Ten years ago, when I still had energy and could stay up past midnight, I used to sometimes regularly frequent nightclubs/bars/pubs. I’m not going to lie; it was seriously a lot of fun! In fact, it was so fun that I could often go out two or three nights a week. I know I sound like an alcoholic, but honestly I wasn’t. There were plenty of nights that I was the designated driver and the voice of reason among the group. But, there were also plenty of nights where I paid for it the next day.
Fast forward to ten years later and I have the sweetest little baby girl. Motherhood took me by surprise. My pregnancy was unplanned and I don’t think I had realistic expectations of what to expect. I read the books, I joined mama-to-be groups on facebook and I talked to my friends who had kids. It all helped and now as my daughter approaches her first birthday, I started reflecting on life situations that have prepared me for motherhood. I kind of hate admitting it, but for real, clubbing prepared me more than anything else.
Late nights. When you get ready for a night out on the town, you know that you are going to be out late. Midnight is still considered early for most clubbers. Chances are, by the time you get home and managed to get undressed, brush your teeth and climb into bed, it’s getting pretty close to 4am. This is not much different from the schedule of a baby. Baby goes to bed at 8pm. This is when I would have started drinking. Baby wakes for first feeding at midnight. This is when I would have ventured to the first club. Baby wakes for feeding around 4am. This is when I would have stumbled home. Baby wakes up for the day at 7am. This is when I would have gotten up to get a glass of water and two Advil. Very similar schedules. The only big difference is that hungover-me would have had the luxury of a greasy hangover breakfast after a few hours of sleep. Mama-me barely has time to shove a burnt bagel down her throat most mornings.
Loud noises. Clubs are loud. The music can be deafening and you practically have to scream to hear your friends speak. Once I ended up screaming during the pause between two songs “I think I just started my period.” Good thing there was plenty of alcohol on hand to live down that embarrassment. Having a baby is not that different. Babies yell, scream and cry. My daughter is at an age where she likes to make random sounds. She enjoys screaming directly in my face and then laughing hysterically when it startles me. Also, when she wakes up through the night, her cries aren’t the kind that start softly and gradually get louder. No no, she starts with immediate high-pitched wails. I could say this is kind of like clubbing except that my daughter actually stops crying once she is fed. The noise at the clubs continues all night long and well into your walk/cab ride home as you still feel partially deafened and continue to speak at an obnoxiously loud volume.
The nakedness. It’s summer time. I see no problem with my daughter toddling about in a diaper. She just recently figured out how to undo the tabs, so quite often she is walking around stark naked. As long as she doesn’t pee or poop on the floor I really don’t care! However, grown women at clubs need to cover themselves a bit better. Look, I really don’t care if you want to show your assets. If you have a great rack, flaunt it. Legs for days? Work that short skirt, lady. But if you can’t bend over without exposing your hoo-ha, well then my friend, you need to rethink your choice of clothing. Babies for the win in this category.
The vomit. I knew when I was pregnant I would get spit up and puked on. I just had no idea that it would happen SO much! There is not a day that goes by where I don’t smell my clothes to make sure I don’t smell like sour milk. More often than not, I probably do, but my give-a-fuck levels are pretty low. Clubs prepared me for this. People are constantly vomiting at clubs. In the bathroom, outside waiting for cabs, in their own bathroom afterwards. Clubbing taught me that vomit is okay and that people really won’t judge you for puking, as long as you keep your puke to yourself. So maybe with that in mind I really should give a fuck about the pukey smells? Or is it the physical puke itself that is the problem? I’m confused. I need wine to clarify this dilemma.
Feeling like death. I used to be kind of stupid and would stay out till 4am and then be up and at work for 9am. I’d be dying with a hangover, barely able to function and could hardly makes it through the day. When I could finally go home I’d collapse in exhaustion. Well, this is what the first few weeks of motherhood can be like. You’re exhausted all the time. I remember during the first week I was so tired that my ears were ringing and it hurt to keep my eyes open. I didn’t know what day it was half of the time and I would collapse in a heap of exhaustion when my daughter finally went to bed each night. It has definitely gotten a lot better and easier since then, but I am actually grateful to have had those hungover work days. Why? Because they taught me that no matter how shitty you are feeling, the day will eventually end and tomorrow has the potential to be better.
There are days when I wonder how I ever found the energy to go out three times a week? Between working full-time and being a single mom, I’m lucky if I can stay awake to watch a movie most evenings. I don’t miss those days at all. I’m over it. Even though a lot of things have stayed the same (the puke, late nights etc.) the prize that I get to wake up to every day (my daughter) is a million times better!