I love those brave, inventive, big-hearted, take-life-by-the-horns, enormous pieces of my heart, also known as my kids.
But, you know what?
I also love date night.
That night, the one when the worry doesn’t disappear but significantly shrinks, is my total jam. I get to toss my mom hat in a corner of the closet and bring out a pair of leopard print heels. I button up my favorite mustard yellow dress, the one I wouldn’t dare wear around the kids since it’s one solid color and my kids love ketchup.
I’m going to be brutally honest here: I layer on the makeup—for fun. My lips are bright red, risking the possibility of a smudge or two on my teeth. My eyeshadow is all dark and shimmery and highlights my eyes. My mascara is super thick, the fact that it’s even present at all is really saying something. My hair is wavy and as wild as my attitude.
Like I said, I love my kids, and I am there—literally there—for them nearly all of the time, and this night is my nearly.
My ridiculously debonair husband is GQ-sporting the sunglasses, the scruff, the collared shirt, the make-my-wife-forget-her-name cologne, and it’s working, y’all.
Where do we go when we’re so fantastically dolled up?
You know we’re straight-up swaggering into Chipotle. That chips and queso. Does. Not. Play.
By this point, I’m in a trance. I think I hear myself giggle something like, “There’s no such thing as too much sour cream and cheese.”
Mom, who? Am I right?
I do not care that this dress is snug. I’m eating that burrito until I don’t want to eat that burrito anymore, until my sassiness is at pique play.
Afterward, we might hit the thrift store, we might hit the bike trails, we might go for a long walk and try to solve the world’s problems. I don’t know, it’s all up for grabs.
The night is ours, and I don’t feel an ounce of guilt about that mom hat nestled in my closet and resting until later.
Because that’s just it, isn’t it? The dress, the queso, the unpredictable path—it’s us, resting. Parenting is hard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s intensely rewarding, but it’s hard. And we need to rest. We need to rejuvenate. The truth is, our kids need us to rest too. We’re Mom and Dad, pouring everything we have into this calling, and in order for that to happen, we’ve grown to embrace the recharge and the restart.
If date nights can’t happen, I need something quiet, something ridiculous, something freeing that helps me remember myself, remember that, hey, I’m a pretty good time.
And at the end of the night, I place that mom hat back on my head, as if it’s a crown, and pour two small glasses of milk.
P.S. To all the trusted grandparents and babysitters, not all heroes wear capes. That is unless you’re currently babysitting, then you’re probably all wearing capes.