Morristown Mama Drama is two Morris County moms with two different perspectives– one from the land of Mardi Gras (New Orleans, LA) and one from the land of WaWa (Bucks County, PA)–sharing insights and tips from the trenches. We met in Morristown when our oldest kids were 6 months old and have been navigating this delightful, and sometimes harrowing, journey together ever since. Check out our latest escapades and local recommendations right here on Morristown Green.
Between busy work schedules, kids’ activities, home upkeep, babysitter availability and the general exhaustion that accompanies being a parent, it can be challenging to make time for meaningful, quiet adult time between parents.
This is a shame, not just for the obvious relationship reasons, but because there are just so many places to have a fun night out around here. We love the whole Morris County area for what it offers from both a culinary and cultural perspective and are excited to share some of our favorite date night tips.
Wawa: When I first got engaged, I remember my boss at the time, who had three young children, giving me her advice for a few years down the road: “You have to remember to make time for each other. You have to go out by yourselves, look at each other across the table and remember why you got into this whole mess in the first place.”
When we were still engaged, I remember my then-fiancé saying how he didn’t see any reason why parents would go on vacation without their kids. I wasn’t a parent yet, but I’d been a kid with parents and I’d been a babysitter to little children, and my response to him many have been the first time I actually used the phrase “mark my words” in total seriousness.
Eight years and two kids later, we have left those rugrats in our dust whenever possible.
Mardi: The thing about having children that no one explained, or at least in a way I could understand, is how much you change in such a short time.
“To be a good mom,” someone told me, “you have to be selfless.” That is true. But to remain a person, you need to be a little selfish too. When you marry later in life, you have been a certain kind of person for a long time, and then you become someone else. It happens both instantly in some respects, and slowly in others.
Instantly, because you realize pretty quickly that now, unless you are blessed with family nearby, you will pay for every minute you are not with your children. You will wonder–what did I do with myself with all that Time.
Then comes the evolution—silk nightgowns turn to cotton pajamas, high heels are worn more by your 3-year old prancing around playing dress up; you still know how to do a mean smokey eye, but that would just mean having more to scrub off before bed.
You have become…a hausfrau. She’s still in there, the gypsy girl from college. If you don’t hold fast to yourself beyond “mom,” what will you do when they eventually go off to college?
Wawa: There are so many fantastic options in the area, no matter what type of food and level of fancy you’re going for:
- Pseudo casual BYOB: We love South + Pine for super tasty food that deviates from a typical “American” menu.
- Pomodoro Ristorante can fool you with the pizza joint appearance of the front room, but it’s always reliable for good, sturdy Italian classics.
- Speaking of Italian BYOBs, Fiore’s has stellar food and I’ve never had to wait for a table there. So if you miss a seating a Guerierro’s, head around the corner and give it a try.
- Want something you probably can’t make at home? Try Sirin Thai’s “special duck.” The owner will come out to look at who has ordered his specialty. Duck with kiwi, the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. Quack.
- When you want a drink: Stirling Tavern hasn’t been around all that long but has quickly become a favorite for date nights and girls nights. Fun food, great cocktails and a cute atmosphere. Town Bar & Tavern checks those boxes as well.
- Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen is fun when you want to break out your fur stole and sip on an Old Fashioned and some oysters.
- When you want to dress up a little: Ninety Acres feels just a little more special. Maybe it’s the elevated cuisine and classic cocktails or maybe it’s driving through the forest to get there.
- My husband likes to joke that I love any restaurant where I’m the youngest person by 30 years. I would argue with him, but my love of The Grand Café begs to differ. It harkens back to a time I didn’t actually live through, but yearn for nonetheless. Chargers on the table when you sit down. Fish served with lemon halves in those little yellow bags, and the owner greeting you with crinkling eyes and an Irish brogue.
- Sushi Lounge is always fun. We love the ambient lighting, the Manhattan club feel, big, imaginative rolls and sometimes you need a Saki Bomb to really let your gypsy out.
Don’t shy away from the nontraditional date
Wawa: One Sunday afternoon, we had two tickets to a Jets game and a babysitter booked for the requisite five or so hours. Sunday came and it was raining cats and dogs with no sign of letting up. Our seats had no cover whatsoever.
I was not going to be donning a green and white poncho to watch a butt fumble. But our babysitter didn’t need to know that.
For what we would have spent on food, drink, parking, gas, etc., we got a room at the Hyatt Regency Morristown and took a multi-hour nap. We came home, said the game was fun and called it a day.
Mardi: Sometimes you need to get on the train and head out. Bridge and tunnel, baby. You just long for a day at the Met looking at Rodin sculptures instead of dinosaur bones or train tables, being able to walk hand-in-hand and up and down stairs without a stroller and maybe eat a fancy French burger with an egg on top because my husband has been talking about that burger for two years now.
Don’t be sorry for enjoying life, and don’t let your kids or judge-y family or friends make you feel guilty for taking care of your marriage.