May 1, 2014 2:45 pm Mom’s Night In
Getting ready for her first ever Girl’s Night Out, Margaret could hear her children squabbling downstairs. She was just putting on her new dangly earrings when she heard a thud. Running down the stairs she saw her two-year old, Juliet splat on the floor. Four-year old Sarah looked upset and was crying too.
“I didn’t mean to hurt her. I’m sorry!”
Both girls ran over to their mother, putting their tear-drenched faces into her hands.
Grabbing a bunch of tissues, Margaret wiped the tears away. “Girls, what’s going on? I just need a few minutes to get ready. Okay? You don’t have to go nuts, sweethearts.”
“We really don’t like when you go out. We only like you and Daddy to be with us. Tilly is crabby and no fun. She makes fun of Juliet,” Sarah explained.
Margaret rarely went out on her own. She had never been part of her friends’ monthly girls’ dinners and she was looking forward to finally getting to go. Her husband Chris had a business dinner, so Tilly had been asked to babysit for the girls. Margaret knew that Sarah disliked Tilly, saying that she always favored Juliet. “And, Mommy, she talks on the phone the whole night.”
“Yeth Mommy even during baff time,” Juliet had added. Margaret had spoken to Tilly after that, asking her to stay off the phone until the girls were in bed. She felt the problem had been solved.
In no time the girls were hugging each other, and a happy feeling was restored to the house. Margaret gave them some colored pencils and paper and the girls colored while she finished putting herself together. She kept thinking about the children, questioning her decision to go out when Chris was not home. But when the doorbell rang, Margaret went speedily back down to let Tilly in.
“Come on in, Tilly. Thanks for coming over. The girls are in here.” They walked into the kitchen but there was no sign of the children.
“Sarah and Juliet, Tilly is here.” Margaret heard a noise coming from the corner of the room and found the girls hiding behind a chest. “Girls! What are you doing?”
They looked dubiously at Tilly and nuzzled their mother’s hands.
“It’s best for you to just leave, Mrs. Higgins. The girls will be fine. You don’t go out much so they go crazy when you do. You should go out more.”
Feeling extra unhappy, Sarah and Juliet clung to their mother. “Please don’t leave us, Mommy. We want to be with you.”
“Mrs. H. just go. The girls will be fine.”
Reluctantly, Margaret picked up her purse and gave the girls one last hug. “I won’t be late, Tilly.”
“Don’t worry. Enjoy yourself. These girls will be fine. They’re doing this just to get their way.”
Margaret knew the girls never liked their parents to go out, but this night felt different, somehow. “They’re just not used to it,” she told herself. “Maybe Tilly is right. We should do it more.” She could hear the children putting up a fuss as she walked down the porch steps. She hoped they would settle down and that Tilly would pay attention to them.
Arriving at Margaritaville, Margaret got a round of applause from her friends. “Margaret! We can’t believe you are finally having a night out! Good decision, girl!” Margaret’s friend Cecile was already pouring her a margarita from the large pitcher on the table. “Here’s to Margaret. She finally got out of the house!”
Taking a sip of the delicious margarita, Margaret smiled. “Thanks for still wanting me,” she told her friends. She tried to relax, but her mind kept returning to her girls. Should she call Tilly and check on them? She took another sip of the margarita.
A waiter arrived at their table with menus. “Another pitcher, ladies?” he asked. “Or are you ready to order dinner?”
“Let’s have another pitcher, and order dinner,” Cecile suggested. “Margaret, why don’t you start?”
Margaret was suddenly sure about what to do. Putting down a twenty, she said “Girls, it’s been great. I loved my drink. But I don’t feel confident about my babysitter. I’m going home.”
Driving back, Margaret replayed all the protests from her friends, but she felt confident she was doing the right thing. As she approached her front door, she could hear Juliet wailing. Tilly was filing her nails in front of the television. The girls were not even in pajamas yet. Tilly yelled at them. “You are brats! Maybe crying works with your mother and father but not with me.”
Unaware that Margaret had returned, Tilly continued, “Get ready for bed. Now!”
The changer was on the back of the couch. Margaret clicked off the television. Tilly stared at her. “That was fast.”
“Mommy! You’re back. Tilly was mad at us and told us to go away. She said, ‘Get wost,” Juliet explained tearfully.
“Mrs. H. the girls were acting spoiled so I thought I would teach them who is boss.”
Stunned, Margaret handed Tilly some cash and let her out of the house. “Good night, Tilly.”
Looking at her children’s pink noses and listening to their little sniffles, Margaret let out a sigh of her own. “That will be Tilly’s last visit.”
“Promise, Mommy?” asked Sarah.
“I promise. I won’t go out unless Daddy is home. And in a month, Gaga will be home from Florida. She loves to be with you when we both go out.”
The girls jumped up around Margaret like puppies. Just then, Chris walked through the door. “My girls! Still up? What’s going on? Margaret, how nice to see you. I thought you were out for dinner. My dinner was cancelled so I decided to let Tilly go home early.”
“It’s a long story,” Margaret began. “I’ll fill you in later. How about if we get these worn out little girls to bed?”
“Daddy! This is a fun night now. We were so sad when Mommy went out and Tilly was mean and then Mommy came back and Tilly left and now you are back. Yippee!”
“It’s nice for me too, girls,” Chris smiled. He turned to Margaret. “Why don’t you meet up with your friends, now? I can handle bedtime.”
“Smiling at Chris, Margaret said, “Maybe next time. Tonight this is just where I want to be.”
Margaret had really known in her truest mother’s heart, that Tilly was not the right babysitter. In the future, she will listen to her children and pay more attention to her own instincts. Girl’s Night Out will be more fun and relaxing with either Chris or her mother taking care of the girls. In the meantime, the familial bond has been strengthened in the most natural way.
Written by: Anne Martine Cook, Managing Partner & Mom, with 35+ years experience teaching nursery school children.
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