Once upon a time, life was so carefree and footloose. If you fancied a trip to the cinema, or drinks after work, you just did it – no questions asked.
Once a baby comes along, though, it's not always so easy. And, while some mums seem to get their social life back on track in no time at all, for many of us it can feel like a bit of a struggle. Trying to find babysitters (especially if we've no family nearby) and worrying about money (we've usually got a fair bit less now there's a baby to look after) can mean that, once we do decide we're ready to venture out without the baby in tow – either with or without our partner – it's all just so darn hard to organise.
But don't be too jealous of your mum mates who seem to have it better on the getting-out-without-the-baby front. Perhaps the grass isn't always greener, because....
1. They probably don't get out as often as you think
Have you got that one friend who seems to be putting date night or girls' night pics on Facebook all the time? It might just be that because you're looking out for all their partying shenanigans, it feels as though they're doing it more than they actually are.
Even if it seems like they're having cocktails with the girls every Saturday, it's actually much more likely it's every few weeks, so don't sweat it too much.
2. It'll be costing them a small fortune
On the other hand, if they really are managing a date night or girls' night pretty much every week, just know that it will definitely be affecting their wallet. All those cocktails and fancy date-night dinners don't come free, you know.
3. They'll be knackered
Unless they have a nanny or very understanding grandparents on hand, anyone with a baby knows that a night out usually comes with a physical price: namely feeling pretty rough when you're back on as mum the next morning at 7am sharp.
So, if you're not getting out and about too much, take heart that your 8.30pm bedtime with a cup of hot choc and an episode of Corrie on a Friday night at least means you're fresh as a daisy (ish) the next day.
4. They're probably jealous of someone else
Rest assured, there will be one of your mum friends who, despite the fact she seems to get out and about more in a month than you've done in the past year, has a friend she's a little envious of too.
Yep, believe it or not, there ARE mums (one of our MFM team knows one) who can regularly take WEEK-long breaks with her hubby kids-free while they leave their little ones with family. And we're ALL a wee bit jealous of them.
5. You can still do cool stuff at home
OK, so it might be a pretty slim window – say between 8pm and 10pm (or push the boat out until 11pm if you're feeling wild) – but you CAN do that date night or girls' night thing at home if you really want to.
Dress up as though you were going out (if you fancy it; if not, trackie bottoms are fine), get take-out and and a bottle of Prosecco and watch a film on Netflix. That's dinner and a movie right there. Not quite the same, we know, but at least your bed's VERY close.
6. If you go out too much, then it's not a treat
Is this a cop out? Perhaps it is a little bit but we reckon there is something to be said for the fact that if you do only get to go out once in a blue moon without your baby, it's just going to be so AMAZING when it finally happens.
You look forward to your the night out or weekend away for days beforehand, then relish Every Little Moment.
7. Getting dressed up can be a bit of a hassle
We're not saying we've got lazy since babies have come along, and sometimes it feels great to get all fancied up. But hmmm... we're a bit more used to being comfy than dolled up to the nines. And, if a night out on the town means heels and an LBD, we might need a bit of convincing that we're up for it...
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8. Your social life might not be as bad as you think, after all
Before feeling totally down that you never get out and about, could it be that you actually do better in the social-life stakes than it sometimes feels? Maybe it wasn't actually soooooo long ago that your partner offered to look after the baby while you met up with mates?
And remember that time you did get a babysitting offer so you could do a date night? See, perhaps it's not so bad after all.
But if you're still a bit envious...
We totally get it. And sometimes it might just be that you just think, "I wish I had it different." And we ALL feel like that sometimes.
If it's really bugging you, and you want to get out and about a bit more, try to let people (your partner, your mum, your best friend) know. It could just make all the difference in them offering you a break. After all, they might not even realise you're feeling this way...
Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
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