Let's face it. I'm not the same DINK I was over a year ago. For those of you left wondering what a "DINK" is, it's an acronym for the title "Dual Income No Kids." Back when I was a DINK, I could cocktail and dinner with the best of them. Within minutes I could effortlessly throw together an outfit and don four inch platform heels and spend a night out on the town, indulging in french cuisine and belgian beers, hopping from one bar to the next, the conversation flowing and ebbing in the most natural of senses. And daaaayum, did I look good doing it.
So, "what's changed," you ask? Everything. The impetus for this blog post comes on the heels of a recent dinner date that the husband and I went on. Back home in Hometown, New Jersey for the weekend, plans were made to meet up with a college fraternity brother and his wife, good friends of ours, who recently relocated back to the East Coast from their first home in California. Although I was looking forward to catching up with these longtime, childless friends of ours, I knew it wasn't going to be easy.
Let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Even at the mere thought of heading out for a dinner date sans baby, I start to stress. Who's going to watch the baby? Are they going to bathe him right? Cut his food into small enough pieces? Will they know that he likes to run like a maniac around the kitchen, narrowly missing colliding forehead and corner wall with each lap on the hardwood floors? What if they take their eyes off him for a second and he manages to scale the baby gate and make his way up the stairs? Go ahead and laugh, but in my head? These are all distinct possibilities.
Sure, this has a lot to do with my type-A, first-time-mom-ness. But regardless, it is what is.
Aright, so I've already stressed about the preemptive dinner date. Now? Plans have been made and we're meeting at an upscale bar and grill in this cute little town where lot's of hipsters live in approximately five hours. Great. Let's figure out what to wear. Remember how I said everything has changed? Well, I'm still learning how to dress my new mom-bod. The one that, although weighs the same as it did the day I found out I was pregnant, certainly doesn't fit, feel and look the same.
Four pairs of jeans and seven tops later, I've managed to find something that conceals my mom-pooch and will allow me to sit un-fidgeting-like for at least two hours. I figure that's long enough to make it through dinner and I can always excuse myself to the ladies room to re-suck-it-in, stuff/tuck and zip. Despite the loving compliments that I immediately receive from the husband, who, by the way, is so enamored with the fact that I am not wearing my "mom-tuxedo" of black pants and a tanktop, as he so lovingly calls it, that he's ready to scrap the idea of dinner and hop into bed to work on baby number 2, I still feel... fluffy and fidgety.
Oh, and baby number 2? No way, Jose. Not tonight.
Fast forward to dinner. Hugs and how-the-heck-are-you's are exchanged. iPhone pictures of C are immediately whipped out, "congratulations and wow-he's-so-cute-are-you-sure-he's-Husband's are exclaimed and so begins the mild social awkwardness.
We're sitting down to dinner with a great couple, dear friends of ours, who have been married two short years, are relishing in new jobs, new endeavors and life with an adorable lab puppy. And for the life of me? My once chatty, bubbly self cannot seem to think of anything to talk about aside from Life With A Toddler. It was as if I was one sip of Hefeweisen away from busting out the dance moves to The Wiggles rendition of "Hot Potato."
I mean, seriously. Who am I? I have become that parent.
Although I appreciated their talk of recent carefree vacations and nights out on the town, I just can't assimilate. Those days and nights are so far behind me, I've almost forgotten what they feel like. But I can sit and talk for hours about what it feels like to stay up all night with a sick baby. To fall asleep on the floor next to their crib, so that at the faintest cry, you're right there beside them to soothe them. I can write a novel on what it's like to watch as your baby discovers new things. How absolutely mind-blowing and life-changing it is to see them mimic your words and your actions. I can go on and on about how awesome it is to watch your husband, your strong, manly, strapping husband, just absolutely melt into a puddle of mush on the floor when after a long day at work, they see their son's face light up as soon as they walk through the door.
I mean, non-parents? They just don't get it and I certainly don't expect them to. I mean absolutely no offense when I say that either. This post does not stem from jealousy or malice. Just from difference. As a former DINK, I'm fairly certain I would have rather drowned myself in my vodka tonic than hear someone drone on and on about how awesome their kid is. Believe me, I get that.
But until then? I'm going to be mildly socially awkward, whipping out pictures of my child, The Cutest Kid on the Face of This Planet, during all of those awkward lulls in conversation. And if you don't like it? Just keep drinking that vodka tonic.
I won't even mention that by 10pm, I was practically falling asleep in my chocolate-dipped sugar cone of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Mint Chunk.
So, Loyals with kids: Please tell me I'm not the only one who's forgotten how to behave when all dressed up and dinner'ing sans baby? Is there some sort of 12-step program for this that I should be looking into?
And my Loyals without kids, forgive me if I drone on and on about my kid, okay? I promise that underneath the spanx and toddler-lunch-encrusted top, I'm still pretty darn cool. Most days.