15 Dec Let’s go crazy!
My top 5 tips on how to survive an epic grown up party.
As soon as Halloween was wrapped up I feel that Christmas had arrived. Now I know we say this every year ‘Did I just spot a mince pie in Sainsbury’s in June?’ But this year it does feel like the Xmas lights were up before Bonfire Night, the targeted adverts pushing ‘THE perfect party dress’ was firmly in and around my eye line, and the fear/excitement of going out sans kids started to creep in…
Now I am no social recluse but there is nothing like an exuberant 3 year old and a 9-mth old undergoing sleep boot camp to dampen the spirit. BUT – this weekend I survived my first 3am finish from a FUN Uni party (including dancing in a rotten achingly cool club) with a 5am child wake up. I thought I would be seasonal and summarize my Top 5 tips for surviving the party season with two very young children. Discuss in the comments below!
1. Agree in advance who is on the front line with the baby sitter and the kids
This is a MUST! Firstly, it saves on any discrepancy about who is responsible when the first kid’s cry rings out. It means that the baby sitter has a clear handover and gets paid at the end of the night. Finally – it means the kids get fed and looked after appropriately the morning after.
I started this conversation 2 months in advance of the FUN uni party. I was pregnant for the annual bash last year and my husband enjoyed a lift, a ‘pass’ (hate that phrase) until 6am, and carte blanche to sleep it off the next day due to being a health risk in general. This year I felt it was my turn. I broached this on a rare date night. My husband ensured me that it was a nice idea to have one parent on and one parent off (AKA pissed) but he could not ‘guarantee that he could stay in control of his indulgences’. URGH. Anyway, through sheer persistence we tried it and it worked. We traded Xmas parties (e.g. I got the FUN uni one – he gets New Years Eve), one responsible adult has a good time until around midnight and then departs for a few hours sleep but is ultimately responsible for the children until midday the following day. The other? Well… has fun.
The same principle applies to baby sitters. Agree who speaks to the baby sitter when you arrive home in ADVANCE of the night out. This came about after too many nights whereby I was left to pay and chat to the baby sitter when we arrived home. My husband would literally unlock the front door and disappear to the loo, upstairs, even to water the garden without even so much as a hello. Too many times I have been left small talking with eyes going in different directions and a level of judgment being thrown my way.
2. Move fast, start early, end with a bang
The key to success is to start the bedtime routine early. Also get the trusted baby sitter to arrive 30 mins before lights out/kick off so that the children have no unnecessary surprises in the night.
When settling two kids (including a sub 1 year old) and their toddler guests – I started the routine as early as 3.30pm! Maximum activity for 1 hour, including supercharged chaos, pulling out all toys and perhaps an impromptu disco in the front room. Supper at 4.30pm (pour yourself a Prossecco) and then start the wind down with the hope of a 6.30pm bedtime. My children go to bed/sleep at 7pm so the 6.30pm bedtime leaves 30 mins for more Prossecco (give the baby sitter a glass too for good will) and for the children to mess around with last minute loo requests, water, etc. Your goal is to call a taxi for 7pm.
3. Do not blame your hangover on the kids
Due to tip number 2 (prompt bedtime) your children (if success was on your side) would have had a full 12+ hours sleep. Now if you are anything like me, when I am sleepless any slight grizzle, whine or negative statement from my toddler can drive me to some serious anger management issues. ‘I just do NOT understand why you can not LISTEN when I tell you that I don’t know how many vitamins are in that jar!’ whilst throwing them in the bin. Keep your hangover and short fuse in check. It will only serve to install fear in your kids of future nights out if you’re a weirdo the next day.
4. Prepare food, activity and hangover cures in advance
An obvious one – do it! Just ensure you do not commit to any lunchtime dates with potentially judgmental family or friends. Also have some some key activities for the kids to enjoy (swimming is good with a hang over) and down the Alka Seltzer before you pass out.
5. Ignore the fear
Finally – after the significant amount of effort which has gone into prepping your night – go with it. Ignore that niggling fear (lack of sleep). Your partner can handle it, the baby sitter is trusted and competent, and you may as well go hard or go home? You can sleep when you die!
P.s Next year send the kids off to the Grandparents or a responsible trusted adult. Lucy x