What Happened to MY Friday Nights?

When did a Friday night of dinner and bar hopping with friends turn into cheese pizza and The Lion King?

I have to say that my Friday nights are quite different today than they were pre-children (a mere five years ago). Back then, Friday nights were spent hanging out with friends at a local bar or restaurant (one where chicken nuggets aren’t the main course and a man with a red wig and big red feet isn’t the maître d’). We also stayed out as late as we wanted. That was before we had to worry about getting the babysitter home at a descent time and our little ones anxiously awaking for breakfast before the crack of dawn.

It wasn’t until recently that I began to think how much my life really has changed.

It was a typical Friday night at our house. We all ate pizza (cheese only of course) and watched a movie (our movie list now consists of The Lion King, Madeline or Little People). Full bellies and several movies later, I attempted to start our bedtime ritual for the kids. After a few failed divergences, time outs for not brushing teeth, and attempted negotiations to get their favorite pajamas out of the dirty laundry basket for just one more night, the kids were finally up in their beds (that’s in bed–not asleep).

Ahhh…it’s eight o’clock on a Friday night, the kids are finally in bed and my husband and I have the rest of the evening to ourselves.

Now, in our pre-kids days this would be early and we could head out to dinner or just grab a few drinks with friends. Well, in post-kids days by the time 8:00 p.m. hits, we are completely exhausted and anticipating the thought of just lying our head down on the pillow.

Instead of just relaxing on the couch (relax isn’t really a word in my vocabulary anyway) I began ironing my husband’s shirts in the family room while he sat in his chair watching CSI. (The site of me ironing was amazing in itself because it rarely happens in our house. My idea of getting out wrinkles consists of throwing a wet rag in the dryer until the shirt looks presentable.)

As I looked around our family room it suddenly hit me …I had been morphed into my mother’s life. It was a typical scene from my teen years. My mom standing in our family room happily ironing (I think I was missing that “happy” part) and my dad sitting in his recliner watching T.V. This was typical in my parents’ house…but not MY house! When I was younger I remember thinking to myself, “Who wants to iron and watch some boring TV show on Friday night? What a boring life.”

Well, here I am, years later, doing the exact same thing, living that so-called boring life.

I walked upstairs to verify that my children were actually asleep. As I walked into my daughter’s bedroom I saw my two little one’s side by side sound asleep. They looked so peaceful and angelic. (Okay that angelic thought only lasted briefly as I stumbled over the toy fire truck that my son refused to put away which got him placed in time out, which turned into a crying fit and in the end only prolonged bedtime and left the toy on the floor.)

It was then that I remembered why I traded in my old Friday nights for these new Friday nights. Even though I was now exhausted by eight o’clock on a Friday night (and couldn’t even fathom the idea of going out for the night) I was more content and happy with this “new” Friday night than all of my old Friday nights combined.

So, yes, there has been a drastic change in Friday nights at the Hymer household. I’ve traded in gourmet meals for chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, evenings of bar hopping for chaotic nights filled with bath time, bedtime stories and sibling arguments sprinkled with plenty of giggles, hugs and kisses from two little angels that complete our life. What a wonderful trade-off!

I’m sure my children will have these same thoughts as they look back on their childhood and remember the so-called “boring” Friday nights of their parents’ lives. I can only hope that when they too have the revelation “Oh my gosh, I’ve been morphed into my parents lives,” it won’t sound so boring but actually sound pretty comforting!

Jill Hymer is a freelance writer and public relations consultant living in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Larry, children Kennedy and Zachary, and family dog Shelby (which is more like a third child than the family dog). After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Jill pursued a career in marketing and public relations while working in various industries including nonprofit, healthcare, telecommunications and banking. After spending over a decade working full-time in the corporate world, Jill was able to pursue a freelance career and spend more time with her family. Her leisure days of business meetings and corporate deadlines have been replaced with frantic mornings rushing to the bus stop and preschool, cleaning up the house, picking up kids, grocery shopping, cleaning up the house, running errands, play dates, gymnastics, soccer and even more cleaning up the house! Jill has made a successful transformation from business executive to soccer mom and enjoying every minute of it!

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