Date night

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum - Credit: Archant

This Saturday is our wedding anniversary so we are going out for dinner and to do some dancing. Which is a lovely thing to do except it’s just going to be my husband and me.

Going out these days is great because the children are old enough to settle with a babysitter and also easier because I’m not as tired any more. I used to do everything possible, from faking illness to telling my husband that my friend cancelled (even though it was me), to avoid going out because by the time I’d wrangled three children under the age of six to bed, all I wanted to do was watch trash TV and sleep.

It’s only taken ten years to get my energy back. I understand now that, as a parent, if you don’t go out once in a while you’ll go crazy. Heck, I even stayed out past midnight last week. And the truth is, the next day with the kids isn’t so bad because although I vowed never to allow electronics in the morning, it’s just too tempting to say “Get iPad” at 6.30am, especially if you’re nursing a hangover. Steve Jobs must have had children.

Yes it’s fun and I’ll tell you why – because each time I’ve been out recently it’s been with friends. Reluctant grown-ups who are in a similar position by not having had a social life for years because of children. They’re just so very grateful to be OUT. The other night I went to a fantastic 90’s Indie disco which was amusing because not only did everybody leave at midnight to get home to their babysitters, all the people there were practically crying along to The Stone Roses and cuddling their mid-life crises. We felt like we’d finally come HOME.

This Saturday, however, it’s just going to be us, as a couple. I’m torn because my lovely friend is having a party which tons of my mates are going to but my husband is set on going out just the two of us.

I’m grateful that he wants to do this, albeit with my stretchmarks and limited conversation, but I can’t help thinking that nights out are so precious that surely we’d have way more fun if we were with other people. We’d decompress more, enabling us to be better parents until the next night out, and we’d relax because there would be no pressure. I see him every night as it is and we chat about kids, Twitter, articles, TV and occasionally about his work if I’m in a particularly good mood. We have a lovely time just the two of us that I don’t really feel any need to go out as a couple.

Going out with him makes me a bit nervous and I’ll tell you why:

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1) We’ll be out of our comfort zone. For the past few years he’s been Dad and I’ve been Mum. The kids have been our glue. There was a time before children when we enjoyed each other’s company very much and, well, perhaps we need to remember who we were before kids. The thing is, I know I like him, I really do – but I’m not sure he’ll like ME.

2) I’m really boring. My insecurity is part of the reason why I’m not that into a one-on-one across a table with him because I’ve got nothing to talk about. With friends it’s all about the catch-up and the laughs but with your other half there’s nothing to gossip about unless it’s a “I know who vomited on the bedroom carpet.”

Thankfully, I’ve come up with a solution. A new restaurant has opened up opposite the place where my friend is holding his party. If I’m lucky, I might know people in there who won’t take no for an answer about hopping across the road.

Because what’s really the point of a lovely, romantic, getting-to-know-you-again, anniversary dinner, if you don’t get to share it with a few mates.