Even Science Agrees Parenting While Hungover Is The Worst Thing Ever

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
A hungover mom lying down in bed next to her newborn child with a sleep mask covered with a red chec...
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Study finds that most parents try their best to avoid parenting while hungover

Having kids changes everything, up to and including the aftermath of a night of boozing. Before those tiny people woke you pre-dawn demanding waffles and their favorite sippy (that’s of course in the dirty dishwasher), you could nurse your pounding head and churning stomach in relative peace. But now? LOL, kids absolutely don’t care if you’re hungover, and a new survey proves what most moms and dads already know — being a hungover parent is the literal worst.

According to a University of Michigan study, hungover parenting is so terrible that many of us actually plan to avoid it altogether. A full 67 percent of the 1,170 parents surveyed said “they are very likely to make plans for someone to take care of their child the day after the event.”

And just like that, all my memories of overdoing it the night before only to be on the couch before the sun was up with Thomas the Train blaring and my son bonking me on the head with his snack trap come rushing back. It’s the honest-to-goodness worst.

The survey had lots of good news for how parents coordinate their imbibing with making sure their little ones have a sober caregiver at all times. 73 percent of those surveyed said they were “very likely” to make plans in advance for someone to watch their child during the event, and 68 percent were “very likely” to make sure they have safe rides home. So that’s good.

RELATED: 36 Caregiver Quotes And Poems Sure To Buoy Your Spirits

On the down side, 29 percent of parents “said they know of an adult who may have caused an unsafe situation for their child due to drinking alcohol at a special celebration.”


There’s a huge difference between knowing you’ll have a rip-roaring headache the next day but your child will be safely cared for and putting a child in jeopardy. Little PSA here — definitely make sure all children in your care are safe if you plan to drink and with a sober caregiver at all points in time.

OK, moving on.

“Most parents planning to drink alcoholic beverages on a night out arrange for a designated driver and childcare for the event itself,” said Sarah Clark, the poll’s co-director, in a press release. “Fewer parents may consider how their alcohol consumption could impact parenting responsibilities to their young children the next day.”

That is, until they’ve been around the block a few times and understand how absolutely horrible it is to do the parenting thing while nursing the mother of all hangovers. Hint: it’s not pretty.

Clark has some suggestions to make the night worry free — and the day a lot less painful. “If alcohol use may potentially impact their ability to take care of their children the following day, parents may also consider childcare arrangements. Having children stay the night at a relative’s home or asking a grandparent to stay overnight are options to ensure young children are in a safe and supervised environment.”

And if you don’t have the ability to send your kiddos off for a night with grandma, at the very least, make sure you have safe and sober transport and that you or your partner don’t drink so someone can care for the little guys that night — and OMG yes please, the next morning.

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