A Parent's Hangover Survival Guide
Surviving a hangover with small children can be tough - here's my guide to getting through it
Mum of two, bar manager, lover of tequila.
This bank holiday weekend I got a bit over excited about being able to see people in real life and had way too many margaritas. And I paid for it the next day. Hangover days BC (before children) involved lots of sleep and only emerging from the bed or sofa to answer the door to pizza.
Ah, those were the days. When you have small children, hangovers require a different strategy; here's my advice on how to survive a hangover when you have kids.
If you set limits on the amount of screen time your kids have you can throw that rule in the recycling bin along with all the empties from last night. Screens are your best friend today. Tablets, TV, games on your phone; if it's an electronic rectangle it's getting used today. This will give you some "quiet time" to let the paracetamol kick in. Plus there's plenty of screen time that is educational; there's shows that sneak letters and number recognition in, we've got reading apps, problem solving games, games that help with fine motor skills and letter formation. Screen time has a bad reputation but it's not all mind-numbing, zombie-inducing rubbish. There's plenty that have some merit beyond keeping them occupied so you can sip your coffee and lament last night's poor choices.
Get an abundance of snacks in for yourself and the kids. It's unlikely you'll fancy cooking a wholesome family dinner, so order something easy and you can make it up to them another time. Ice lollies are great for a hangover and keep the kid's happy for a few moments. A movie, popcorn and blankets is perfect too. We cuddled up and watched The Empire Strikes Back and it was the highlight of my day. Star Wars may not be very educational at first glance but I'm sure there's some important life skills to be learnt, such as how to keep yourself warm if you find yourself out in a snow storm in Hoth.
If you have a partner who can pick up the slack today that is simply wonderful. My husband got the boys up and I enjoyed a glorious lie in which is the best thing for a hangover, I was mumbling 'thank yous' as he herded the boys out of our room at 7am. I thought he was a bearded angel in that moment. Of course, the situation may arise when both of you are feeling a bit ropey; in this case (once Covid rules are relaxed) anyone in your support network could be called upon to take the kids to the park or to help entertain them for a while.
Ever since I had kids the worst thing about a hangover isn't the headache, or the tiredness or the anxiety of what you were blabbering about last night - its the guilt. Surely as I'm a parent now I should know better? The hangover mum guilt is the bit I struggle with most. But as my brother pointed out this weekend; we all have to let loose once in a while. Although it's massively irresponsible of me to indulge in too many margaritas, the guilt doesn't help anyone. Sometimes you have to accept the inevitability of feeling like garbage for the day, take some pain-aways, and head to the kid's party, or park, or (in my case this weekend) the swimming lesson - hangover be damned. Being a parent means life doesn't stop if you're poorly, whether its self inflicted or not. And although the promise of bedtime may feel like a bright star on the horizon at first - you will get there. Today the hangover is gone, the kids are blissfully unaware of yesterday's trials, and I've promised myself I will stop at two margaritas next time...oh go on then, three.