If you're anything like me, you know girlfriends are crucial to your sanity. My friends are my survival in times I can't find peace. Let's be honest, motherhood is tough, and becoming a mother meant giving up much of my freedom. I could no longer just run out of the house whenever I pleased, or spend hours lying uninterrupted on the couch reading and watching my shows. However, just because some of my freedom vanished, my desire for it never dissipated. Which is exactly why I need my girlfriends and why all new moms need a girls' night out on a regular, frequent, and celebrated basis. I need my friends because they represent my old self and my freedom. I need my friends because they make me feel like more than just a mom, but a woman with a personality, passions, ideas, and opinions. I need my friends as much as they need me because, in the end and always, we need each other.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about being a mom. Really, I'm not. Being a mom, while difficult, is amazing. Still, the wonderful aspects of parenthood don't negate the fact that motherhood often swallows you whole. While some women give all of themselves over to the mom life and plunge in head first, I am not one of those women. It's just not me. I do not subscribe to that philosophy and, honestly, that is my prerogative. I'm allowed to be my own person and feel my own feelings and what I feel is, well, exhaustion.
Like many moms I know, I work full-time, come home, make dinner, clean up after dinner while my husband gets the kids ready for bed, and then we all go to bed. I have no life outside of my family. So when an opportunity for a girls' night shines its light upon me, I grab it and relish in it. A girls' night means a night out of the house, laughing with my friends, making lewd jokes, and discussing shoes, shows, politics, and our kids. A girls' night means time away from my everyday responsibilities, and yes, time away from my family and from being a mom for just a few hours. That reprieve is what every new mom not only needs, but deserves.
Do you know the last time my kids thanked me for making them dinner after I just worked all day and am on my last breath? Or the last time my kids didn't lose their sh*t after I said "no" to something on the same day I said "yes" to everything else? These kids of mine just expect me to be their mom, like, all the time. There's no appreciation of any kind and I'm not even asking for much (maybe, like, 10 uninterrupted minutes in the bathroom). So, while the kids don't fully appreciate my existence, at least my girlfriends do.
My friends and I get together, eat, drink, and share stories from the combat zone. Motherhood can often feel isolating and many mothers often feel like they are all alone with their problems. However, what I've learned from the past eight years as a parent is that most parents deal with the same issues and most of our problems are not unique. It's just that many of us don't talk about those problems because of fear of judgement or criticism. Girls' nights give me the outlet to voice my grievances and help me realize most of my friends have the same exact worries and issues as I do. We gather our strength from each other.
You guys, parenting is super hard. Like, it's the hardest, and it doesn't seem like it gets much easier. I mean, it gets easier in some ways once your kid is out of diapers, only it gets harder in so many other ways, too. So mothers need time away from their families to regroup. Just like you get a break from your job, you deserve a break from parenting, and a couple of hours with my girlfriends is all I really need to come back and start over again.
Girls' nights out are cathartic. I come home feeling lighter, happier, and refreshed. Honestly, those nights with my girlfriends have saved me from feeling down in the dumps, lifting my spirit and filling me with joy at the exact moment I needed it.
To me, it's holistic healing for the soul, an aphrodisiac, and a damn good time.
Sometimes my friends and I laugh so hard and so loud and so much we are asked to keep it down by the restaurant staff because, apparently, we are offending other patrons. Yes, we get a little obnoxious, but we are all moms who want to leave their house and their worries for just a few hours. We want to laugh and we want to have a good time. Laughing together is what makes the everyday bearable. (Sometimes we also sing and dance.)
My friends and I are all different, with different kids, different lifestyles, different ways of parenting, and different views. Still, we talk openly and candidly, and we learn from each other. We find meaning together and offer solutions to those of us who need them. Sometimes your friends see what you do not and that is when they are most helpful to you and your parenting. I've asked my friends countless times for their advice and I trust them to never lead me astray.
Did I already say parenting is hard? Well, this is a reminder: parenting is freaking hard. Maybe parenting isn't draining for everyone, and maybe it's just hard for me and my friends. Regardless, I'm willing to bet parenting is difficult even for those who make it look easy. Sometimes I'll have a glass of wine during the week because the week just calls for some alcohol. Other times, I get together with my girlfriends and down a few shots of tequila or a couple of mojitos and have the greatest time ever. Did I mention parenting is hard?
Motherhood did not take away my desire to socialize with my friends and to have a good time. Becoming a parent didn't put me in some inaccessible isolated box. I am still the same person I was when I hung out with my girlfriends at the mall for hours, way before I ever became a mom. I am still the same person I was when I spent hours talking to my best friend on the phone. There are still many parts of me that want nothing more than to go dancing and drinking with a few friends, to feel wind tangling my hair as we carpool to the restaurant, windows down, belting out some '90s songs, and to get dressed up and party downtown. I want to do these things sometimes and I deserve to do these things more often than I do.
Girls' nights out aren't just fun, they are necessary for the survival in our overstimulated and exposed world where mothers are expected to be perfect and yet criticized for everything anyway. We crave, yearn, and plan for these nights, and we ditch our families in order to enjoy them. Mothers need to get away from their daily lives, and we need to feel like we matter more to the universe. We want to feel liberated and our friends give us the perfect platform to be ourselves. Our true, crazy, loud, excited selves.
OK. I'm off to plan another girls' night out, and I suggest you do the same.