And by that, I don’t mean kids and drinking as in some ABC after school special starring Meredith Baxter Birney where a single Mom discovers her 12 year old latch key kid has been sneaking peppermint Schnapps out of her liquor cabinet. No, I mean how when you have kids, it changes the way you look at drinking.
I have this theory, that when you have your first kid, you should be responsible for him or her for 5 days a week. The other 2 days would be covered by, I don’t know, some government subsidized nanny. (Let’s not get bogged down in the details or reality of my theory.) So on the weekends, you could still go out drinking like you did before the kid. Then, if you have a second, you have the kid for 6 days a week, so you get one night to yourselves. If you have a third, you’re S.O.L. You made your bed, deal with it. It was my theory that people could then ease into this whole parenthood thing.
But it’s not like that at all. One day, you’re going out drinking 3 or 4 nights a week like you’re still in college, only you have a job so you can afford to do it, sort of. The next day, you have a kid and it’s like a deer ran in front of your car, and oh my god, you have to slam on the brakes as fast as you can and the tires are squealing and it comes to a screeching halt and bam, there is no more going out. Ever. At least not for the first six months. Six months. Damn. Of course, you could find a babysitter and venture out before HALF OF AN ENTIRE YEAR has passed. But you won’t. Because your wife will tell you she can’t find a babysitter, and you’ll believe her because you can’t find one either, wouldn’t even know where to look, and nope, no babysitter here on the couch, but the reality is she isn’t looking for a babysitter because she’s scared to leave the baby and she’ll tell you to go out without her, but this is a test, and even in your sleep deprived state, because that’s what happens with a new baby, you still know this is a test, so you insist that it wouldn’t be any fun without her. And you pass the test, so congratulations, you’re stuck in your house for six months.
Let’s move on. Six months have passed. You can go out. Kind of. You have to call the babysitter every ten minutes and your wife is a nervous wreck, but technically, you are out. Of course, it’s different now. Because when you meet your friends in the bar that you used to frequent, you notice that they’re not yawning at 9:30 like you are. But still, you’re out. And you’re drinking. And your wife is drinking. And now you’re doing something you never did before the kid, you’re thinking ahead. One of you has to get up at 5:00 a.m. with the baby. And you’re still drinking. And your wife is still drinking. And one of you is now about 6 hours away from being very unhappy. And you know, deep down, that one of you, is you. Because there’s that whole guilt thing she can lay on you with just a look that says she went through 32 hours of labor for this baby, the least you can do is get your ass out of bed this one time so she can sleep off this hangover.
And you will. And you’ll be sitting on the couch, feeding the baby, realizing there is nothing worth watching on TV at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday no matter how long you search for Davey and Goliath, and you think that maybe, it’s not worth it anymore. Not the friends and the going out part. You’re tired, not insane. But maybe you have to change the way you think about drinking.
So things do change. Your friends have kids. You find friends with kids. You go to dinner. You have dinner parties. You travel for business and get after it like you’re 21 again. Okay, bad example. The point is, it’s all good. All of it. The good times don’t end, they just change venues.
But if it’s noon on a Sunday and you’re reading this after rolling out of bed after a wild night the details of which you can’t divulge, I hate you. And enjoy it.