Do you remember back when you used to go on a date and simply call it “going on a date” instead of declaring it a “date night”, like it is some monumental boulder perched weightily atop the precipice of your calendar? Well neither do I. Ok – I remember it a little. But only dates with my husband. (Mainly.) What IS crystal clear in my recollection about my dating days, however, is that they often entailed drinking 2-3 glasses of wine, staying out past 10:00, and then getting up to go to work bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning. Or, if it was a weekend, sleeping blissfully uninterrupted and unencumbered until ten, noon, or even five o’clock the next day. My how things have changed…
As an illustrative example, allow me to tell you about our first date night of 2014. Fresh off the heels of a rather frenetic and family-filled Christmas season, my husband and I were ready to spend some quality time alone together in that time-honored parental tradition of date night. I got a little bit more than I bargained for though. Here’s how it went down.
When I started hearing chatter about the restaurant Piatti in the Eilan development late last year it piqued my interest. People weren’t just saying that they liked Piatti, they were saying they loved it. That you must go. That it was phenomenal. This is the kind of chatter that’s not easily ignored even by a creature of habit such as myself. So when it came time to plan our first foray of the new year, Piatti was a natural choice.
From the moment we walked in the door, I knew it was not just a natural choice, it was the perfect choice. Piatti is the kind of place that strikes a balance between urban cool, foodie paradise and neighborhood gem. The atmosphere is trendy but comfortable, the service is welcoming, the price point won’t make you cringe, and the food is consistently excellent. Basically, it is date night gold.
As if all of this wasn’t enough (and it was), Piatti also offers a gluten free menu. Since my husband was diagnosed with celiac disease last year, going out to eat has become much more laborious than it used to be. We are now “that couple” that has to ask a lot of questions about menu items and lament when we determine we can eat little more than a bowl of lettuce with lemon juice spritzed on top. When I find a restaurant that has a gluten-free menu, I rejoice. When I find a restaurant that has a gluten-free menu coupled with a kitchen and staff that is truly knowledgeable about what gluten-free actually means, I want to shout about it from the mountain tops – or the rolling hilltops as the case may be out here.
During our delicious gluten-free dinner, conversation flowed seamlessly. We discussed real adult topics which did not include an in-depth analysis of the consistency and regularity of our son’s bodily functions nor how we could most effectively channel and encourage our daughter’s astounding brilliance. Oh alright – we probably did touch on that second topic briefly. We’re parents, and that’s what we do.
As a mom who has spent the last three years in varying stages of alcohol abstinence due to bearing and feeding children, I am now officially a lightweight and have to be rather mindful of my consumption. Lost in conversation and the sheer bliss of not having to struggle to make a love connection between my fork and my lips while bouncing a baby on my hips (beats by Elizabeth, thank you very much), I neglected to notice that my wine glass was always full courtesy of our lovely and attentive waiter. My husband swears I only had one glass, and I agree…one glass that was probably refilled 3-4 times by our well-intentioned server.
I went to sleep that night feeling like a rock star for planning the perfect date night for my husband.
I woke up at 5 am to my son’s shrieking cries feeling like that rock was more of a boulder and wishing it would just flatten me already to put me out of my misery. Ever the optimist, I took a few Tylenol and fully expected to wake up in a couple of hours feeling good as new.
As I was fixing my daughter’s breakfast around 8:00, the various smells floating around the kitchen started to viciously assault my nostrils. I was having trouble focusing on ordinary tasks, and my head was palpably throbbing. I realized then that the unthinkable had happened. I was officially hungover. Panic set in as I knew there was no calling in sick for this job. There was no closing my office door and putting my head on my desk to strategize about how best to coast through the rest of the day. I am a mom to a 2 year old and an infant. I was in big trouble.
Fast forward to noon, and I was still throwing up. Perhaps you have been sick before during your tenure as a mom. If so, you know how miserable you feel when you are sick and trying to care for your kids, but you also likely know in that moment that there was nothing you could’ve done to prevent the predicament you are suffering through. Not so with a hangover. There is a certain amount of self-loathing that comes along with this varietal of illness. A certain amount of head slapping and “stupid stupid stupid” chanting. And knowing that like forest fires, only you could have prevented this situation is a pretty jagged pill to swallow when nothing else will go down.
The universe did smile on me in the midst of my misery. It was a school day for my daughter, my husband was working from home, and I had help lined up for my son. Had circumstances not been so favorable, I probably wouldn’t be here to regale you with this tale today as my daughter would have had ample time and opportunity to stage a coup and overtake me in my weakness.
The Lesson Learned
The point of my cautionary tale is to remind you – you, a new mom, you a mom who hasn’t been out in a while, you a mom who enjoys only the occasional adult beverage these days – that having too much fun on a date night is like throwing caution to the wind at Target and embarking on an epic shopping spree. You will undoubtedly love it when you’re in the moment, but once returned to the reality-laden confines of your home, you will wonder what you have done. You will not wake up at 11:30 in your cramped Manhattan apartment looking rumpledy brunch-ready chic a la Carrie Bradshaw. You will wake up to the unyielding demands of your squawking children – likely before or just as the sun rises – looking like you stuck your finger in an electrical socket and smeared that football player black paint under your eyes. You will not have time to pull yourself together before you run out the door because you will be running late. Well, actually, you will not be running anywhere because you will be crawling. While begging for mercy. Remember, you are a mom now, and you aren’t dating anymore. You have graduated to “date nights” and yes, there is a difference.