Learning How To Drink From A Mom In Her 20s Will Set You Up For A Hangover-Free Life

For a lot of people, the idea of having kids is akin to a death sentence. People are afraid they’ll never have money, free time, nice things, or a good night’s sleep ever again. As someone who had two kids before I turned 25, I’m here to tell you: It’s all true.

However, if you think that parents can’t spend a fun night drinking, you’re wrong. In fact, most of the moms I know go harder than any of the friends I had in college. (I did attend a conservative Christian school where drinking was technically forbidden, but still.)

Do you think that we’re all horrible parents? No chance. The parents I know are some of the most responsible drinkers on the planet. And you can be a more responsible drinker too — whether you have kids or not — provided you follow a few simple rules (which I have just made up after years of trying to balance the desire to party with the desire keep my children alive and healthy).

In order to properly illuminate my rules, I got drunk at my own home. Here are the results of this never before attempted experiment:

Stage 1: Pre-Game

If you have kids and you’re going to drink, you need to know something very important: Your kids will not give one single sh*t how hungover you are. They will get up just as early as they normally do, probably earlier. You do not get to sleep in, so let that factor in how much you’ll allow yourself to drink. Set yourself up for success by putting some coffee in the coffee maker, to start automatically, if you can. Set out alka seltzer on your bathroom counter (out of reach of little ones, please). If you’re drinking alone (or with just your spouse) tonight, go ahead and get into pajamas.

If you’re lucky enough to be drinking with friends, I can’t state enough how much you should try hosting as often as possible. Yes, it means you may have to cook or buy alcohol, but it’s absolutely worth it for you to not have to pay for a babysitter. Plus, you get to control the direction of the party you can drink all you want without worrying about having to get home. (I know I don’t have to remind anyone to not drink and drive, right? I am a mom, you know. I will find you and yell at you!)

Then, put your kids to bed! My two kids have a bedtime of 8PM, which is perfect. Do not get drunk in front of your children. Not classy. It’s okay to drink a beer in front of them or have wine with dinner (in fact, that might actually help give your children a healthier relationship with alcohol in the future) but getting drunk in front of your kids is sloppy and dangerous.

Stage 2: Begin Drinking

When we’re drinking at home, my husband and I have a strict rule that neither of us can be wasted at the same time, in case a kid gets sick or injured. Hypothetically, one of us can deal with it and drive to the hospital. If you’re a single parent, that suuuuucks for you, so maybe you can have a friend come over and hang out with you instead to keep you company. My husband only had one beer while I was drinking for this article. Meanwhile…

I was drinking leftover wine from dinner a few days ago, and of course it was a rosé because I’m a walking cliche of a drunk mom. I’m a total lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so this had more of an effect than one would think. Also, don’t judge me from drinking directly from the bottle. This is a key to drinking as a parent: I’m not trying to impress anyone. I’m trying to not have to do so many damn dishes all the time.

Stage 3: Party

Once you’re feeling good and loose, it’s time to party. Maybe you want to put on some music and dance. Maybe you want to go on a Netflix binge and watch the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt. Maybe you want to engage in deep, drunken philosophical conversations about the meaning of life. Or maybe you really want to party.

Oh yeah, it’s Magic: The Gathering time. This is my husband’s single favorite activity, and he can really only get me to play it with him when I’m drunk, because that way I won’t be angry when I invariably lose.

Here, you can see where my children have literally gnawed on the edges of my coffee table, which contributes to the reason that I drink in the first place. You may also notice a shot glass and a bottle of Captain Morgan Cannon Blast spiced rum, which was 100% only purchased because my husband thought it looked cool. It was waaaaaaay stronger than anything I normally drink.

Stage 4: The Point of No Return

At this point, I was on my last and final drink: my beloved gin and tonic, which is the best cocktail ever, hands down. I was also completely trashed. I could no longer concentrate on Magic: The Gathering. My husband declared himself a winner and went to bed. I was bored, wasted, and alone with no one to talk to. Except…


C.A. Pinkham, newly hired at Uproxx, and one of my best friends in the world. Obviously, at this point, I could not be trusted to do anything, even text my friends. That was my cue: I had to manage to pull my shit together. I’m 27, so while it is fun to get wasted sometimes, I no longer take any joy in physically getting black-out drunk. It was time to go to bed.

Drunk-me made very, very good drunk decisions. I downed two large glasses of water before going to bed. Alcohol dehydrates you, and dehydration makes hangovers worse. Please don’t go to bed without drinking water. Place a large glass beside your bathroom sink if you can, or have a friend (or Siri) text you reminders to drink it right before you think you’re going to go to bed.

…Which, in my case, was around 10:30PM. Yeah, yeah, it’s not a particularly late or crazy night, but it was fun.

Stage 5: The Morning After

Hopefully, you have a nice spouse or partner and they’ll let you sleep in a tiny, little bit. But it won’t matter, because unless you have quiet kids (hahaha) or sound-proofed walls, you’ll be able to hear them screaming in no time, so don’t pretend like you’re going to get to sleep in until noon or anything. I was up by 8:30AM, and to me, that was “sleeping in” about two hours later than I normally do. If you feel nauseated or have a headache, well… sorry. The best thing you can maybe do is put on a long movie and hope it distracts them while you recover a bit. With the exception of some nausea (perhaps from combining too many types of alcohol) I felt pretty good.

…even if I didn’t exactly look it.