There is one sure-fire way to tell mothers from non-mothers (one that doesn't involve checking their stomachs for stretch marks, I mean).

Walk into a restaurant, alone, on a Saturday evening. Go to the hostess stand and ask for a table. When prompted for the number in your party, simply respond, "One."

Watch for the hostess' reaction. You will know in an instant if she is or is not a mother herself.

The non-mother will look at you with pity in her eyes. She will wonder if you've recently split with your husband or have been fired from a job. Did your mother die? Your best friend get diagnosed with cancer? What has a grown woman done to be eating alone on a Saturday night? Poor, poor you.

She will make small talk as she escorts you to a discreet location in the back, by the restrooms. She'll ask the waitress to be extra nice to you. You deserve it, after all. You're dining all alone on a Saturday night.

But, if the hostess is herself a mother, your request will be met with pure envy. A meal with no children's menus, no bickering and no meltdowns over the wrong mac and cheese. A meal of peace and quiet and good food and a drink. Alone. A meal with someone else doing the cooking and serving and cleaning. It's almost too good to be true.

Is it your birthday? Your anniversary? Did you just get a new job? Sign a book deal? Cure cancer? What has a grown woman done to be eating alone on a Saturday night? She'll ask the waitress to be extra nice to you. You must deserve it, after all.

You're dining all alone on a Saturday night.

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