The Delicate Art of Drinking While Dadding
When I pick up my three-year-old, Ellie, at preschool and she sprints into my arms, the struggles of the day dissipate. When my newborn, Wilder, giggles as I tickle his tiny belly, my heart melts. But eventually, he’ll have a shit explosion out the back of his diaper just as she starts rolling on the floor, wailing, “I need a cheeeeeeese stiiiiiick!!!” Screw your cheese stick, honey. I’m reaching for the Wild Turkey.
Intellectually, I know this is “bad parenting.” In actuality, drinking while dadding makes me much better at child-rearing. With a slight buzz, the relentless crises don’t seem so bad. Booze eliminates the inherent boredom of fatherhood; I stay off my phone and engage with my kids. It lowers my IQ and raises my sense of childlike wonder. Slightly sauced, I now read ponderous children’s books with a gusto I couldn’t muster sober.
“Chicka chicka boom boom!” I say, and I really fucking mean it.
“What will the Very Hungry Caterpillar eat next?” I wonder. “Four strawberries? Incredible!”
My mom recently implored me to remove an Instagram story that showed me sipping a beer while coloring page after page of Elsas and Annas with my daughter. “You don’t want people to think you drink with her,” she said. My mom comes from a generation that believed parents were either alcoholics or teetotalers—no in-between—so she doesn’t understand that drinking and parenting can be mutually advantageous. At the least, it makes another episode of PAW Patrol bearable.
This is no Don Draper crap—come home, fix a stiff martini, and retire to an easy chair while ignoring the kids and letting Betty handle the bedtime routine. I’m not drunk dadding; I’m drinking while dadding. Although, yes, if I have to attend Sesame Street Live! I’ll need to get a bit blotto to deal with Elmo’s annoying ass.
I’m one of these modern dads who had children later—me when I was thirty-seven and already two decades into an adult life of happy hours and bar crawls, cocktail parties and Sunday Fundays. So, maybe a bit selfishly, I decided there was no need to alter my lifestyle simply because a little pisher was in the equation. It works!
Where I live makes this possible. Whereas many of us were raised in the ’burbs with parents who served as full-time chauffeurs—nothing stronger than a thermos of Folgers in the center console—parents my age are increasingly choosing to remain in urban areas. In my Brooklyn neighborhood, that means every dad can safely holster an IPA in the UPPAbaby’s cupholder at all times.
And because I don’t have to drive us home from another excruciating princess party, I can have one or two or three cocktails with the other forty-something parents who refused to give up every part of their former lives to raise a brood. The only thing I have to remember—no matter how many times I listen to a bunch of three-year-olds sing-yell “Into the unknoooooooown!”—is not to drink too much. Sober dadding may be hard, but dadding while hungover is impossible.
From: Esquire US