This weekend, my husband and I had our first big night out without our baby girl.  We have been to dinner a few times before, but always in town and never for very long.  This was much more special – a birthday party for my husband’s friend.  At an expensive restaurant.  With a dress code.  On Long Island.  Yippeee!!!  We ended up having a great time, but I could not stop thinking about how different this type of event would have been before baby.  Some examples:

Pre-Baby: Get the invitation, review any conflicts on our social calendar before accepting.  Keep the date in my mind by remembering that it’s the weekend after that other party we’re invited to.

Post-Baby: Get the invitation, immediately tell my husband no.  It’s the same night as that girls’ night out I’ve been planning with my mom since February.  Finally concede that it will be fun and reschedule girls’ weekend.  Put in my calendar and set two reminders so I won’t forget.  Line up my parents as babysitters.  Grocery shop so we have something non-frozen to feed them.  Clean up the laundry room guest room in anticipation of their spending the night.

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Pre-Baby: Spend the weeks leading up to the party planning my outfit.  I’ll need a new dress, new shoes… Maybe something to go with that new necklace I just got.  Do I have a purse to match?  I’ll just run out to the mall anyway to check out options.

Post-Baby: Tell myself I must have something in my closet, forget about it.  Pull out a dress the night before, realize it has a stain.  Run out to Marshall’s the day of the event, find nothing.  Return home to work on stain.  Realize my go-to fancy pumps have a big chunk out of the front.  Wear work shoes, feel frumpy.  Spend much of the evening tucking my nursing bra back into my dress.

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Pre-Baby: Decide to carpool with friends who have two kids.  Ride in the back of their minivan, halfheartedly listen to stories about said kids.  Tell myself I’ll never have a minivan.

Post-Baby: Decide to carpool with friends who have two kids.  Share kid stories and marvel over the cool features of their minivan.  Tell myself I’ll never have a minivan… But then again, never say never.

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Pre-Baby: Get to the party.  Say hi to my husband’s friends and their wives. Compliment each other’s outfits.  Share stories about our recent vacations.  Talk about vacations that are coming up.  Tell each other we MUST get together more often.

Post-Baby: Say hi to my husband’s friends and their wives.  Listen to vacation stories with a twinge of jealousy.  Feel offended that nobody compliments my appearance.  I just had a baby five months ago, dammit – they clearly know nothing about new mom etiquette!  Show off baby pics on my phone, which they pass around like a hot potato.

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Pre-Baby: Open bar – yes!  Order cocktails throughout the night.  One per hour makes for a fun but reasonable evening.

Post-Baby:  Open bar – yessss!!!!  Agonize over what I’m going to order, shamelessly go for an apple martini.  My husband’s friend’s wife laughs and says, “Is that an appletini??”  Literally feeling it a few sips in, realize I didn’t eat a proper lunch.  Order a glass of wine once the food comes.  Cannot waste this chance at an open bar.  Later, get a third drink, even though I’m not sure I should.  CANNOT waste this chance at an open bar.

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Pre-Baby: Get home just before 1:00, and boy am I tired.  Drink a glass of water, fall into bed.  Wake up around 9:00 am.  How am I awake right now?  Take a preemptive ibuprofen just in case and go back to bed.

Post-Baby: Get home just before 1:00, and wow I forgot what 1:00 feels like when it doesn’t involve replacing a binkie.  Drink 3 glasses of water.  Realize I have to pump – and dump.  Debate just going to bed, decide I’m too afraid my boobs will explode.  Check on baby, who is sleeping on her tummy.  Get in bed, wake up at 3:30 thinking I hear the baby, but discover it’s just my husband breathing.  Find myself unable to fall back asleep.  Start to have night sweats, open windows.  Remember baby is on her tummy, get paranoid that she might not be breathing.  Go check on her.  Get back in bed, sleep for one unsettled hour.  Wake up at 6:00, survey my medicine cabinet for an appropriate remedy.  Wonder if it’s ok to take ibuprofen.  Take it anyway.  Later google “ibuprofen breastfeeding” and learn it’s fine.  Phew!!

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Pre-Baby:  Party over, forget about it.

Post-Baby:  Party over, blog about it.

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