Alcohol. The cause and solution to all of life’s problems. And as every middle class parent knows, a totally acceptable and legitimate way to get through the first ten years of parenting.
In the eighteenth century, Mother’s ruin was Gin. The craze hit London in a mess of bawdy, booziness with gin-crazed slatternly mothers living in socially and morally depraved states in the slums of London as they let their children roam the streets naked and dirty.
Now, surely that same ruin is the prosecco drunk from 7:00:01 every evening as mother’s reward themselves for another hard day at the cold face. Or the sound of corks being sucked out of endless bottles of Pinot Griogio at a playdate as the kids have their fishfingers. Or that other bottle of prosecco opened at lunch time, just because. Or that Hendricks downed on a Thursday evening at Book Club. Or that nip of vodka thrown into a plastic cup of warm orange squash at a party in a windowless leisure centre. I’m joking. It’s not always orange squash.
It certainly takes an edge off. And while it’s hard to remember the good times the next morning as you drag yourself out of bed with a dry mouth and fuzzy head, it can make bath time feel like an adventure. In fact the only downer is the hangover. Or more specifically a hangover with children in tow, so here are five handy tips to surviving a hangover with children.
1. Go into work
In the past a Friday that started with a hangover could mean a late start to the day or even the very occasional working from home day. Now the mere thought of staying at home with the children or worse face the judgement of the nanny is laughable. Even if you are genuinely ill with a broken hip, dysentry and a hacking cough that makes your rib muscles ache it is still preferable to heave yourself up and take yourself into work, than to sit in a listless state, staring at the wall while toys bounce off you and the Peppa refrain soaks into your very being. Get up, get dressed, get to work and have the hangover on someone else’s time.
2. Get dressed
“Mummy has been in her jim jams” all day said my four year old in a disappointed and sad voice after a very big night celebrating my own 40th! Way to judge little man. Yes. Though strictly speaking sweats and an old Take That t-shirt is not jim jams – certainly in my student years this was acceptable library wear – AND strictly speaking it still is. Arrest the situation with a pair of Uggs or Wellies and give yourself a high five. You don’t need underwear or real clothes to be dressed, just clothing and shoes that are one step up from a common slipper. Once you are dressed, lightly deodorised, move yourself onto…
3. Get out
So, you feel like sitting on your sofa watching back to back Come Dine with Me drinking can after can of Coke and eating haribo sweets. My husband and I once spent the entire Sunday “recovering” while binge watching eight hours of cycling during the Bejing Olympics. As a recovery device, this now seems ludicrous. Having two small noisy, bored dictators now at home means the whole up-at-midday-followed-by-a-bacon-sarnie-followed-by-some-quite-nice-sex-followed-by-going-back-to-bed-for-four-more-hours is redundant. Don’t go to soft play – unless of course you’re into acute psychological trauma – but do go to the park. Being productive, even slightly, is good for the soul and it will stop you wanting to lock your children under the stairs.
4. See other people
This will feel counter intuitive – you can’t see people you know and like with your hair scraped back into a bun, with no make up on no sleep, grey skin and dead eyes. Or can you? After all, isn’t that how you’ve been hanging out for the last four years with everyone anyway. There really is no difference given you’ve lowered the bar this low. The added benefit is that this time you have stuff other than your kids to talk about; hangover, guilt and remorse! yay!
Not the drinking, clearly – just the ridiculous guilt and remorse that’s playing round your head. You need a night out – when else are you going to tell your birth story to anyone who will listen? It’s fun to think your kids can reminisce about parents with hangovers and chilled out Sundays. You are equipping them with valuable life skills OR putting them off alcohol entirely. You win either way.
How do you cope with a hangover?