These days hangover’s are managed with ease. My children are from a ‘conciously uncoupled’ home; therefore one responsible parent is in charge of them each weekend, duly diarised in accordance with whose turn it is to ‘go out’. But in days of yore that was not the case. Mind you I say ‘with ease’ when in truth my latent anxiety will lead me to truly I have Meningitis and I’ll spend the entire day pressing a glass against my skin. That and perusing YouTube to decide on an appropriate song for that bit when my coffin disappears through the velvet curtain. Every single time I promise myself I’ll not go down this ridiculous route again; but to no avail. The draw is too strong and is actually made worse by the lack of children who would normally make the hangover worse. At least when they’re there ruining your actual life you can feel embittered and enraged whilst emetic.
It’s like the angelic face of your sleeping child; a sight that can bring tears to your eyes whilst gazing at their tiny nose and rosebud lips. An angelic face that only an hour earlier was smeared in it’s own poo after they’d decided to ‘do one on the toilet’. One that didn’t end up ‘in’ the toilet at all, but a heavy nappy of shit was located in the shower tray wrapped up in a pair of leggings and socks. The rest of the poo was smeared on the toilet seat and over said child’s buttocks and legs. Oh and the slightly later discovery of their ‘poo-steps’ from the shower to the toilet to the top of the stairs to let you know. I digress…
So despite being free to be ‘hungover’ these days I’m still drawn into a self-destructive cycle of guilt, negativity and fear. I can usually be found slumped on the sofa eating handfuls of Kettle crisps; truly believing the salt will ‘sort me out’ then draining flat coke; for the ‘minerals’. I’ll be drawn into watching shit daytime telly whilst thinking of my little girls faces. Imagining them out in the fresh air, enjoying nature. The imagined sound of their carefree laughter and beaming smiles all adding to my shame. I mean I’m their mother; their bloody MOTHER! I’m not supposed to down 3 weeks worth of units in one night, consume dodgy ‘meat-on-a stick’ then wake up wondering where my left shoe is.
So instead of enjoying the peace; relaxing into the pain of a brilliant night out, I find myself being drawn home to fold washing and de-hair plugholes as some sort of penance. I remake their shoddily made beds; fold their Weetabix encrusted PJ’s with love and find my eyes resting upon their favourite soft toy. By the time they return I am a decent Mother once more; the house is spotless, I am wearing my metaphorical corset of abstinence once more and ready to receive them. Arms outstretched; nothing is too much trouble. ‘Another story my angel?’ of course. ‘Peanut M&M’s for tea?’ why not. It can’t last long though for that is parenting law. So it is usually around 6pm I get a memo from my liver informing me that a successful detox has taken place and on this occasion death is not imminent. At this point my usual fanaticism about health with resume and I’ll become ‘holier than thou’ whipping away treats and cups of squash administered in a moment of weakness. The fall-out of this will result in mega-tantrums all round, thus restoring the important parent/child balance and everyone’s peace of mind.
Each time I promise myself it’ll be different. It’s time to cut myself some slack; I work damn hard 7 days a week, is it a crime to enjoy a few cocktails every few weeks with my friends? So next time I will try harder; there’s already a glimmering date of hope on the calendar. Another chance to ‘cut loose’, not be Mum but me. A chance to wear something risqué; to fake-tan the bits on show, pop on the heels that give me a normal leg length but make me cry and enter the yes/no debate as to whether to bother wearing fake lashes. Always ‘no’. An evening of merriment, gossip and flirtation all washed down with ‘Mother’s Ruin’. Time to redress the work/fun balance and in the words of Queen ‘break free’.
So next time I will say fuck the guilt. Piss off negativity, I’ll take my punishment, smile through the retching, shakes and pickled brain. This time the morning after will be viewed as essential recuperation; like I’ve had an operation. I’ll read magazines, eat crumpets and revel in the smugness of not having to change a nappy or deal with the endless proffered fingers bearing ‘boggy’s’. I’ll spend ages sucking chocolate squares and comfort-watching American Sit-com’s bearing fluffy socks and not wash until tea-time. I’m feeling ready; I’m girded and strong…I can do this. Until the next time…wish me luck!