It’s 2.30am and you’ve just tipped the cabbie a whopping £2 – well, it’s Christmas after all. You steady yourself against the front door and manage to slip the key into the lock with ease. You tiptoe into the bathroom like a gentleman thief and nobody is any the wiser. You examine your face in the mirror. Despite the fact you’ve been imbibing alcohol solidly for the past seven hours, you’re actually not that drunk are you? Time to sneak a peak at that adorable little child you made a few months ago. Ah, she’s so bloody cute! Aren’t you a clever guy to have made that creature? You stick your head into the master bedroom to check on your sleeping partner. All is well. Time for a sneaky little brandy before bed…
Pouring yourself a nightcap at 2am is never recommended, let alone when you’ll be getting up five hours later to endure some ‘parenting’. When your boss is a tiny dictator, there’s no calling in sick, no ‘working from home’ in the morning. To top it all, you’ve waived your rights to any respite your partner might have provided, because you were only allowed out in the first place on the proviso you were looking after the kid the next day.
Here are six simple rules to survive a hangover when you have children.
Rule 1: Don’t do it in the first place
It’s just not worth it; no matter how well you get on with your work colleagues or how much you’ve been looking forward to hooking up with erstwhile friends. A hangover is bad enough once you hit a certain age, but to then have to try to muster up a semblance of that upbeat parenting personality you’ve spent so long trying to cultivate, is the ultimate expression of the phrase ‘kick me while I’m down’. So if you haven’t packed the kids off to the in-laws for the weekend; don’t go out and get hammered. If you can’t wriggle out of the event, at least give yourself a curfew – a sick child is a brilliant excuse to have to leave early, especially in winter, so use it as often as is plausible.
Rule 2: Dioralyte
Orange juice? Get real. Yes orange juice is cold and wet but it only gives you the impression of being good for you; it’s sugary rubbish, so don’t be hoodwinked. No, the first thing you want to do after plonking your WIDE AWAKE child down in front of Peppa Pig is to get a glass of Dioralyte down you; it works a treat, especially if the last thing you drank was a dark spirit. It replaces lost salts and sugars and comes in a slightly palatable blackcurrant flavour. DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY PARENTING WITHOUT DRINKING THIS FIRST.
Rule 3: Drink a can of Coke
Fancy yourself as a bit of a barista? Know your Rubusta from your Aribaca? Yeah me too, but trying to fix yourself a macchiato when it feels like a pig shat in your head is just asking for trouble. Espresso machines are noisy f*ckers, plus you have to measure out the coffee, warm the glasses, froth the milk; all that nonsense. Granted, on a normal Saturday morning this process may tend to make you feel all smug and middle class, but I assure you, it will only bring pain and suffering at a time like this. A can of Coke is your ideal caffeine fix. And if you got a kebab on the way home the night before, there’ll probably be on in the fridge already!
Rule 4: Maximise your child’s screen time
Yes, I’ve read the reports, and yes I feel guilty, but TVs, tablets and mobiles really come into their own at this difficult time, particularly when you’re so destroyed that have to keep your head cocked at a 70-degree angle in order not to vomit over yourself and your child. Choose slow, easy-on-the-eye films like Finding Nemo or Aristocats, so as not to alarm your senses too much. Putting on Nick Jr might seem like the easy option but beware, when those adverts kick in, they’re louder than bombs.
Rule 5: Become a human climbing frame
Unfortunately, films and TV shows will only keep your little one occupied for a finite time – then it’s time for you to do some actual parenting. I’ve experimented with this a few times and it seems as though the path of least resistance is to lay prostrate on the floor, surrounded by your child’s toys, and allow them to climb all over you; they love it. You can even catch a couple of second’s worth of sleep in-between assaults if something distracts them. WARNING: Your face will get clawed at, so make sure your child’s nails have been trimmed.
Rule 6: When all else fails, make a deal with your partner
If you really can’t take anymore, it’s time to crawl back into bed and lick your wounds, but this will only be possible after you’ve made a deal with your other half. Offer to buy them Bodeans for supper, or promise you’ll babysit whenever they want to go out this month; just do whatever it takes to buy yourself a couple of hours – you’ll need them for round two…