Beyond my Monday through Friday preschool drop-off routine, which I adore, as a work-at-home parent I often spend more time at home than I’d like. So on the infrequent occasions when I do get out, I try to make the most of whatever the outing may be.
For some reason we’ve had a slew of holiday-related events to attend this year compared to prior Decembers. When I looked at our calendar with my worn bloodshot eyes a few days ago I noticed a Saturday evening family event that sounded fun if I could stay awake. Then, as luck would have it, I was invited to another event with some dudes the same night and of course at the same time. How could I attend both, which is what I wanted to do, while making sure everyone was happy and no one felt neglected, most importantly the Junior Dudes.
I deliberated what to do as the holiday event would be fun and so would the incredibly-rare “guys’ night out”. So I decided I’d skip the family event to go out with the guys, which seemed reasonable as I’d been to seemingly a thousand family events this month. That night while I slept, along with a dream of going waterskiing in gravy with an octopus, my subconscious told me I’d made the wrong choice. I had to figure out a way to make both things work if I was going to make everyone, include myself, happy in the end.
I consider myself to be an “All-In” parent. I work hard to be actively involved in my boys’ lives and I aim to remain that way. Each time I see disengaged parents at parks, parties and elsewhere, it inspires me to double check where I am with my own boys. I can honestly say that as this year comes to a close, I’ve been more successfully entrenched with my boys than last year.
So I went back to my friends who invited me out and asked if they’d be open to pushing back their invitation a bit so I could attend both events that night. Though I anticipated resistance from a group and an existing event, I was surprised when none came. They were amenable and I was set for a big night out, or at least the kind of big night out a sleep-deprived father of two little ones has these days.
|Glow in the dark dreidels are rad.|
I got my boys bathed and ready for our family holiday event and we were on our way. I spent quality time watching them play dreidel, eat latkes, sing and dance at a wonderful Hanukkah event and at the arranged time, my buddies picked me up and we headed out on the town while Mrs. Dude was all set to get the Junior Dudes in their PJs for the ride home and straight to bed.
So where does an “All-in” dad head for a night out? How about to check out Applebee’s new “All-in burgers”? Though I’ve been working toward a healthy lifestyle this year, I know that it’s OK to enjoy deviation from time to time in moderation. As Jack Nicholson said in The Shining, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. I don’t want to be dull, hungry, or the caretaker of a haunted resort so I was eager to check out the “All-in” lineup, where the cooks actually ground toppings into the beef. Brilliant.
We enjoyed some appetizers, like the amazing pretzel roll thingamajig, and I settled on the Mushroom Swiss All-in from the 4 options on the menu. Honestly, I was skeptical of how the burger would taste with everything crammed into one mass, but it presented and tasted better than I expected. I’ve been to burger places that try to get too fancy and the myriad toppings all get lost among each other. That didn’t happen here. The mushrooms were perfect and the oozing Swiss cheese was the perfect complement. As my stomach displays, I’ve had many a burger in my time and this is one of the better ones I’ve had lately. My compadres enjoyed theirs, too, so I’d guess that we’re all-in on the “All-in burgers”.
All in all (pun intended), it was a great night. Family, friends, food & festivities made for a great double night out and thankfully I returned home satisfied from both my dinner and my decision to fit both events into the evening.
Disclaimer: I was compensated by Life of Dad, LLC and Applebee’s for this post, as well as given a complimentary meal to test things out. All opinions and ideas contained in this post are mine alone, for better or worse.