The "before-kids" versus "after-kids" New Year's Eve party comparison:
Goal of the evening
Before Kids New Year's: Get drunk, dance and share a passionate kiss with someone you love or a new crush at the stroke of midnight.
After Kids New Year's: Occupy the kids with fun activities and other children so that you can drink wine and have uninterrupted conversations with other adults.
Before Kids New Year's: Book tickets to big hotel party, agonize over whether or not to take a date or hope to meet someone new at the party, book pre-party hair appointment and maybe even a mani and pedi.
After Kids New Year's: If no one has the flu, the roads aren't icy or a snowstorm isn't forecast, call friends who also have kids at 2 p.m. on New Year's Eve and scramble to make a plan.
Before Kids New Year's: Spend weeks choosing just the right cocktail dress (not too short, not too long, just a dash of sparkle), agonize over shoes, accessories, sheer stockings and lacy undergarments.
After Kids New Year's: Spanx's "New and Slimproved Power Panties."
Before Kids New Year's: Bring extra cash for a cab or better yet, book a night at the hotel where the party is.
After Kids New Year's: Play "rock-paper-scissors" with Hubster to determine designated driver.
Alcoholic beverage of choice
Before Kids New Year's: Start with the glass of champagne included with ticket. Followed up by a Singapore Sling, two Alabama Slammers and a B-52 and then move on to beer. I'm cooking with gas now!
After Kids New Year's: Anything made with citrus juice makes my teeth hurt for two days. Merlot gives me migraines. More than two drinks with vodka result in a three-day headache. Beer bloats me. Maybe I shouldn't drink at all. The kids will be rip-roarin' to go early as usual. Okay, one Chardonnay it is. Two maximum.
Before Kids New Year's: Who cares about the food? Where's the bar?
After Kids New Year's: Potluck so each parent can bring food that adheres to children's individual allergies, food dislikes and the parents' need to control sugar, red dye and preservative content. Protein-heavy appetizers for parents. Secret stash of Party Mix to eat when children aren't looking.
Before Kids New Year's: What if there is a line up at the bar and I lose my buzz while waiting for another drink?
After Kids New Year's: What if one of the kids gets hurt or sick and needs to go to the ER and I am tipsy at the hospital with my sober Hubster and the nurse calls Social Services because she suspects I am an unfit parent?
Before Kids New Year's: Cheering and kissing. Or if the night is an unmitigated disaster - which we know is all too common -- drowning your sorrows in another B-52.
After Kids New Year's: Zzzzzzzzzzz...snore...snort.
Happy New Year!
"I'm going to put some ice on my knee, cook some popcorn and watch hockey. I might fall asleep too. Woohoo. Happy New Year."
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