Yes, we all love our little ones very much; however, we strongly believe that sometimes the best thing we can do for our families (and, of course, for ourselves) is to ditch the offspring in favour of an evening off – a night to reconnect with friends, to remember why we chose our spouses, or even to simply give ourselves the chance to turn inward and spend some quality time with numero uno.
There should be zero guilt attached to leaving our kids in the capable hands of other responsible adults, even when our only real reason for doing so is because we need a fucking break. Plus, when we leave our kids behind in favour of an evening of adult company, the kids themselves actually reap multiple noteworthy benefits too!
Benefits for baby include:
- They learn that you have a healthy, fulfilling life outside of being their parent (which, in the future, will help them deal with the reality that the world does not, in fact, revolve around them)
- They learn to play by a new set of rules (thus, making them more adaptable to different forms of authority)
- They figure out that a change in scenery is exciting, rather than scary (especially if they spend the night out)
- They get a little break from you too (they’re probably just as tired of your shit as you are of theirs)
- They will actually be excited to see you once their “vacation” is over
The benefits for you are equally plentiful:
- Friendship maintenance (you’ll need those friends in a few years when your kid thinks spending time with you is ‘like, totes not cool’)
- Reconnecting with your partner (sure you’ll probably talk about your baby’s shit consistency for most of the evening, but even just people watching together or making senseless commentary on decor/food/strength of cocktails will remind you of what life was like pre-children)
- Demonstrating that you implicitly trust your child’s caregivers (grandparents especially love feeling like you genuinely trust them to keep your kids alive and nothing annoys them more than feeling like you think they’re incapable. THEY RAISED YOU, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, AND YOU’RE FINE… for the most part)
- Your brain genuinely gets to power down (you don’t realize how much energy you expend constantly scanning for potential danger, thinking of stimulating activities, prepping meals, administering meals, doing bath time, making sure nails are clipped, constantly tidying… ok maybe you DO realize how much energy you expend… all the better reason to TAKE A BREAK!)
If you haven’t taken the plunge into temporary child abandonment (and we mean that in the least evil way possible, of course), then we strongly suggest you start, and start NOW.
(Just be warned that it may result in Hungover Parenting – arguably the worst 24-hours of your human existence.)
“But my baby won’t take a bottle.”
You’d be surprised at how fast your baby will figure out that the bottle = the only way he’s getting food. Sure there might be a protest at the beginning, but he’ll quickly figure out that mommy’s boobs are gone for the night, so bottles are now his new best friends. (Ours would ONLY take bottles if we were absolutely nowhere to be found… if they could see or smell us, it was over).
“But my parents and in-laws are useless!”
That’s really shitty because now you’re going to have to find and PAY for a caregiver (always better to find someone certified and/or extremely highly recommended by a good friend), but mark our words, that will be money well spent! Even if it’s just a dinner & drinks hang rather than a whole 24 hour stint, a night out of the house in dry-clean-only clothing will be worth the hassle – we promise. Added bonus: You lay down the rules and they stick to ’em, because it’s their JOB and they want to keep it.
“But I can’t find a sitter I trust.”
Ok, fine. Have you tried http://www.canadiannanny.ca? It’s a great place to peruse lots of worthy candidates and post your own classified with exactly what you’re looking for. And how about posting on one of your FB mommy groups and asking for some highly recommended people in your area that suit your price range? Still no go? Remember that nanny you always see at the playground that watches the kid who plays with yours? Ask her. Many offer part time / evening help and she’s obviously already THERE. Failing all that, remind yourself of the dude that knocked you up, because he is perfectly capable of being alone with your child for a few hours. Girls night, anyone?
“But how will I get over the guilt?”
Did you not read all the benefits we outlined above? Go read them again.
“But my toddler only can only fall asleep if I put her down at exactly 8:00pm, after a 7-minute-long bath, a massage, and 2 books. Her room must be 24 degrees celsius and her noise machine needs to be on the third loudest setting.”
Calm the fuck down. She’s a baby; not the Queen of Shiva. You’d be SHOCKED at how fast diva tendencies will go out the window once she realizes that new caregivers = new rules (and in our experience, after a few hours with anyone who is willing to play as hard as they do a.k.a. anyone who isn’t as exhausted as you are, a toddler is likely to pass out with the lights on wearing her jeans and shoes).
“But I’m so out of the loop – I wouldn’t even know where to go!”
Don’t worry, mama; we got you. This is actually a question that we get asked ALL THE TIME, so we have compiled a little directory of our favourite night-out spots in Toronto for your convenience. You’re welcome. Now you really have no excuse*.
*Unless, of course, you genuinely DGAF and happily have no plans of leaving your hygged-up baby-bubble in the foreseeable future; in that case, hermit it up, girl – and don’t ever feel guilty about it. Do you.
Now, for the rest of you:
PRE-DRINKS & APPS
- Archive 909 Dundas St. W
- Miss Thing’s 1279 Queen St. W
- Bar Buca 75 Portland St.
- Ritz Bar 181 Wellington St. W
- Soho House 192 Adelaide St. W (membership)
- Bar Raval 505 College St
- Bosk 188 University Ave.
- Bisha 80 Blue Jays Way
- Broadview Hotel 106 Broadview Ave., Rooftop
- Drake Commissary 128A Sterling Rd.
- Drake Hotel 1150 Queen St. W, Main or Rooftop
- Beverly Hotel 335 Queen St. W
- Buca Yorkville 53 Scollard St.
- Jai Bistro 222 Richmond St. W
- Bar Isabel 797 College St.
- Mamakas Taverna 80 Ossington Ave.
- Carbon Bar 99 Queen St. E
- Gare De L’est 1190 Dundas St. E
- Grey Gardens 199 Augusta Ave.
- Chubby’s Jamaican 104 Portland St.
- La Banane 227 Ossington Ave.
- Convenience Bar 1184 Queen St. W
- The Chase 10 Temperence St
- DaiLo 503 College St.
- Playa Cabana 111 Dupont St.
- Patios 749 Dundas St. W
- Campagnolo 832 Dundas St. W
- Ardo 243 King St. E
- Ufficio 1214 Dundas St. W
- La Palma 849 Dundas St. W
- Tennessee Tavern 1554 Queen St. W
- Mrs. Robinson 574 College St.
- BarChef 472 Queen St. W
- Kost 80 Blue Jays Way, Rooftop
- 416 SnackBar 181 Bathurst St.
- Bar Batavia 2031 Yonge St.
- The Comrade 758 Queen St. E
- Mahjong Bar 1276 Dundas St. W
- Reposado Tequila Bar 136 Ossington Ave.
- Goldie 619 King St. W
- Escobar 495 King St. W
- Miss Thing’s 1279 Queen St. W