Before marriage & kids my friend Charnaye and I would go out quite often together. All through high school, college and even working at the same job together it wouldn’t be anything for us to go get some Mexican food and see a movie on a Friday night; or hit up a local Panera Bread in between classes.
Now, since our lives are in different places it doesn’t stop us from hanging out with each other. It just means we do things a little differently; we are two and a half instead of just two.
Don’t get me wrong there are times the we will go grab a bite to eat without Sophia, but I don’t always have a babysitter.
Honestly, I am picky about who watches Sophia. She is my entire world. The thought of having someone watch Sophia that has never watched her before or someone that she is unfamiliar with just isn’t worth it.
So she comes with us.
If you are like me and don’t always have a baby sitter, but still want to enjoy a mini night with a girlfriend here is what I do.
1. I always make sure Sophia takes a nap. If Sophia doesn’t take a nap then by dinner time she is a little bear. Then you are in a no win situation and no one is happy.
2. Sophia pretty much has a night schedule. I am normally getting her ready for bed around 730 pm with a bath..brush her hair..brush her teeth…etc. So when it comes to picking a time to go out to dinner I found that being at the restaurant by 545 pm-6pm is perfect timing. I once went out to a late dinner with her, it wasn’t very pleasant. She was asking to go home. So I would say go to dinner about two and a half hours before you give your child their night baths.
3. I know this may sound like a “well duh,” moment, but before you completely settle on a restaurant make sure that you check the kids menu to make sure there is something that your child will eat. Charnaye and I love Mexican food…Sophia doesn’t. So thankfully this menu had options such as a Cheese Burger…Chicken Fingers on the kids menu. So this restaurant was a winner. If it didn’t have anything I know she would eat, we would be picking a different restaurant.
4. Bring snacks. No matter what restaurant you go too, you can’t guarantee that they will have quick service or that aren’t going to be really busy. There always could be that possibility that your child doesn’t like their dinner. So, bring healthy snacks such as fruit, crackers, granola bars etc as a back up.
5. Bring some entertainment. You may need to upgrade to a bigger purse for a few hours, but if it’s going to keep your sanity…do it. I always throw a few crayons and paper in my bag along with a doll, some of her mini Paw Patrol dogs and a fake baby doll bottle. I will even allow her to watch Peppa Pig while we wait for our dinners to be served. It will help pass the time.
6. Sophia is only two so I know her attention span is like point two seconds long. I know that she will still want my attention and me to play with her. So I find that multitasking is is a wonderful quality to have. Sophia enjoys drawing hearts. So as Charnaye and I are talking I will draw hearts with Sophia to keep her entertained and not feel left out.
7. Even though I am out with a friend I am still out to dinner with my daughter. I will give Sophia a little incentive to be on a good behavior. I will say to her for instance “if you listen to mama I will take you to get an ice cream cone.” Or I will praise her letting her know how good she was and how proud I am of her. I personally believe in positive feedback when it comes to parenting; for me there is nothing wrong with praising your child. Let them know. It isn’t going to harm them. There isn’t a day goes by that I am not telling Sophia how much I love her, or how proud I am of her.
When it comes to taking your child out to dinner it can be hit or miss. You can have a really good experience or you can have an experience where you’ll swear you’ll never do that again.
I personally have had moments where I felt like everyone in the entire restaurant was staring at us, then I have had moments where I have had strangers approach and applaud her on how well behaved she is.
I can’t guarantee that everything I mentioned will work for me every time, but I have found that it has helped more than not.
Thankfully Charnaye is completely understanding and goes with the flow with Sophia goes out with us.