Tag Archives: alcohol

Sorry for (Not) Party Rocking

HOW many Christmas parties have you been to this year fellow parents? One? None? The latter for me. And New Year’s Eve means staying in, watching telly.

And the truth is, I really don’t mind. No, really.

All those years I spent pre-kids getting neurotic about parties, the number of invites, what to wear, spending ages getting ‘ready’, only to drink too much and look like my face had partially melted by the wee small hours.

Then the inevitable drunken rows (not necessarily me, but you’ll see them on every High Street), the bucket by the bed, the hangover that lasted until teatime (when you finally got up).

Nah, I don’t miss it.

But I am aware that in a couple of years it will be my elder sons out on the town, and there’s not a lot we can do about it but educate them, hope they don’t get into trouble, and be prepared to let them in at 4am when they’ve forgotten their keys.

To those of you who are already living with older teens, I wish you a peaceful New Year’s Eve . . .

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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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Celebrating booze-o’clock is not great parenting

ANOTHER week, another survey.
This time it’s the shock-horror quelle-surprise revelation that children who regularly see their parents get hammered are more likely to binge drink themselves.

Well, that was the headline anyway.

If you actually look at the detail, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report also found the influence of FRIENDS was the most significant factor in childhood drinking, as the likelihood of youths drinking to excess more than doubled if they spent more than two nights a week
socialising. (Especially if parents don’t know where they are.)

I can’t remember a single time I ever saw my parents drunk, even though they have always been regular pub-goers.

I can, however, remember the first swig of cider I had in the village playing field and the first Dubonnet and lemonade which was sneaked out of a pub for me by an older kid. I can also vividly remember the first time I saw someone vomiting into a wicker waste bin at a party we were both too young to be at. My parents weren’t to blame for my teen drinking, I was.

The parenting rules on booze are simple.
Don’t get paralytic in front of your kids. Don’t let them think that life can’t go on if you don’t have a glass of wine by tea-time. Educate them about the true consequences of booze/fags/drugs/sex (which may indeed be interconnected) and try to keep tabs on where they are, who they are with and what they are up to, without turning their lives into a police state.

Simple, see?

(I’m sure this will come back to haunt me as my children all hit their teens).

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Should you let a 13-year-old go to a 15-year-old’s party?

WE’D been deliberating for weeks, trying to decide whether or not to let 13-year-old Jed go to a 15th birthday party for one of his friends. Not an all-nighter or anything, but at village hall disco until 11pm.

We had an ideal opportunity to stop him going when he got a less than favourable school report. But we ended up letting him ‘earn back’ the right to go with immaculate homework and behaviour.

Like many parents, I imagined the worst. Alcohol sneaked in, over-amorous teens and sick everywhere.

Actually, it was all fine, everyone behaved and her mum and dad were there.

Note to self: not all teenagers are as horrible and devious as you were.

Second note to self: the parties are only going to get worse. . .

Third note to self: the story about the 15-year-old who died at a party broke the day after Jed had been to his. . .

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