WITH #MumsOnTour sweeping social media, mother-of-two Eimear O’Hagan, 40, explains why she’s rediscovered her party days.
Opening one eye, I looked blearily around my hotel room.
An empty bottle of prosecco here, a tray of drained French martini glasses there, a thumping headache and mouth as dry as the Sahara: the legacy of the night before on a weekend away with the girls.
However, we weren’t a gaggle of 20- or even 30-somethings on a hen do, but a group of 40-plus mums – with eight children between us.
Our original and very civilised plan for spa treatments, afternoon tea and an early night had gone out the window the moment we’d checked into a five-star hotel in Scotland earlier this summer and caught sight of the cocktail list.
We’d drunk (a lot), danced in a grotty nightclub – ignoring the bemused stares from clubbers half our age – laughed uproariously and had a bloody brilliant time, keeping the hotel’s barman up way past his bedtime as we ordered “one for the road” several times…
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And, it transpires, we were bang on trend with our wild weekend.
Search #MumsOnTour on Instagram and it brings up thousands of posts from mothers having a damn good time. All across the UK, cocktails are being clinked for a Boomerang as mums cut loose and enjoy themselves.
And why the hell shouldn’t we? For too long there’s been a stigma around women with children going on the razz – an outdated notion that a mother who likes a night out is somehow less devoted to her kids.
When Finland’s prime minister – and mum-of-one – Sanna Marin was pictured enjoying a night out recently, she was forced to defend herself, prompting hundreds of Finnish women to post videos on social media of themselves partying with the hashtag #SolidarityWithSanna.
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Predictably, men don’t seem to face the same judgement, with dads like my husband Malcolm, 40, free to enjoy boozy golf or rugby weekenders, minus the implication they’re somehow a rubbish father.
Admittedly, it’s only recently that I’ve rediscovered my love of a raucous night out.
Between being pregnant, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation and then juggling full-time work with two little ones, I had neither time nor energy for a social life.
I wasn’t unhappy – I told myself I’d partied hard in the past and this was now a new and more sensible chapter of my life.
I caught up with friends over coffee or lunch, but a late night was a no-no, and I barely touched alcohol most of the time, because I was up in the night with the kids and I just couldn’t handle a hangover.
I was grateful for that attitude during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Those were dark and horrendously stressful months balancing homeschooling, work and 24/7 childcare, but at least I didn’t feel deprived of a social life.
I was content with a takeaway and bingeing Outlander, because it wasn’t massively different from pre-pandemic evenings. I know a lot of people turned to booze during the lockdowns to de-stress, but to me it seemed like a slippery slope.
However, as normality began to return, I started to feel bored with my not-very-exciting social life. My children, now seven and four, were (finally) sleeping all night, I had more energy, and after the many months stuck at home, I felt a strong urge to go “out-out” again – and I haven’t resisted it.
This year, I’ve been clubbing, gone for ladies’ lunches that have lasted into the evening, boozily celebrated friends’ 40ths on girls-only mini breaks, and got dressed up for a black-tie ball with school mums.
Just last month, I hit Wembley Stadium for a Westlife gig, singing and drinking well into the night. I’ve nursed some whopper hangovers, and on one memorable night broke my toe when someone stepped on it on a dance floor!
I’ve got several big nights out planned and am about to book flights for a mums-only city break in 2023.
I don’t feel remotely guilty leaving my children at home with their father so I can go out and enjoy myself. They’re happy and safe, and it’s important to me that they grow up understanding I’m more than just Mummy.
Indeed, the respite from the stresses of mothering and instead thinking only of ourselves and rewinding the clock to the care-free days of our 20s, has been such a tonic.
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My alcohol tolerance may be lower these days, the hangovers unspeakably worse and I still haven’t made it past a 1am finish, but it feels great to be out, having fun and remembering that it’s OK to be a mum and fancy the odd raucous one.
So yank on those Spanx, ladies, charge those glasses and get out there – I promise you will be a better mum if you do.
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