While the Brat's Away

I love my child. Fiercely. But the moment she was born conceived my independence, spontaneity, freedom and fun signed away their rights. Willingly, I’ll grant you; but nonetheless they’re nowt but a distant memory these days, replaced with dating for marriage. Those wild, hedonistic nights of our early twenties – brilliant and mortifying in equal measure – have been in exile for the best part of three long years. During that time, all-night raves and alcohol-induced delirium have made way for all-night crying and sleep-deprived delirium…

Of course, I (arguably too often) enjoy a glass of red wine. But it’s always with dinner, which is kind of…civilised.

And I crave dancing and dirty kebabs.

I don’t, not really. I’ve not been that way inclined since about 2006. But the opportunity would be nice, wouldn’t it?


Dating for Marriage, When You Have Kids

And so, for one night only (initially, at least – let’s see how things go before we get carried away), all bets are off: we’re shipping the toddler off to nanny’s house for the night so we can relive our youth. This is momentous (it feels a lot like bunking off Chemistry); and as such we’ve marked the occasion by drawing up a list of the spectacularly thrilling possibilities open to us. We could:

  1. Take the train into London and visit our favourite club. (I wonder whether I could wear the same outfit in an ironic way and get away with it?)
  2. Jump on a plane and go abroad for the night – like we often used to muse about doing on a whim…but never actually got around to. Because we didn’t appreciate the extent of our liberty until it was too late to enjoy it. #fail
  3. Go and watch a comedy gig and get drunk.
  4. Share a bottle of wine and then swing from the chandeliers. (Yes, that’s a euphemism.)Dating for Marriage - Wine
  5. Have a house party. (This sounds like something I should say, but actually those who know me will be aware I’m not that good at them. I can’t relax knowing I have to clear up the mess the following day.)

In reality, none of the above really do it for me now I’m (just) the wrong side of thirty and own a toddler who thinks 6am is a lie-in – and doesn’t recognise the value of lying in.

Far more appealing to us are these ideas:

  1. Sit and watch an entire film, start to finish – without the toddler disturbing us.
  2. Each indulge in a long shower – simultaneously, but in separate rooms – without the toddler disturbing us.
  3. Eat a meal and not end up requiring an outfit change. Unless it’s spag bol, in which case let’s be real – not even the Italians have mastered that art.
  4. Make a cup of tea. And drink it while it’s still hot. (I’m not ashamed to admit a little thrill of pleasure ran down my spine at the thought of such ecstasy.)
  5. Tidy the house and on evaluation of our work see a clear improvement rather than a whirlwind of destruction tailing us.
  6. Have a wee whilst at the same time not being used as a climbing frame.
  7. Go to bed and not tiptoe and whisper, before slipping between the sheets and sliding down beneath the covers – and sleeping like the dead. All. Freaking. Night.
  8. Lie in. *gasps in delight* Assuming, of course, cruel irony – aka the body clock – doesn’t have other ideas…


Here’s what we actually have planned:

We’ll be doing something quite novel; something which a lifetime ago was a dating for marriage favourite, but has sadly not come to pass for many, many months: dinner and a movie. And we shall probably enjoy a full glass of merlot each (which will be quite sufficient to make us both merry whilst not ruining our morning with hangovers). We can’t wait.

…But can’t you just guarantee we’ll spend the entire time talking about and pining for our little Angel Pixie? (I understand selective memory is mandatory when one’s child is not within shrieking distance. I’ll try my level best to refrain from showing photos to the bored teenager waiting our table.)

Dating for Marriage - Feet in Tangled Sheets

(Here’s how we actually got on, if you’re interested…)

How old was your little one when you left them the first time? And how did you celebrate your freedom?



An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  1. Enjoy your ‘night off’ Kate! I hope you enjoy the meal and film and your body clock allows you a lovely lie-in! We haven’t had a night without Ernie yet as he is still breastfeeding and won’t settle without it, so I look forward to all of this too. Although, as you say, I’m sure you’ll end up chatting about Pixie most of the time! 🙂

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      Thanks Rebecca! I didn’t lie in or even sleep well because I was worrying about Pixie all night! It was lovely to spend time with hubby but I missed her dreadfully…

  2. Oh this is awesome – although I’m slightly disappointed you’re not jetting off somewhere for the night 🙂 I’ve had 4 nights out since July 2012 when I found out I was pregnant with baby #1 – 4!! All spent the same way, dinner with the girls then karaoke – I may have a slight addiction. Now I want a night oh too 🙂 x x

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      Oh god, karaoke – never. Dancing on table tops however… ? xx

  3. Mummy here and there Reply

    Haha it is amazing what you miss and can get done in peace. You sure appreciate them ordinary stuff that you took for granted pre kids X #thelist

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