OPINION: Why I'm too old to be waking up with a Sunday morning hangover

Ruth Davies

Ruth Davies ready to party, before the reality of drinking in your early 40s with four children to come too dawned on her - Credit: Ruth Davies

I’ve never really been able to take my alcohol.

I’ve given it a good go over the years and tried very hard with lots of practice but whenever I partake my head usually finds itself resting on the toilet bowl while I swear to myself those infamous two word of 'never again'.

“Never again,” my husband always chuckles… “Until the next time?" 

And he’s right, because somewhere in-between making that declaration, and arriving at a party three weeks later, I seem to forget the horror of a hangover and brush it off as if it’s highly unlikely to happen again.

This is with years of experience to tell me quite the contrary. I’ll always find myself at another party, at some point in the future, with a glass of fizz thinking 'yeah, go on then, just top me up - again,'  entirely dismissing the fact I have history begging me to listen and just say that tonight I’m going to be the designated driver.


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It was fine in my twenties, the days when I’d be able to nurse that hangover for as long as I needed.

I’d stay in bed for hours before emerging fresh as a daisy and ready to party hard the next night as well.

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But these days, oh these days, things are quite different.

These are the days when I really do need to listen to my inner earworm whispering 'you really don’t want this next glass Ruth, you have to be up at 5am with the baby and taxi servicing the other children to various events, not to mention the soft play party in the afternoon for the littlest one'.

None of this works on six glasses of prosecco!

Yes, these days, when the lounging in bed to cure a hangover option is simply not available to me, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson. Except no. This past weekend is case in proof that I most definitely have not.

A party, a Saturday night party to celebrate my friend’s 40th was on the cards and with a new dress bought, a grandparent sitter secured and a night with friends very much looked forward to, I had made the decision to drive and allow my husband the honour of being the parent who felt rough all day Sunday.

It’s been ages since we’ve been out together sans children and we did think about a taxi but I had it all planned out.

I wasn’t going to drink. I’d finally grown up and caught on and knew my limitations. I wanted to wake up all smug and fresh and happy to enjoy Sunday. Truthfully, I wanted to enjoy that moment and congratulate myself on making such great life choices.

I picked up a friend along the way and that’s when the other earworm began her chatter… Jonny had just offered to drive home saying he really didn’t fancy a beer anyway and her soft whispers were getting louder and over-riding the other side… “Oh Ruth, you’ve not seen your friends for ages, go on… Just a couple of glasses of the fizzy, fizzy… It’ll be fine…”

And it was fine. For a time. I laughed hard, partied child free and we totally forgot who we were I think because at no point in the merriment did I stop and think hmmm, perhaps one more glass should be left because though the children aren’t here now, they’ll still be up at 6am and want feeding and entertaining while they run round like mad things making noise.

That little nugget of wisdom, and it should have been wisdom but wasn’t, completely left me as I popped another cork and clinked my glass.

There was dancing. Singing. Lots of sitting and putting the world to rights. Friends old and new and we had a brilliant time but… here comes the but… the inevitable hit me on the way home.

My 42 year old body, which just hours before had assumed it was still in its mid-twenties, came to the sudden realisation that my evening choices had very definitely been bad ones.

We had to stop the car on four occasions on the way home. Fresh air was needed and, apparently, a little run which I’d suddenly decided I should take. Only I wasn’t really in a fit state or wearing the right shoes for running so I fell over. A few times. And then we were home and my mum, looking after the children still because I wasn’t really in the right frame, told me off like I was a teenager and sent me to have a sit down on my bathroom floor before a crawl to bed.

I woke up with a very foggy head that hurt when I moved my eyes and a tummy which was screaming for me to feed it but a brain that told me it wouldn’t be possible just yet.

I’d need to wait a while. And I spent the entire day on Sunday hauling my broken aged body around the place, hobbling on my bad knee (the running fall) and wondering if I’d ever feel well again.

A hangover in your forties with four children to look after is not fun and as I uttered the words out loud, the “never again” ones, I watched my husband’s eyes, in all their smug designated driver style, roll to heaven as he looked me up and down and said: “Well yes Ruth, of course Ruth. Until the next time”.

But there isn’t going to be a next time. I know my limitations, it’s three glasses.

Any more and I’m over the edge taking midnight jogs, falling over and singing loudly, truly believing myself, in the moment, to be as good as a professional singer (sober me knows this is not true). So I’m saying it over and over while listening to the left hand earworm. Never again. Never again will I wake up with a hangover.

Maybe…

Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk

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