Girls night out. Three beautiful words that always seem to light up the faces of whoever utters them. Back in the day, it meant putting on your favorite pair of Seven jeans and going on the prowl for Mr. Right-dancing the night away at your favorite club and eating Jack in the Box at three in the morning.
And when I did find Mr. Right, I was so smitten that I was willing to gain seventy pounds, not once, but TWICE in order to bear him two children. And somewhere along the way I started saying N-O to GNO.
At first, it was because I was pregnant for what seemed like three years straight. During which time I would only stay up past midnight when I was rocking a screaming baby. Or cleaning their throw up off my pajamas. Or trying in vain to fall back asleep after my little darling crawled into our bed, giving me approximately three inches of space. (WHY do they always come to my side?)
And let's not even bring up those last ten pounds of baby weight that was still firmly cemented on my body, making a mockery of me each time I dared try to squeeze into one of those old GNO tops that still hung in the back of the closet.
But something happened when my youngest turned two. Finally able to get a good night's sleep, I found the energy to care about more than how I could manipulate my daughter into picking the shortest book on her bookshelf to read that night or how to get my son to eat something other than pasta. And the baby weight? I went on Weight Watchers and rid myself of that damn muffin top that had been plaguing me each time I shoved my ass into those Seven jeans.
I was back, baby! It was time to get my GNO on.
I had GNOed sporadically during what I like to call the "battleground years". But each time, all I could think of was the hell I would pay the next day. That it would take me a week to recover from staying out too late and having a cocktail or two. Or I'd be so tired that I'd almost fall asleep in my champagne, barely able to hold up my end of the conversation. And while my husband and I attempted to have a date night each month, I found myself daydreaming at dinner about getting a hotel room by myself so I could sleep in peace for a few hours.
Thank God those days were over- I had finally reached the promised land! Well-rested and sporting my pre-prego jeans, I was ready to take on the world!
Happy hour? Bring on the half-priced appetizers!!
Friend just got dumped and needed some girl time to recuperate? I'm your gal!
Want to celebrate your latest promotion? I'll have the champagne waiting!
The world was my oyster once more. Or at the very least, I was going places where they served oysters instead of chicken strips and fries.
And it was about so much more than just having a glass of wine. It was about reconnecting with the person I was before I had kids-the one who used to play tennis, read three books a week and was the life of the party. And cultivating all those beautiful friendships again that I missed so much. (There's only so many poo-poo and spit up talks people are willing to have with you!)
While I love my kids and feel incredibly blessed to have them, I'm not ashamed to admit that there's a part of me that misses my pre-mommy self. And even though I'll never again be the girl who dances on the tables, (long story!) I like to think that by making time for myself every so often, I'll find a nice middle ground that both myself and my family can live with. Because I don't believe that being a great mom means you have to give up who you used to be or the friendships that keep you grounded.
So next time you're invited to GNO-don't say N-O. Remember that Mommy needs some me time too. I'll see you there-I'll be the one toasting you from across the room.
Do you make time for yourself? Leave a comment and be entered to win one of FOUR copies of Irene Zutell's breakout novel Pieces of Happily Ever After, an intriguing story about a mom who struggles to find herself after her husband dumps her for an A-list celebrity.