Food & Drink

10 Ways Drinking Completely Changes When You Have Kids

Mark Yocca

When that bouncing bundle of joy came into your life, you promised yourself that you wouldn’t turn into one of those parents. You would still go out. You would still be the one who was up on all the cool new bars. You would still have a well-curated, well-stocked home bar at all times. So, how’s all of that going?

Here, 10 ways drinking completely changes after you become a parent.

No Drink Was Ever as Good as That Post-Bedtime Drink is Now

Before you were a parent, you had many, many glasses of wine, but none of them ever tasted quite as delicious as the glass of straight-from-the-box Chardonnay you pour yourself when your kid finally goes down for the night. You did it. You parented another day. Drink up, because you’re doing it all again tomorrow.

Bathtime Is the New Happy Hour

Toddler splashing in the bath? Time to kick back (as well as you can with a wiggling, naked child making tsunami-sized waves in the tub) with a pour of bourbon or a beer. They’re confined and occupied, and you have plenty of surfaces on which to set your glass when it’s time for scrub-a-dub-dubbing.

Date Nights Are Sacred (and a Lot Less Elaborate)

When it was just the two of you, date nights meant fancy dinners out or concerts or bar crawls—and they weren’t infrequent. Now, it honestly doesn’t matter what you do or where you go—as long as it’s just the two of you. It can be 45 minutes sipping beers in silence at the nearest dive bar or just splitting a bottle of wine and some take-out tacos on the front stoop, but that’s date night—and it means everything.

A Drink That Used to Cost You $12 Now Costs $32

Cocktails are expensive as is, but now you’re not just paying for that drink, you’re paying for the privilege of drinking that drink, which means hiring a babysitter. So, on top of the cost of your bar tab, you’re shelling out $20 for every hour of freedom. Clock’s ticking, better drink up.

Cocktails at Home Are...Not Really a Thing in Your Life Anymore

You can open the fridge and grab a can of beer or bottle of wine without ever taking your eyes off of your offspring. But stirring up a Martini or shaking up a Daiquiri is out of the question—those kinds of drinks take concentration and juicing and two hands (you’ve mastered the art of popping up a can with just one). Lucky for you, canned cocktails exist now. Welcome to the future, cocktail-loving parents.

You’re Rarely Out With Your Spouse at the Bar

It’s been months since your friends have seen the two of you together at the bar. Tuesdays, you punch out and head to the bar, where you have a beer and talk about grown-up things while your better half stays home to discuss the nuances of Peppa Pig and Num Noms. Thursdays, your partner heads into the night and you brush up on making airplane spoon sounds. That’s cooperation.

Your Three Drinks in One Hour Becomes One Drink in Three Hours

Gone are the days of knocking back drinks. Now you have one drink—but you know how to make it last. It lasts through the daily 5 p.m. tantrum, right into 6 p.m. chase-the-cat time and all the way to 7:30 p.m. sleepies.

You Never Knew What It Was Like to Really Need a Drink Until Now

When you hear a single, child-free coworker announce how much they need a drink at the end of a long day, you laugh. If only they knew what it was really like to need a drink. You get home from a hard day and immediately kick into parent mode. You and your child run through every toy in the house only to find that the remote is the only thing that actually seems to occupy your little darling. You somehow get a few spoonfuls of pureed peas into a tum-tum, clean up the remaining bowlful that wound up everywhere else (including the ceiling, how’d that happen?) and snuggle the wee one until sleep finally wins. By that point, you don’t want a drink, you couldn’t use a drink, you neeeeeed a drink.

You Don’t Dare Risk a Hangover (Not After That First One)

The first time you found yourself running after your small child at 5 a.m. with a hangover was the last. After that excruciating experience, which no amount of Pedialyte or breakfast sandwiches could fix, you’ve made sure to avoid any and all excess. Well, at least, that’s been the goal with maybe a slip-up here and there. What are you going to do, not have a fourth glass of Champagne at your cousin's wedding?

There’s a Little Person Whose Sole Purpose Is To Out You for Drinking

How many pictures drawn by your child show you holding a glass? And what did “W” stand for in that homemade alphabet? Was it wine? Did your precious angel bring a Mint Julep cup to show and tell? And did your kid just ask if there was “isky” in your coffee cup? You don’t have a kid, you have a narc—or, you have yourself a budding bartender, congratulations.