REMEMBER when you were a little kid and your mum and dad would leave you with the babysitter
on a Saturday night while they went down the pub? You got to watch scary films, she had a
sneaky fag in the garden and then she sent you to bed, right?
Now, imagine that after the pub your mum and dad decided to go to a club 100 miles away, get pissed, maybe take some drugs and roll indoors just as you are jumping out of bed in your Paddington pyjamas to watch Saturday Superstore? It doesn't bear thinking about, does it? So what happens when one minute you're spending a week's wages in one night and waking up under a railway arch and the next you're bouncing half a stones worth of baby on your lap as you watch Casualty? Does it all stop here? Can you still go clubbing and look after your kids or will your future social life consist of a trip to the Harvester on your birthday - and that's if you're lucky? Charlie has two kids, Sam, four and a half, and Jack, ten months, and admits that now he has this new responsibility, he doesn't go out quite as much as he used to. "The thing is," he explains, "however late you go to bed you've always got to get up at seven in the morning and see to the kids. There's no more back to mine - unless the kids are with the in-laws - and if we both go out, we have to make sure we don't get too cheeky with babysitters and stay out all night."
"I've curbed things quite considerably," Charlie continues, "because sometimes at 4am I've thought, Yeah, I'll go on to somewhere else or whatever, then you remember you can't do that. The trouble is, once I start drinking and get on a roll I find it hard to stop, but you have to be good about it. You can do it, even on two hours' sleep, but it helps if you have an understanding partner like I do - you need someone else to release a bit of the pressure, and it's not fair if you've got a hangover and it means you're grumpy with the children. We went to Janet Jackson's party the other night and didn't get in until 5am which made getting up at 7am not the easiest thing in the world, but you get used to it. You just have to be a bit more careful - you can't have your children saying, "Daddy, why are your eyes so big?" on a Sunday morning, can you?" Andy from Bristol, who has a three-year-old daughter, Katy, agrees.
"Well, yeah, my days of dancing naked on a podium are numbered - I don't want to bump into Katy's teacher! I used to be pretty mad, going out all weekend in London and that but it had to stop," he sighs. "You have to be able to compromise and cope with both. There becomes a point where at 4am you suddenly have to calm down and go home because your daughter will be up at eight for her breakfast and you can't just go off somewhere, even if she's being looked after by my missus. Some people with kids can't talk about anything other than their children and they never go out at all, which I find a bit disturbing, but these days I get more enjoyment out of going out on a big one once a month - especially things like Tribal and techno nights at Lakota - than I did when I went out every week a few years ago."
But what happens when you're going out every weekend and caning it, then you find out you're pregnant? PR manager Sophie, the mother of six-months-old Calum, found herself in that position this time last year.
Clubbers with kids cont...