How many parents can remember the first time they went out for a child-free meal after having a baby?
For the first few weeks I simply didn’t have the strength or energy. Besides, I looked like the living dead, which would surely put the other diners off their food.
At the end of week 4, my Mum had been staying with us for a while to help out and I wanted to say thank you before she went home. We left little F and a bottle or two of formula with my hubby and headed down to The Globe in Topsham.
It felt good to be out, without worrying if the pram would fit through doorways, or when F was due his next feed. The food was tasty – a creamy risotto with smoked salmon – and I enjoyed an alcohol-free beer to wash it down.
Being able to eat a meal and chat with my Mum without the distraction of a crying baby did wonders for my head space. To be out in public doing ‘normal’ adult activities was brilliant.
Too much too soon?
But I was still in the ‘new baby zombie zone’. I couldn’t get comfortable on the chair without a cushion and my boobs were sore and achy. Naturally I wondered if the little one was behaving for his Dad.
I enjoyed my first venture out but it still felt a bit like an out-of-body experience.
Its all in the timing
Fast-forward another 4 weeks and my long-suffering Mum came back to help out for a few days while my husband was away with work. On the night he returned, he kindly (or foolishly?!?) stayed at home again with F while we tried dining out again.
Our venue of choice was Cafe Rouge and our gallant babysitter even acted as our taxi into town. We settled down in a quiet corner and began dribbling over the menu.
The difference at 2 months was significant. The lack of a cushion to sit on wasn’t a big problem and although I felt tired, it was manageable, not the ‘ill’ tired feeling I’d had previously.
I took great pleasure in choosing a glass of wine, but it showed that I was out of practice at drinking alcohol because I first selected a crisp, dry Chardonnay, before realising a rich red would better compliment the duck I had ordered. I swapped to a large (and why not?!) Merlot and savoured every drop.
The duck leg was tasty and made even better by the accompanying cherry sauce. The dauphinois potatoes were a little bland – not as creamy as I’d have liked – but apart from that I would have happily licked the plate!
Again the feeling of freedom at being out as an individual and not just a Mum was appreciated. I suddenly remembered the art of conversation that doesn’t revolve around baby related topics. Of course it was enjoyable to talk a bit about our little F, but using my brain (what’s left of it) on other subjects (mostly food, surprise surprise) was refreshing.
We were back home within a few hours but it felt like a decent break. My husband had survived (just about!) and I felt revived, back in circulation and a little bit more human. This great food escape had done me the world of good.