I’m pretty sure I’m sober now. Like 92 percent sure. I am sure, however, that hangovers and parenting are a terrible combination. Horrible! The worst! The problem mostly comes down to having a kid (or worse, more than one kid) who have no respect for requests like, ‘Please don’t talk.’ Or, ‘Can you not jump on my stomach? Because I may vomit.’ Or, ‘I know you’re four but can you make your own breakfast?’
Kids don’t care that you had three vodka tonics and a glass of wine and stumbled home at 2 am. Even the bribe, ‘Yes, you can watch your iPad for the next 7 hours. I have no problem with that,’ doesn’t seem to work.
One doesn’t know what pain truly is until you’ve somehow managed to get through a day of parenting hungover.
It’s been a winter of hibernation, and I hadn’t gone out with my girlfriends in a long time. It’s now two days later, and I may still be a tad hungover, or so it feels. I don’t handle hangovers very well, and never have, which is why I’m not a big drinker and never really have been. Still, once in a while, I like to go out with my girlfriends for drinks.
There’s a tiny part of my brain telling me, while I’m out with my girlfriends, ‘No! Don’t have that third drink! Don’t do it! Your four-year-old will be awake in four hours!’ Children, I’m convinced, can sense your weakness when you’re hungover. Yeah, that tiny part of my brain never wins when I’m out with my friends, who are also mothers. So, on these rare nights that I do go out to drink socially with other mother friends, there’s a lot of planning involved. But no matter how much I plan, there’s always, no matter what (drum roll please!) tomorrow.
I know, it’s shocking how tomorrow always comes! And with ‘tomorrow’ comes a four-year-old jumping on my stomach or face at 7 am, which also begs the questions, ‘Why does it seem that even my fairly independent son needs me more on the days that I’m hungover?’ It’s karma, most likely.
Once you have kids, preparation for going out with your girlfriends starts a couple days in advance. First, hopefully, you have an understanding partner, who gets that you’ll need two things from them if you’re going to have a successful booze-fueled girls’ night. The first is an afternoon nap. Three out of the four of us mothers each had four-hour naps the afternoon before we went out. As one of my friends said, ‘I napped as long as I usually sleep at night!’
Your understanding partner also needs to know that you’re going to need to sleep in the following day. This is when you need to do a tit-for-tat, and say something like, ‘I’ll take care of the kids for the entire next weekend if I can just sleep in!’ Or you need to tag team. Make sure you can get ‘permission’ to sleep in, from your partner, and then, hopefully by 3 pm you can take over. Honestly, you need to sort all of this planning of taking a nap and getting the sleep in, or else you will turn on each other. No one can argue that a hungover mother is a highly sensitive mother and the last thing you need to hear from your partner is, ‘Well, it was your bright idea to have another baby!’
Yes, you need to remind yourself that your partner is not the enemy after a night out of drinking, although all my girlfriends most likely will tell you that their partners aren’t all THAT understanding of your hangover. But your partner is not your enemy, even if it feels like it. The hangover is your enemy.
Two out of the four of us had also taken Advil before we went out. All four of us had some sort of caffeinated drink before we left our respective homes—I drank an entire bottle of Diet Coke—because, really, dinner reservations at 9:45 pm when you have young children is akin to being invited to a toddler birthday party on a Sunday at 5:45 am. I mean, it’s insane to make reservations for dinner at that hour! Of course, that’s the mother in me, who usually eats dinner at 5:45 pm. Eating, too, is part of the preparation before going out. Three out of the four of us actually ate full dinners before our dinner out. And ALL of us drank about six glasses of water before we went to bed.
The next day, we were all wrecks. You really have no friggen clue how awful a hangover is, until you have to be hungover and be a mom at the same time. Still, a fun night was had by all, and, quite frankly, I may not be hungover at all. I mean, I have kids. What mother hasn’t woken up, even without a drop of alcohol the previous night, and felt groggy, sore, and in pain? Drinking alcohol just makes it all that much worse.