Remember when a hangover meant an excuse to park your sorry ass on the couch and do nothing but curse the drunk version of yourself who got you into this miserable mess? There was usually greasy fast food or delivery involved at some point and a couple of phone calls to determine how to best distribute apologies and where you might not be welcomed back. Sure, a hangover meant a fair amount of discomfort and possibly some missed attendance points or an annoyed roommate, but it was also sort of cleansing and refreshing; like a mini detox session paired with a remote control, a bucket, and roughly four to six cat naps. Aside from a handful of self respect and maybe a pair of pants, there wasn't much to lose from a night of overindulgence.
Now just for kicks, let's toss a toddler and an infant into a hangover scenario and see how that plays out.
In my case, it all started with the absurd assumption that my alcohol tolerance had fully recovered from spending the better part of a year abstaining from, then carefully moderating my consumption of adult beverages.
It was the perfect storm: an open bar at one one of my favorite microbrews, free childcare, and finding myself conveniently located well within walking distance of our house. Happy wedding day to my dear cousin!
Following my thoughtless foray against one of the highest alcohol content brews at the open bar, the next logical step was to vomit on the sidewalk somewhere between the microbrewery and our house. This classy move immediately transitioned into a tearful stream of apologies and declaration of my unfit mother-status directed at my husband who was graciously more amused than annoyed as he escorted me through our neighborhood.
I somehow managed to pull myself together for a fly-by 'thank you' to my in-laws for babysitting as I gracelessly excused myself up to our bedroom.
Six hours later, I woke up on top of the covers still wearing my dress and one shoe. My mom-boobs were filled to the brim and begging for mercy. Somehow, I managed to seek out my breast pump and produced a whopping eleven ounces of (probably contaminated) milk while positioned--still in my dress--half propped at the head of my bed in an awkward pose which I imagine was a disturbing blend of murder victim and centerfold.
My phone had been mysteriously at large for most of the day and my husband was graciously pulling baby duty on the living room couch. And so, in my darkened bedroom it was just me, my whirring Medela Pump-In-Style and the awful realization that things were about to get much worse.
Now it was nearly 6:30 and my Sunday morning running buddies were gathering just a few miles away for a jaunt around the park. I might have tried to join them if the thought of extracting myself from my dress and locating a sports bra didn't seem like a completely impossible endeavor.
Once I'd emptied my poor lactating lady-utters, I toppled over into a pathetic heap of trepidation for approximately 20 more minutes before I heard my toddler stirring in the next bedroom.
He graciously occupied himself in his crib for about ten minutes before I heard him cry out 'uh-oh' (a sign he'd dropped his pacifier onto the floor) and begin to chant 'more? more?' (a sign he had begun to consider breakfast).
Luckily, the little guy didn't think twice when his mother greeted him at seven am wearing a floral dress, smeared mascara, and Bride of Frankenstein hair. He only bounced vigorously on his crib mattress and grinned at me like a damn fool.
Because I wasn't sure I could manage the stairs without killing us both and because the thought of cutting up a peach or a banana inspired significant nausea; I headed back into the bedroom with my squirming ball of toddler, plopped onto the bed, flipped on PBS, wrapped my arms around him and buried my throbbing head into a pillow.
I spent the next 20-30 minutes focused intently on not vomiting and waiting patiently for my Mother of the Year award.
Soon enough, my little man grew tired of the TV and tired of terrorizing the dozing dog and he shimmied himself off the bed. I had the foresight to close the gate at the stairs and the bathroom door (the cabinet and toilet are baby-proofed, but he has a tendency to try to climb head first into the tub to retrieve bath toys) before toppling back into bed, so I felt okay about letting him roam a bit...until things got disturbingly quiet.
Imagining all sorts of horrifying scenarios, I bounced out of bed (a move my head greatly protested) and found him sitting innocently in his room with a book in his lap.
Since I wasn't confident I would be able to exit my bed again, were I to get back in, I decided now was the time to tackle breakfast. We cautiously navigated the stairs and in an act of true heroism, my son made it safely to his high chair.
Next, I held my breath and delivered him a couple handfuls of toddler crack (I.e. Cheerios), milk, a granola bar and a puréed friut pouch. Then I dove onto the loveseat opposite my husband and once again waged war against my nausea. My husband tossed some good natured shit in my direction and I spent a minimum of five minutes thanking him for stepping Into baby duty and for being capable of behaving like an adult.
The next few hours saw me vomit into a plastic grocery bag (twice) and finally crawl helplessly back into my bed for another try at sleep.
It was a shit show to say the least.
Luckily I was able to creep back into a functional state in time to be less than an hour late to a family gathering. On the way, we stopped at McDonalds where my husband ordered food for himself, a happy meal for the toddler (pretty sure they pass out those Mother of the Year awards at the drive through window), and I requested that the entire order come without an odor. Incidentally, I was able to snap out if it long enough to protest the fact that the drive through lady wanted to know the gender of our child (tell her it's none of her damn business and give the kid any toy).
I eventually felt like a normal person again and life moved on at a more tolerable pace.
Turns out, I am not 22 anymore and my monster hangover was there to drive that point very painfully home. Now I get to go back to being boring, sober mommy who doesn't have to lie around praying for death. Everybody wins.