Moms Are Out Here Hiring "Hangover Babysitters" So They Can Sleep It Off

Because there’s no greater investment than buying time to go back to bed.

Written by Elizabeth Narins
A woman who isn't feeling well lays in bed with her child.
Ray Kachatorian/Getty Images

"Ugh," whined a friend and mother of two under 5, hungover after attending a 40th birthday bash that sounded more like a wedding than a milestone birthday party. "We really should have booked a sitter for this morning."

Parents, surrender your wallets: Securing morning childcare the day after big nights out is an actual thing parents are doing. Exhibit A? Another mom and dad who attended that same party were allegedly sleeping in while my friend moaned and groaned, her children in the background relentlessly worsening her headache.

While childcare agencies don't exactly track parental drinking trends against requests for morning-after sitters, Sittercity spokesperson Jada Rashawn nods to data that supports the notion. "Nannies and sitters have reported an increase in direct requests for last-minute care from the end of the year through January," she says.

I like to think that at least some of those last-minute requests are for hangover coverage, because we can all just agree to agree: There's no worse combination than a late night of drinking and early morning duty with young kids. (We've all seen that Bluey episode by now, right?)

While morning-after coverage seems like the ultimate luxury, I've already resigned to paying sitters to warm my couch while my kids sleep when we go out. On the worst mornings thereafter, when there's not enough coffee in the world to stop the room from spinning, I'd happily pay anyone double to get my kids up, dressed, and fed while I hide out in bed for just a couple extra hours.

I'm definitely not alone here — lots of parents I spoke to are kicking themselves for not thinking of this sooner. When I polled my mom's group on whether anyone had ever booked a hangover sitter, the responses were unanimously aghast with envy. People do this? they wondered. Genius!

Rachel, a mother of two under 4 in Brooklyn, said she's bought time to sleep off her hangover. Annually, she secures childcare around a particularly rowdy holiday party her friends have been hosting for upwards of 15 years by asking her regular nanny to stay late and enlisting her backup nanny to arrive at 8 a.m. the next morning. Said sitter greets the kids upon waking, makes them breakfast, and takes them to the park while she and her husband sleep in — which is precisely what parents who can muster energy to party deserve, amirite?!

Rachel has also enlisted her kids' grandparents to arrive early on certain mornings. Other times, she's gone out of her way to let loose when grandparents are available for morning duty. (Did I mention she's my fun friend?!)

She tells me that morning coverage has been especially helpful for her on weekends when she or her husband are traveling and the other parent is flying solo, regardless of how much they drank the previous night. Nevertheless, to save costs, Rachel says she and her friends sometimes drop all of their kids to sleep at one apartment with an overnight sitter.

"One apartment becomes the kids' apartment, and the other becomes the party apartment," she explains. While my kids feel a bit young to fare overnight on their own, this makes perfect sense, along with any other arrangement involving alcohol and not seeing my kids first thing in the morning.

To that point, my friend Kim's arrangement might be the smartest: The mother of one says she strategically schedules heavy drinking dates for weeknights, when her kid goes straight to preschool in the morning. Although Kim still has to get up and get her daughter out of the house (and, oh yeah, go to work...), it minimizes the amount of parenting she has to do under the influence of whatever's plaguing her system from the previous night. (Work be damned!)

Working through a hangover somehow sounds easier than chasing a toddler between tequila burps, or trying not to dry heave when they ask for something like ketchup on their waffle.