The Hangover (or why parents should just stay home for at least a decade)

OPENING one eye at a time seemed like a good way of minimising the potential pain.

‘Oh, OK’, said my brain. ‘That one works. Now the other.’

The expected skull-numbing throb didn’t come. I swung my legs out of bed and sat up, marvelling how I’d somehow avoided a deserved hangover.

Then I realised I was still drunk.

This was a phenomenon I hadn’t experienced for the best part of 14 years.

The last time I was a carefree drunk, someone who doesn’t have to consider the consequences of excess because they can selfishly stay in bed for an entire day, was possibly when I unknowingly became a parent in the first place.

Getting selfishly drunk just isn’t an option for parents. At least, it shouldn’t be.

Once you become a parent you naturally curb your excesses. Not only for your children’s sake, but for your own sanity. Dealing with a baby who wakes up and cries every two hours in the night is hard enough when sober. Getting up at 6.30am to feed and entertain toddlers when you fell into bed just a few hours earlier gives you a headache on its own.

And have you changed a nappy with a hangover? I wouldn’t recommend it.

Then there’s the babysitters to think about. It’s not terribly civil to fall in the door at 2am and not be able to string two sentences together or find your purse to pay them.

For more than a decade our social life has been decidedly less wild. We don’t have family nearby and babysitters can cost as much again as the night out itself.

And however marvellous the babysitter, and we’ve had many, you find yourself checking your phone and heading home just as everyone else is finding the Dutch courage to show off their dancing skills. And quite honestly, you’re just too knackered to enjoy staying up late.

We’ve opted instead for the occasional trip to the cinema where the strongest beverage has been a fruit slush, and we’re home before midnight.

When we do see friends, we’re hardly the dinner-party set. We invite one or two over to ours where it’s less Come Dine With Me and more What Do You Fancy From the Takeaway.

But during the last month we’ve been out twice. Twice! That’s equal to the number of times we went out during the whole of 2010.

Both times were to celebrate friends’ birthdays, and the latest was for the 40th of former Chron hack and PR lovely Jessica Pilkington.

I’m not sure of it was because I was in familiar company, or the fact that our 14-in-a-fortnight eldest son was babysitting, or that Bloke had offered to drive, or simply because of the free-flowing home-made cocktails, but I was a mess. I

Somehow I’d forgotten all about the usual duties of Sunday that would still need doing: the breakfasts, the uniform washing, cooking, homework and transport.

I woke up feeling so jittery that for the first time in over a decade, I just couldn’t function. And it seemed even more painful because everyone in the house was so nice to me.

While Bloke took two kids to rugby, and Bonnie came to watch Cbeebies in our bed, Dougie went to the Co-op to get me a medicinal Lucozade and a Mars Bar.

By lunchtime I’d evened out the blood sugar enough to cook bacon egg and chips for everyone, albeit a little crispier than expected. Then I needed another lie down.

By the evening the headache kicked in, just as I got a reminder of the night before as someone had loaded the photographic evidence into Facebook.

One of our sons looked pityingly at me: “Just remember Mum, we’ll always find out what you’ve been up to.”

Next time, I’m driving.

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1 Comment

Filed under Parenting

One response to “The Hangover (or why parents should just stay home for at least a decade)

  1. Celebrating a dear friend’s 50th, I felt compleled to party like it was 1999. The shame of having to have my husband pick me up and drag me home, lingers still. Taking care of the family the next day was my punishment.

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