Family Life: 'School, cheese and wine nights beat champagne and limousines these days'
I used to be such a party animal. Yep, those were the days, alright. I'd be out at every cock fight. An envelope opening? Sure, I'd be the first there, glass of free wine in hand. Hell, never mind the opening of an envelope, I'd have shown up to the licking of a stamp!
But then parenthood stopped all that. Yes, despite my loud protestations I finally grew up. The main pro of being a sensible mum is that I never ever have weekday hangovers now. It is fantastic waking up with a fresh clear head every morning. But the downside of it all is that my social life is rather dull these days. In fact I live for the weekends when I can enjoy a jar without frantically worrying about getting up at 7.30am the next morning to make cold lunch.
The other thing is, I can't really afford to party much these days as I'm renovating an old house and it's taking every spare cent I have. Babysitters are expensive, and now that I don't have a full time au-pair any more, I need to pay by the hour.
I had a girl last year who babysat when the au-pair was on holidays. She was a nice girl who charged €10 euro an hour and did all my ironing when the child was asleep. I was very happy with her but then she got a full time job so she's no longer an option.
I don't need someone very often as my parents are just around the corner and the best thing about grannies and grandads are that they are cheap, or in my case, free!
But last week I got an email from another parent to tell me that l was invited to a cheese and wine evening in the school. My initial delight waned as I realised that I had no babysitter. The sociable event was taking place on the one evening the grandparents always play bridge. I sent a text to the babysitter of a trusted friend Could she come over for a couple of hours to mind my son?
She replied immediately "What's your rate?"
"Ten euro an hour."
She replied that she wouldn't get out of bed for less than €12 an hour. Or something. "And no house work," she added even though I hadn't mentioned doing any chores.
Steep Well, I decided that paying €24 for a couple of hours out in the local school hall was a bit too steep considering I'd have to get my hair done as well. So I decided not to go.
The next morning at the school gates all I could hear was people raving about the cheese and wine event. Apparently everyone had enjoyed themselves and it had been a great night. I began to feel very hard done by, like I had missed out on a good time.
Gosh, I remember back in the Celtic Tiger day when people would literally try and send limousines round to my home to persuade me to come out and drink champagne. How my life has changed! To think I feel hard done by for missing the cheese and wine event. And I wouldn't mind, but I love cheese!