Why is it that I don’t go out for months on end but, having found a babysitter, and finding myself actually free to leave the building, I find I have got myself so worked up I have a headache. I seem to have been cursed with the worse kind of social anxiety.
I seem to sink in a Bermuda Triangle of anxiety symptoms – namely worry, excitement and stress.
And the less I go out, the worse it gets. In fact, I almost seem to welcome my anxiety because it gives me an excuse to avoid doing those things I hate.
Social anxiety is a huge problem I think for stay at home parents who, although they once worked, socialised and mingled with the best of them, eventually find that all and any social interaction can be a source of untold stress.
And you can’t really talk about it, can you?
You can’t say “off out tonight for a lovely dinner with the husband and I’m stressed to bits about it”?
You’re supposed to feel appreciated, lucky, excited, not all knotted up inside with social anxiety.
You are not supposed to be frantically tidying the house so the babysitter doesn’t have a fit of the vapours at the sight of your undercrackers on the radiator and the dust mite party happening behind the TV.
What’s to be done?
No – not pre-loading with a glass or two of wine so that the rest of the evening passes in a haze.
One solution may be to ask the babysitter to arrive a little earlier so that you can take a few extra minutes to compose yourself and actually enjoy the process of getting ready.
Or you could negotiate with your partner so that they are ready before you are and can take care of the kids while you try to recall the makeup routine that was kicked to the kerb as soon as you arrived home from the hospital.
I admire those women who have not let parenthood get in the way of keeping themselves groomed and glossy but I suspect for many of us that is no longer the case.
How many of us find ourselves reaching for a make-up bag at the bottom of a handbag full of Fruit Shoot lids, Werthers Original wrappers and broken crayons, only to find our mascara has dried up, our blusher has caked and cracked and the kids have been drawing with the (one) expensive lipstick that still remains?
And then I can never find a hairbrush (even though we have quite a few) because they have all been left in various locations in the house due to school/ballet/ general going out panics.
Much the same way that you can never find a hairband when you want one either.
Having got myself dressed up I then have to teeter down the drive in the same height of heel I used to regularly run in when I was still working. This is usually accomplished by holding on to the Husband like an octagenarian whilst he tries not to laugh. These days I’m far more used to flat shoes.
I’ve never got a matching coat and bag.
I keep meaning to take all the junk out of my usual bag and actually use the beautiful Louis Vuitton bag which was my 50th birthday present from the Husband but I haven’t quite managed it yet!
By the time we return I feel a whole lot better – a large glass of wine tends to do that I find – but just the one or I’m useless the next day.
I wish I could say that my accessory of choice for a night out wasn’t a box of ibuprofen!