It’s not called the silly season for nothing. Staff parties, catch-ups with friends, long boozy lunches… the end of the year is a hangover waiting to happen.
And happen they will.
Hangovers are generally pretty awful, but when you are also required to perform as a parent, we are talking EXPERT LEVEL awful.
Parenting when you’re hungover is, quite simply, horrendous. Especially if your children are in the under 5 age bracket and require your assistance with such crucial tasks as turning on the television, bum wiping and preparing food.
Needy little buggers…;)
When you first peel open your bleary, bloodshot eyes the morning after the night before, your first thought will be to bury your head back in your pillow and forget all about functioning today. But sorry, you’re a parent now – there are no sick days for you!
There are only two known cures (and I use that term loosely) for a hangover, and they are sleep and/or more alcohol. Unfortunately neither of these solutions are compatible with parenting, so I’m afraid you are just going to have to struggle through it.
Bookmark this Handy Hangover Guide for when you find yourself facing a day of parenting hungover this Christmas.
1. Hydrate, medicate and negotiate
As soon as you wake up, get some sports drink into your system, or break into the kids’ first aid kit and pinch some of their Hydrolyte. Even boring old water will suffice. Anything to rehydrate your poor, battered system. But sip it slowly, or you risk seeing it all again! Paracetamol will help your pounding head, but avoid Ibuprofen if you’re feeling queasy.
Open up negotiations with your partner to determine whether they are willing to agree to some kind of contra deal, where they give you a couple of extra hours in bed in return for sex (not today, obvs!) or cleaning the bathroom for the next six months. Just be careful you don’t promise anything that you’re not willing to follow through on. You’ll be ready to sell your first born for an extra hour in bed, but try not to let it come to that.
2. Flat screen babysitter
Look, we all know that hours in front of a screen is not the ideal scenario for our precious cherubs, but when you’re dealing with a Christmas hangover, that sleek black screen can be a lifesaver. TV, iPad, computer, video games – whatever floats their boat is a winner. The ‘Frozen’ DVD is guaranteed to keep my kids away from me for 98 glorious minutes. Well worth the pain of another round of ‘Let It Go’.
3. Play the ‘sleepover’ game
This is a game I made up where everybody pretends to be asleep. It’s brilliant. ‘Doctors and Nurses’ also works well. Or ‘Massage Mummy’s Back’. All of these games provide an opportunity for you to sneak a few minutes shut eye. Yes, you may have children poking, prodding, or jumping all over you, but at least you will be horizontal. Hide and Seek is also a winner if you’re the ‘seeker’. They’ll think they are brilliant hiders when it takes you an hour to find them.
4. Christmas craft time
Unlock the craft cupboard and let the kids go wild creating new decorations for the tree, or homemade presents for Great Aunty Beryl. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to get away with yelling instructions from your position on the couch, encouraging them to create new and exciting decorations like Santa on a surfboard, or Rudolf on a rainbow. They could even make some delightful Christmas cards for the rellies. Just keep the scissors out of reach – you don’t want to roll off the couch to find your kid has cut themselves a new fringe.
5. Feeding time at the zoo
Soothing a roiling, hungover stomach with some salty, fatty carbs is a well-known hangover helper. And, as luck would have it, it just so happens that these types of foods are generally high on the list of foods that most children will tolerate. You’ll be their hero when you take them out for McDonald’s or KFC, and you might even find one with a play area, giving you a few moments of peace with your hot and salty saviour.
6. Hair of the dog
Wine time, beer o’clock, cocktail hour… you probably won’t hear it from any actual Doctor, but ‘hair of the dog’ is totally medicinal. Once you’ve got some food in your stomach and know you won’t have to drive anywhere, crack open a cold one. You’ll start to feel the benefits almost immediately.
But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to end up back where you started.
7. Bedtime baby, ohhhhh yeahhhhhh
Skip baths tonight and get those kiddies into bed ASAP! Enjoy an hour on the sofa but then get your hungover butt into bed. DO NOT be fooled into thinking you feel better and stay up for a few more drinks. You will need to repeat this whole process if you don’t go to bed right now!
Have you had a Christmas cracker of a hangover? How did you deal??