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March 2, 2011 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

Young Mama – Parents at Night Time

This week, a friend of ours completed purchase of one of the best bars in Wellington (this isn’t a plug, I’m not going to name it). That makes two friends owning two bars, plus a host of acquaintances who also own bars. I feel like we’re growing up. It does, however, decrease the likelihood that I’ll get to see him much at all, as he works nights and sleeps days.

My partner is still getting the invites for all kinds of hospo outings. In hospitality (bars and restaurants), you usually get Sunday through Tuesday off work. And what does hospo do on the ‘weekend?’ Drink, mostly. Hence the well known alcoholic/constant partying/crazy lifestyle that hospo is known for (living it is quite another thing, where only a few nights a week are actually partying, a few are pretending to party for punters, and a few are pub quiz/quiet drink/smoke and 6 pack on the beach etc). As neither my partner nor I actually work hospo hours, we’re kept in the loop by dropping by on the weekends. I’m in the loop even less, as I only get out on the rare occasion that I can bully someone into babysitting for me. The outcome is that my partner is invited, or expected, out at least 5 days a week, and there’s no telling which ones. He already works three nights a week so I’m getting quite lonely, typing away on my computer and keeping up all of the psuedo-upbeat emails and facebooks that mean I remain networked into, well, my networks. During the day, when I can get out with bubba strapped to my side or pushed in the pram, I am always out and about, as there are only so many hours in the day, and anything outside of the house has to be done before 5pm when you have a child (dinner, wash, bed… then you are given the unwelcome choice of leaving them alone in the house, commonly known as neglect, or sitting at home alone).

My partner has the choice of leaving me home alone to see his friends outside of work/uni; going out at 10pm, after work, to see friends; or seeing even less of his daughter and going out to see friends on his few days off. The current choice of going out after work has led to his mostly seeing friends who work at, or drink in, bars: this has led to the invites all days of the week. I’m not sure if we thus have the best or the worst of both worlds, as most of our friends are available at times that we can see them, but my partner and I never have any time together where we aren’t choosing between one thing or the other. No one can ever just go out of the house for a few hours without the time police jumping in, and someone getting a wee bit jealous.

How do I deal with this? I feel relief when I look toward the future. In a few years our friends (who are mostly still out partying, not holding down jobs, and unable to understand this crazy ‘stay at home, eat breakfast, be responsible’ nonsense) will ‘settle down’ themselves, my partner will ‘settle down’ more and get a more sociably-houred job, and these invites will stop. That’s right. The only positive outcome short of getting a nanny, is currently the creepy security one feels when encouraging the type of 9 to 5 lifestyle we despise. I want to be able to schedule in brunch before 3pm on the weekends, and squeeze in lunch dates on lunch breaks. I’m done with alcohol being the baseline for human interaction, and night time being standard social hours. I hate myself for this train of thought, but it creeps in every Saturday night when I get the “I’m just going out for a few hours after work” phone call.

Once you have kids, you genuinely want a good night’s sleep because days spent with them are precious, joyful, and exhausting. Do we regret a second of our life? No. Do we want to stay out for one more drink? No. Do we want to go out at night more? No. Do we want to want to go out more? Well…

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