Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day Drinking without Regrets

So Wednesday was a holiday in Belgium, the sun was out and after a few rough weeks dealing with a newborn and a 2.5 year old toddler, my wife and I were definately ready for some day-drinking. The trials of parenthood just seem less intimidating with a fair amount of alcohol in your blood.

Decent planning is the keyword here. Day-drinking can provide you with some great fun, but if you don't plan it correctly, your kids will make you regret it the day after. So here are the rules of day-drinking while being a parent:

  1. Never, ever drink in such a way you will end up with a hangover. The whole reason for day-drinking is to relieve some of the stress of parenthood. Having a hangover the next day and having your kid scream at you for breakfast, I can assure you, doesn't relieve the stress.
  2. Breastfeeding moms: There are a lot of stories out there with regards to alcohol and breastfeeding. The bottom line is that, although the alcohol is diluted a bit, it does go straight into the breastmilk; but when the alcohol levels in your blood drop, so does the levels in the breastmilk. Good planning is key here. First feed the kiddo and then have a drink. Then wait at least 2 hours (for each drink you had) before a next feeding... I know.. some of you might gasp at all this.. "OMG, she breastfeeds and drinks!"... Hold your horses.. This is a personal choice. If you don't feel like doing it, then don't.. I, for sure, like to see my wife relax and have a beer or glass of wine and enjoy herself. After 9 months of carrying a child, she deserves to have a drink.
  3. Choose your medicine wisely. As a parent, you can't do this every day; so make it worth the effort. Boxwine is usually a favourite when we go to a park or playground that doesn't have a bar attached (we're in Belgium. A playground without a bar is like a church running out of holy water). Otherwise we rely on the offerings of the bar. Not being restricted by rule n°2, I usually have a selection of beers and I never mix my beers, wine and spirits, because then I run the risk of violating rule n°1.
  4. Make sure your kids are entertained while you are sucking the last drop out of your box-a-wine. "Just invite some other parents with kids." you might say... Wrong!! Inviting other parenst with kids is the key, but you have to meet on neutral ground: a playground or a park. This way you avoid having to interrupt your drinking, to seperate kids that are fighting over the same toy...  In Belgium you can take your own booze to a playground. It's a bit more problematic in the US, where alcohol might be forbidden in the park. I haven't figured out a solution to that one. Being Belgian I was surprised when we went to a children's playground in Phoenix and alcohol was forbidden AND there was no bar nearby!! Sacrilege... (I welcome any suggestions..)
  5. Make sure you have snacks for you and the kids. Having some food in your stomach will make it easier to stick to rule n°1 and rule n°4.
  6. You want to feel comfortable. This means finding a place where people don't give you stares when your wife pops out her boobs to feed the little one. If people are giving her stares when she does that, don't even think about letting her have a sip of her favourite medicine. They will probably crucify you on the spot. Finding the right place might take a while, but once you've found it, stick to it.
  7. If you have followed rule N°4 and invited other parents, try and steer the conversation away from parenting. Once in a while it's nice to chat about something else than little Johnnie's scatalogical adventures. 
  8. Just enjoy yourself. Don't feel guilty about it. Having a day like this keeps you sane and makes you a better parent to your kids.

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