There comes a time in every mother’s life (maybe 1 month after their baby is born, maybe a year) when she sheds her stained yoga pants, puts on some eyeliner, and gets out of the house for something other than work. This will be an evening she will look forward to for weeks before it actually happens and, simultaneously, she will dread it for weeks before it actually happens. Leaving your baby for the first time is tough, people, even if you desperately want to. As such, there are texts every mom sends her babysitter her first night out, because the only way to get through it is to simply "lean in."
There’s a lot that factors to take into account when weighing the excitement and nervousness of a new mom's first night out. (There should be an adorable scrap book for “Mommy’s First Night Out,” sold right alongside baby books, no?) On the excitement end, to quote Rafiki from The Lion King, “It is time!” If you were pregnant, you spent 40 or more weeks sans the ability to party, and that's to say nothing of the various physical maladies you may or may not have suffered that, well, made going to bed at 8:30 far preferable to a fun night out. Add to that the weeks, months, or years you have spent in service of a shrieking dictator who really doesn’t care (at all) about your emotional of physical wellbeing and, well, mama needs to bust out of there yesterday.
On the other hand, this is a tiny, beloved being that you have dedicated the rest of your life to protecting, who was quite possibly living inside of you up until recently. So, the idea of handing them off to someone else when you don’t strictly-speaking “have to” (even though you so, so have to), no matter how trustworthy or kind the other person is, can be upsetting. Thankfully, this is the 21st century, folks, and we have ways of dealing with that anxiety. Ways, for example, like texting your incredibly kind babysitter the following things:
The Courtesy Text
This is both normal and expected. Sort of like a sound check before a concert, you have to make sure things are running smoothly early on so that the rest of the evening can be as awesome for everyone involved. This casual text is a signal to your babysitter that you want to make sure they’re comfortable, and it gives them the opportunity to ask any last minute questions they may have forgotten to ask before you left. (And, of course, it reveals you to be a nervous parent leaving your baby for a social engagement for the first time ever, which is normal and expected, too.)
Communication Is Key
Back in the day, before the ubiquity of cell phones, this information would have been clutch because a babysitter would have needed to know exactly where to call in order to contact parents in case of emergency. Nowadays, it really doesn’t matter where you're going. Sure, it’s still a good idea to share this information but, let’s be honest, it’s not crucial 99% of the time.
A Parent's Version Of Appropriate Dinner Conversation
When you’re a mom, poop stops being a taboo subject pretty quickly. Because not only are you constantly changing diapers, but when you have a non-verbal child you get clues about what’s going on with them however you can. And, well, babies cry, sleep, and poop. That’s pretty much it. So poop is one of the main things you’re going to analyze to make sure all is well. The fact that your mind drifted to baby feces during a fun evening out, enough to prompt you to text your sitter, is normal. Like, it's still weird, but normal.
The Extra Courtesy Text
Again, your sitter knows this is a big night for you on several levels and for several reasons. They still thing your consideration and worry is cute (at this point.)
What If I Forget What They Look Like?
This is normal, but also a little crazy. I have absolutely done this, so no judgment from me, but I can admit that it’s sort of ridiculous. Look, sometimes, even though you’re only gone for a little while, and even though you’re going to be back before you know it, you miss your baby. We live in an instant gratification culture that enables us to get what we want, often in a matter of seconds. So, to the babysitters of the world fielding these silly requests: thank you and bless you for humoring us.
OMG How Could I Forget?!
Some things become so second nature to you, as a mom, that you take them for granted and completely forget to mention anything about it in your instructions to your sitter. (If you’re a Type A, Leslie Knope type like me, they are typed out and put in some kind of a binder and no I’m not kidding.) You will send this text in a flurry of panic, but chances are it was never going to be an issue for and your sitter would have figured it out on their own.
Another Check-In Disguised As A Pointed Concern
You may think you’re being sneaky by bringing up a pointed question (about a feeding, a bath, a nap, whatever), but you’re really just checking in for reassurance. I mean, think about it: if there was a serious problem, the sitter would call you. You don’t actually need to know how a feeding went. You’re just hoping for additional information or, you know, another picture.
You Have Officially Stopped Being Courteous
You include the “lol” because even you know this is absurd, but the "lol" isn't helping. It’s intended to be self-deprecating, but it’s really only coming across as the crazy-eyed, maniacal laugh of a woman obsessed. It’s at about this point that the person or people you’re out with, start to comment on how much you’re texting.
Second Guessing Your Preparations
Even though you know, know, in your heart and mind, that you have left more than enough food for your child (or blankets, or whatever your specific case may be), there will come a point where you’ll think “But what if…”
Second Guessing Your Life
You know you’ve actually gone insane and past the point of reason, but you can’t stop your fingers from texting. At this point your companion will probably try to wrestle the phone away and you will wound them terribly and, well, they shouldn't have kept you from checking in on your baby.
The Catch 22
Here’s the thing with this one: you want the answer to be “yes” and “no” in almost equal measure. Obviously you hope everything went smoothly for both your sitter and your child. You never want to see your baby unhappy. You also don’t want to feel guilty for taking a little bit of time for yourself. At the same time, the idea that someone other than you (and/or your partner, if applicable) can cuddle your child to dreamland is, well, a little anxiety-inducing. If they didn’t cry, does that mean they didn’t miss you? Does it mean you aren’t necessary? And if the baby didn’t cry for the sitter but routinely cries when you try to settle them down, does that mean you’re actually doing something wrong? Your mind races a million miles an hour analyzing the possible answers (and what they need) to these unnecessary, and unkind, questions.
Courtesy Is Dead And You Have Killed It
Girl, I’m going to be real with you a minute here: you got out of the house specifically so that you wouldn’t have to deal with these issues. Relax. Once your dinner companion has bandaged their bleeding hand (remember the one you bit or maybe even stabbed?), allow them to take your phone away.
Freedom: Even More Delicious Than That Dessert You Just Split
At a certain point, you will remember how much you enjoy being out without 27 pounds of baby equipment, and you will want more. So, dinner turns into dinner and a nightcap or two.
You’ve earned it, mom. Enjoy.