Urgh – it’s Sunday evening now and I’m still recovering from my night out on Friday evening. The reason for this is partly because I’m old but mostly I can only have a hangover part time as we have a toddler.
Going out for drinks with friends and then surviving the next 48 hour is a strategic business – you have to plan in advance your coping mechanism to make sure you can be both a grown up who can still have a social life and still a functioning responsible parent. Here is how we make it work –
Obvious but essential. Leaving a toddler at home alone is sometimes tempting but ultimately irresponsible and a ridiculous thing to do. It’s best to ensure you have a good babysitter who is able to stay the night so you aren’t DICOAT (Drink In Charge Of A Toddler) at any point
Make sure you have friends who understand that you will probably witter on about your kids for the first part of the evening. Its the guilt talking you see – parents feel guilty for still having a social life sometimes so the best way to cope is to talk about how proud you are of them and their recent triumphs. For the other friends attending this is dull but the best kind of friends will not only understand but also understand it will pass*
*Thank you to our friends for always being so marvellous and understanding.
You can’t drink enough water when you get back home – this is true if you’ve got kids or not though. The better hydrated you are the better your survival rate is the next day.
The Morning After
The toddler does not care nor understand why you don’t want to jump or be jumped on. The toddler does not care why you don’t want to play who can shout the loudest. The toddler does not care if you don’t want to be smacked in the head.
The toddler does not care. The toddler must be suppressed. You must do what you can just to get through the next few hours.
Make a plan and break your day down into sections to make it bearable. Our daughter for example wakes at 7am and sleeps at 7pm – this means I need to fill 12 hours. Two hours of that will be sorted over three meals so you are down to 10 hours to fill which sounds daunting but is possible and doable.
Colouring can last a couple of hours broken into two sessions and the longest film we have that Emma will sit through is 116 minutes (Cars) so rounding it up that’s another couple of hours filled – 6 hours left. Emma also has a nap in the afternoon for a couple of hours so in total we are down to just four hours to fill.
Throw in a walk to the park which is great for the toddler but requires minimum input from you and burns another two hours and throw in another film -Tangled is 100 minutes long and has some good songs to get you in a good mood as well.
That’s 12 hours pretty much filled without too much effort and that’s not even including the usual games of pretend tea parties, shape sorters, reading books and lego house building. All of these are pretty low movement and quiet games and will enable to you survive.
It’s important to get the right balance between minimum effort and maximum parenting. Don’t let your little one suffer because you though two bottles of wine and some Ameretto was a good idea the night before. They didn’t go out and they need you to be their parent so don’t drop the ball.
You’ll be feeling pretty rubbish still so keep fuel in the tank – my personal cure is full fat coke and a large bar of galaxy chocolate throwing lots of bananas, blueberries and hula hoops. All good cures and temporary measures that will get you through the day.
All of this effort is wasted if you don’t get bedtime done so get it done and get it done quickly, efficiently and most of all quietly.
Continue your hangover
Get yourself on that sofa, grab that tub of Ben and Jerrys Baked Alaska and pop something mindless on the TV. But DO NOT STAY UP LATE. You are only indulging in one half of your hangover and need to repeat this whole action until you’ve completed your full 12 hours of hangover service. the earlier you get to bed the better you’ll be set for the next day.
If you check all of these boxes you’ll not only survive but you’ll survive as a good parent.
Now to plan the next night out…….maybe with less Ameretto next time though.