OK. here’s the deal. When I listen to non-parent friends discuss New Year’s Eve plans, I do an inward eye roll, because since I’ve become a parent my new year celebrations have been somewhat lack lustre. I’ve been too pregnant, too exhausted or too devoid of childcare to mark the occasion in style. Besides, as I parent of pre-schoolers, my energy levels have seen staying up until midnight a real chore! So far here’s how I’ve done New Year’s Eve as a mum.
Year 1 – an intimate get together at friends, where my husband and I hit the road at 12.15 after sleep deprivation left us nodding off at 11.30.
Year 2 – a solo kitchen disco, me two stepping in my slippers to the banging 90s choons my neighbours blasted, while my husband watched Jools Holland.
Year 3 – Well last year, my husband went to bed at 9.30 and I partied on till 11.45 (yes 15 minutes to the countdown) before packing in the towel and going to bed. I was in my first trimester after all.
Now I look back on my pre-parent New Year’s Eves of years gone by with rose-tinted spectacles, glossing over the fact they were by and large underwhelming. There were, however, many amazing and special nights, the Prince party I had 10 years ago with my flatmate was pretty epic. I dressed up as a “Thief in the Temple”, with another doing “Cream” ‘a milk maid’ and “Purple Rain” ‘a sequined purple number’; there was a Greek house party in Camberwell another year, which included plate smashing and dancing Kalamatiatos; the new year’s eve before we moved to Canada and became parents, we went to a raucous murder mystery dinner party at my bezza’s place.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to recreate my pre-motherhood years. I love being a mummy, but you know what happens when you show a mum a disco light at the end of the tunnel? She’ll have her falsies on before you can say “Baby Monitor”. now I have what feels like no choice, I really want to start the new year with a bang. I’m pretty sentimental and like marking significant stages in my life. So, I think the end of a year which saw me birth Baby number 2 requires a bit more celebration then a DIY manicure in front of the telly, while shopping the sales. In my head, I picture Great Gatsby-worthy scenes of fireworks, sparkles and heels, but I know that is a distant reality. With two kids, one just 6 months old, my options are limited. It is near impossible to get childcare on NYE. Your family and friends have plans too and baby sitters cost an arm and a leg and an Uber home. So, here’s my mum’s guide New Year’s Eve 2016.
OPTION 1 – Go to bed early
Sod the celebrations, switch off the TV and hit the sack nice and early. You will wake up the next morning refreshed as normal and spend the day doing wholesome Hallmark family things like a walk in the woods and playing snakes & ladders.
OPTION 2 – Sofa date night AKA Takeaway & TV
Have yourselves a curry feast and snuggle up for a sofa date night with Jools Holland for some musical entertainment. A couple of proseccos and sharing your new year’s resolutions will make it a romantic and elegant evening. This is when you discover if you still enjoy your husband’s company, if you have anything to talk about besides the kids and property.
OPTION 3 – Kitchen disco
Get yourself an IKEA mini disco ball, turn on the Spotify, put on your sparkliest tee and heels and party with the kids until they collapse with the delirium only exhausted children seem capable of mustering. Think Big Fish Little Fish who host epic daytime raves for families and countdown with other time zones. The Maldives sees the New Year in the same time as the CBeebies bedtime song, so you could even have a tropical theme. I’m actually looking forward to doing this when MG is a bit older. Family times like this are what memories are made of.
OPTION 4 – Partner up with your mummy crew
That’s right, don’t suffer solo, get your parent mates together put the kids to bed and toast in the new year with a bunch of like-minded grown ups. Dinner, drinks and music, where it goes, who knows? The kids are asleep, there’s no curfew – now for some revelry! If one falters, asks for a cup of coffee, and brings out the slippers she brought in her bag, there’ll be no judgment here – we all understand.
OPTION 5 – Bring the party to you!
My best ever New Year’s Eve was actually in the late 80s, early 90s. I was a kid and my mum took me with her to a house party. The guests danced hard and aggressively, lots of New Jack Swing chest pumping and spins. I played upstairs with all the other kids and hit the dance floor when I was ready, squeezing in between the party goers for top ups of fried chicken and juice. This was pretty common back in the day for Afro Caribbean house parties, weddings and Christenings and I have very, very fond memories. Everyone takes a communal approach to childcare, which means all are safe, well fed and happy. Just make sure you’re friendly with your neighbours, because it will be noisy.
Now, I’ve decided to choose option 4 this year and am going to be having a little shindig with a fellow mum of a little baby and a toddler, who conveniently lives mere streets away. We’re already talking expressed milk and glad rags. Even my husband’s pretty excited.
What are your New Year’s Eve plans? However you spend it, Happy New Year to you and your crews. x