Reprinted with permission from Layin’ Down Roots
We put on our makeup and straightened our hair. We zipped up our jeans and pulled on our high-heeled boots. We grabbed our credit cards and phones from massive purses and slipped them into slim clutches. We put on lipstick, yes, lipstick. We kissed our kids and our husbands and walked out the door, ready for a night away from the lives that consume us. We laughed and we danced and we let it all out. We celebrated our friendships and reconnected with ourselves. And when the band played the last 90s song of the night and our feet were ready for slippers, we waltzed out of the club like bosses and tossed our ticket to the valet. And when our chariot arrived, seven women with responsibilities piled into the minivan and headed back home, rejuvenated and tired all at the same time.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the madness and mundaneness of motherhood. Between work schedules and sports practices, the morning rush and dinnertime, career and family can consume every waking minute of a mother’s life. And we love this. We wouldn’t dream of missing a piano recital and we treasure story time with our toddlers. We appreciate the fleeting moments of magic that we experience every single day with our little ones and we know that we will look back on these years with fondness and a few nostalgic tears, wishing that we could hold them in our arms again. Being a Mom is our greatest achievement and the most important title we will ever hold. But it is also all consuming. It is hard and gritty and defeating and tireless. It is 2 a.m. wakeups and a million requests. It is cutting the crust off and wiping away tears. It is knowing who gets the blue cup and who needs an extra hug. It is midnight loads of laundry for tomorrow’s game and late night chats about broken hearts. It starts on the day our first child is born and it never ends. We don’t want it to end. But sometimes we just want a few hours to find ourselves in the midst of it all.
So we call up our girlfriends when our favorite cover band is in town and we slip away for a few hours of freedom. Just long enough to enjoy ourselves before we miss their little faces again. Or we convene on comfy couches (in a living room that serves as a playroom during the day) while we sip on signature drinks and catch up with friends who have turned into sisters. Or maybe we even meet out for a fancy dinner with multiple courses and a variety of forks. We order a meal that we can eat while it is hot and won’t have to cut into toddler-sized pieces to share with miniature versions of ourselves. And we eat this dinner on plates that we don’t have to wash and on tables that we don’t have to clean. And we wash it all down with a lovely glass or two of Pinot Noir. And we laugh, a lot.
Why is this important? Why is a Moms Night Out necessary? Because, as mothers, we are responsible for nourishing the bodies and souls of our families. We are givers and caretakers and the keepers of the flame. And in order to keep their cups full, we have to fill ours up too. If our energy is depleted, theirs will be too. If our souls are tired, so too will theirs grow weary. So it is at this crucial moment of our lives, when we are in the trenches of motherhood, that we need to call on our fellow Moms to help pull us up and over every once in a while. I need my Mom friends. I need their guidance and their support. I need to turn to them with questions when I’m not sure if I’m doing it right. I need them to commiserate about potty-training and common core math, picky eaters and playground drama. I need them for backup when I take a hard line and I need them as my second Mom eyes when I’m not around. I need them because they understand.
That whole “it takes a village” thing might be true. But there might be more to it than just a support system of love and guidance for our children. Mothers need a community to count on too. So, if you are a Mom and you find yourself alone in this crazy world of child rearing, please reach out. I promise that your other Mom friends are also in desperate need of a sappy romantic comedy and a giant bowl of popcorn at a Moms Night Out at the movies. All it takes is a quick text or a phone call. Even an open invite to all Moms on a Facebook post will probably do the trick. You know we are all scrolling through anyway, might as well use that platform to schedule real interactions. It might take a few date suggestions; the calendar of a busy mother is only slightly less packed than that of the President of the United States. But fitting in a night with lipstick between hockey games and business meetings will be well worth it.
And, husbands encourage your wives to do this. Tell her that you will take the kids for the night so she can go sample wine with her girlfriends. She will probably still pick out their pajamas for you and leave dinner in the crockpot before she heads out. She might send a text to check in around bedtime, but regardless of the situation at home, reassure her that everything is fine and tell her to have fun. Even if the kids talked you into skipping their baths and eating blue moon ice cream in bed, tell her all is well. Even if the baby is fussy and the dog chewed up the remote, tell her it’s all under control. Because if you give the slightest indication that the ship isn’t running smoothly, she will apologize to her friends and drive straight back home. Just remember that she needs this night out so that she can calm the fussy baby and take care of bath time on the thousands of other nights ahead.
It doesn’t matter if your kids are in diapers or heading off to college, you need your Mom friends and they need you. Make time for them and make time for yourself. Have a ball and stay out late. You’re used to running on a few hours of sleep anyway. Just be warned, you might still be able to party like a 21 year old but you probably won’t be able to recover like one, so take a few aspirins with a glass of water before bed and you’ll thank me in the morning.
So, what are you waiting for? Call up Sarah’s Mom and Julie’s Mom (they probably have real names too, but this is how you will describe them to your husband) and tell them to get their fancy shoes on. And then take the car seats out of the mini-van, vacuum up the cold French fries on the floorboards, and go pick them up for a night out on the town. You can even wear your Mom jeans, there’s no shame in that game. You delivered three babies without pain meds—you can wear whatever the hell you want. Rock out to some NKOTB and Mariah Carey on the way and when you pull up to that club and toss your keys to the valet, tell him not to touch the volume. Then strut your stuff unto the dance floor and Party Like a Mother.
-by Stacey Carlin
Layin’ Down Roots