What A Friday Night With Kids Really Looks Like

by Joanna McClanahan
ElenaNichizhenova / Getty

Every week I think Friday will be the night when I finally get stuff done. In my mind, my husband will cook dinner while I catch up on laundry, and finally have some time to clean the house while my kids play nicely together.

In reality? We end up getting delivery, while I try to make sense of a giant mountain of laundry, and my kids run through the middle of it all, screaming and practicing mixed martial arts moves on one another.

Friday nights before kids were amazing, though. My husband and I would get dressed up, go wherever we wanted, and stay out for as long as we could make it. There was dancing and drinking and, somehow, we barely felt hungover the next day.

But Friday nights are a little bit different once you have small children. And by “a little bit different,” I mean just about everything is different:

Our wardrobe has changed.

Instead of fancy dresses and heels, we sport our “laundry wardrobe,” which is basically whatever’s left now that all of our decent clothes from the week are dirty. We wear the shirt with mystery stains and those yoga pants with the hole in the crotch, and we feel no shame. And we’re braless, natch.

We prefer staying in.

It’s easier to stay in than go out when you have small kids who hate sitting still. Especially when it comes to restaurants, where 90% of your time is spent asking your kids to sit back down. Then they inevitably make a huge mess which you apologize (and tip) heavily for. It’s a whole thing. And not a good thing either.

We eat whatever can be delivered.

If you don’t want to make dinner (because you’re exhausted from a long week and deserve a break, dammit), your options are pretty limited. Sure, there’s always GrubHub. But if you’re on a budget and have picky eaters, chances are pizza is a pretty normal part of your Friday routine.

Staying up late sounds exhausting.

Even though you used to be able to stay out until the small hours of the next morning, your body is so tired that you can’t even imagine wanting to stay awake past 10 p.m. We used to go clubbing until they shut it down; now I won’t even start a new movie if it’s after 9.

We can’t party like we used to.

Not only are we in a permanent state of exhaustion, we can’t drink and escape hangover-free anymore. And for some reason, the more I drink, the more likely I am to be woken up by a small, loud child at dawn the next morning.

We outgrew the clubs anyway.

Have you been to one recently? We got a sitter a while ago and we tried going to a club, but hated every second of it. If we’re going to be surrounded by loud, obnoxious people either way, we might as well stay home and save some money in the process.

Even when I try to plan out our Friday family nights at home, things never go as planned. A game night ends up being kids fighting and screaming and begging to play electronics. A movie night filled with snuggles ends up being kids fighting and screaming and jumping on the bed. It’s always total chaos.

But at the end of the day, it’s our total chaos. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.