those drawers, I won't let them get messy again.

When I've paid off my credit card, I'll never use it again.


More lists.  One of my favourite time wastes is the 'when I win the lottery' game.  Best played in particularly boring meetings when you're very certain you won't be called on to contribute.  At your own peril, of course.  When I win the lottery (and I don't mean one of those measly £2.80 wins you can get on the Euromillions - how do they even work that out?!) won't life be grand.  I'll never cook another meal again.  Ironing - I laugh at creases as someone else magics them away.  I'll do each end of the school day, apart from when I'm off having a spa day, of course.  I'll be the volunteering mummy at school.  I'll get a gym membership and go every day.  I'll single handedly boost the economy with my shopping expeditions.  Imagine.  What did the advert used to could be you!  Except in all the years the lottery has been around I've never won more than a tenner.  So maybe it's time for plan B just in case.  Because you can't live your life waiting for when.  So...

I'll buy some clothes next time I see something I fancy.

I'll appreciate Daughter wanting to be close to me while she does.  One day I'll be a horrendous embarrassment to her and she won't acknowledge me in public.

I'll be glad that she has something to eat regardless of what it is.

I'll be glad of the company while I'm on the toilet.  No I won't, I can't pretend.  One day, I'll manage to lock the door before she sneaks in.

So what if the drawers get messy?  I'll tidy them again.

I really will try to avoid using my credit card.  But no promises.

Sometimes you plan and plan and life kicks you in the teeth and all your plans disappear in a puff of smoke.  And if the kick was a big enough one, you realise that some stuff just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life, like tidy drawers.  It doesn't hurt to plan.  I'm in education - I know that I've spouted the old 'fail to plan, plan to fail!' patter to students, and I believe that in education.  And you know that I enjoy a list.  But sometimes, as alien as it might feel, dip your toe in the flow and see if you can go with it.  Or, keep waiting for when and risk missing out on some fun along the way.  I'm going to try, andI'm not even going to put it on my list!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

First ever blog

I've never thought about blogging before.  If I'm honest, I'm not the most tech-savvy person around.  But I was shown how to do it in work and thought - why not!  I can't imagine that anyone would want to read my blog, but then again I read other people's.

I'm still not entirely sure how to reach the world, but I think I've made it look pretty and so there's something ticked off the list.

My question is 'will I ever make it to the top of my own list?'.  When I was young and single, I was always top of my list.  Then I got married, and I had someone else to put on the list.  I still made it in the top quarter of my list though.  Then I got a more important job, and work things started creeping on the list.  To have separate home and work lists or not?  Can I manage two lists?  I can never manage two bingo cards (eyes down!).  And then came the addition.  My beautiful girl.  She didn't intrude on the list too much when she was a baby - 'buy nappies', 'take baby for jabs', 'sleep when baby is sleeping' (the most hilariously unattainable piece of parenting advise doled out to new mothers), but otherwise she was a list minimalist.  And being the good daytime sleeper that she was, maternity leave brought a new opportunity to achieve the list.  But then eventually I was catapulted into this new world of The Working Mother.  And boy, it's tough out there.

Have you got a to-do list?  What's at the top?  For me, top two places are occupied by 'clean the couches' and 'sort out airing cupboard'.  I'd like to tell you that the next item is 'book mini-break to Paris', but alas not. I won't bore you with the rest of my domestic needs, but you get my point.  Should I set myself a weekly challenge to include something for me in the top five items?  Is that a list item in itself?!  I'm ahead of the game there as I've booked an indulgent post-work spa treatment next week.

On that note, I'm off to tackle some of the things on the list.  Maybe I should start a wish list rather than a to-do list.  And somewhere on it will be 'escape the rat race and find a lovely way to earn a crust by being self-employed'.  Surely that would generate it's own list entirely!