Urgh! Why don’t I learn? Parenting and alcohol don’t mix. Now, that may sound obvious to anyone to Americans, who don’t drink excessively, but the wheels of English society are oiled by gin. No social gathering would be complete without a few drinks, and since we’re all borderline alcoholics anyway, those few drinks always turn into too many.
The thing is, when you have young kids you don’t have time off. Ever. There are no lie-ins. There is no restorative duvet time, watching Star Wars and eating bacon sandwiches. Parenting starts at 7am sharp, seven days a week and children are very unreasonable, demanding and unempathetic bosses.
This morning, I hid under the duvet making aaaaarg noises, and tried to convince the kids that I felt sick due to poisoning, and was having a little bit more sleep and could they please entertain themselves. It sounded reasonable enough, if you ignore the fact that my illness was self-inflicted (and yes – I do feel horrible and guilty, more on that later).
My two year old decided she was going to ‘tuck me in’ and go about a bedtime routine, which involved getting me a blanket and teddy, forcing my thumb into my mouth and whispering a hushed version of Twinkle Twinkle little star whilst kissing me enthusiastically. Then she bellowed ‘GET UP! GET UP NOW! BREAKFAST!’ and tried to force feed me plastic food.
Then my five year old literally pulled my eyelids open to show me her picture of ‘a monster called poo, with brown hair that’s boy hair even though she’s a girl monster, and red boots and here is her bottom.’ I had to assure her that the picture was a skilled rendition and that the boots were the right shade of red.
So WHY do I do this to myself? WHY haven’t I grown up and realised I’m not in my twenties, living in a shared house with recycling bins full of beer bottles and a ‘party bed’ in the bathroom? (We also called that bed ‘unhygeno bed’, but it did the job if anyone wanted to sleep over. Better than the floor…)
Like most people, I think parenting came as something of a shock to me. I thought I’d be fine. Nothing much would change. I was so blind to the shit storm coming my way, that I even considered having a baby in the house my partner and I shared with three other friends. HA HA HA! Thank goodness he persuaded me to move before the baby came.
And it was all SUCH a shock, SUCH a change that I don’t think I’ve ever really fully adjusted or let go of that life I had before. I mean … thinking about it, why would I want to let it go? Staying up until 3am, then lying in the next day until noon and wandering into Brighton centre for a brunch at one of the many fine restaurants … (although it always used to annoy me when parents brought noisy kids in …), and then possibly having a few afternoon beers on the beach to chase off the last hangover clouds. It was great.
Oh my god. I’ve ruined my life …
Or possibly I’m just not responsible enough to be a parent. I’m too immature. I could, of course, simply stop drinking. That would be the sensible solution. And right now I’m positive I’ll never drink again. Although there is that wedding next week, so … Anyway. Excuse me one moment, would you? I’ve just got to go throw up in the potty.
Suzy K Quinn is the author of new motherhood fiction, the Bad Mother’s Diary.