Why Parenting is Exactly Like Partying

I’ve realised something in the last few days: there is very little difference between my heyday of partying and my life now, weirdly.

I won’t lie: from the age of 18 (ahem…17…ish) I was always a fan of a big night out in a cheesy student nightclub. Who wasn’t?

These days, my party times are over, but I’ve noticed some remarkable similarities in parenting and partying.

1. The Annoyingly Persistent Pal

Sometimes, shopping trips with a toddler are like nights out with a pain-in-the-arse pal:

“You know what we should do? We should go to THIS bar.”
“But it’s not practical.”

“Fuck practical. It’s shiny.”

“But it’s expensive and the talent is really poor.”

“I know, but SHINY.”

“Look, why don’t we go closer to where most of the group are from and that will be cheaper and more fun?”

“No. Let’s go here.”



Think of this, with less bar and more shop, and a more tearful tantrum at the end.

2. The taxi soiling charge

Have you ever tried to get a really drunk friend home in a taxi? I remember the big white sign that said if they spewed in the taxi you’d get hit with a £100 soiling charge.

Try taking a toilet training toddler in a taxi. I actually heard myself tell Pod on Sunday:

“I swear to god, wee man, if you piss or shit in this taxi, we are no longer pals.”

How times have changed…yet haven’t.

3. Strategically planning your outings

Ah, those were the days. “Let’s go to this bar because so and so’s biggest crush and his pals will be there. And then we can go to that bar for the drink promo hour. And then if we go to there we’ll get free passes for that club and then we can…”

Wait. This sounds familiar…

“We need to be somewhere at midday for his feed and then he might need a change about 2. But I don’t want to be out then because if he doesn’t nap I’ll actually kill myself when he strops later.”


4. Sunshine = OUTSIDE

What was once beer garden weather is now just beer in the garden weather.

5. Indecent exposure

Girls gone wild style flashing and mooning? Getting free drinks for a sneaky glimpse of nip?

Nah. I have a 2-year old who happily grabs my tshirt and reveals my boobs to the world.


He got them out for a health visitor this morning when I had no hands left to stop him.

And he wasn’t even breastfed.

6. The cockblock

There’s always one pal who is more than happy to ruin any possibility of you getting to pull.

My flunked marriage and child shape do the job nicely these days.

7. Judgey judgey judgey JUDGEY

Where previously we were judged on our clothes, makeup, hair, dance moves, flirting, putting out, and uh…technique, we still get judged just as much…just for different things.

Oh, you formula feed? Durrr. Breast is best.

Oh, you shout? Remain calm.

Oh, he’s not saying his alphabet at 4 months? Fuck you.

8. Booze


Some things NEVER change.

9. Increasingly late time = decreasing fussiness

Mind what we affectionately called “the witching hour”? Where it reached 2am and suddenly everyone was attainable or desirable?


Except, for housework and parenting.

“Sod it, you had a four minute bath, I’ve ironed what we need for tomorrow and there is a small path between toys to my bed and the bog. #goals”

10. Keeping ungodly hours

You thought that when you got a proper job and a bloke and a house and all that, your days of seeing dawn from the wrong side and being awake while the rest of the world was asleep were over.
And then you had a child.

11. Drunk speak

Years of both translating and speaking Drunk Speak finally pay off: you’re sorted with Toddler Babble.

12. Vaguely unidentifiable food

My nights out used to end with a trip to the takeaway and often some combination of chips/cheese/donner meat/pakora sauce/pizza. It was like “Name that foodstuff.” Which is kind of like what you do when you’re weaning.

“What’s for tea?”

“Beige smoosh.”

13. Completely random laughter and joy

I’ve been known to wake up after a night out giggling about something that happened. As memories come back to me I’ve often giggled more.
Parenting has done the same: I never expected so much random, unexpected laughter and joy as parenting has given.

Maybe that’s where it differs…

I miss my party days, but would I pass this up? Never. One thing that I know for a fact is that when he reaches 18 (ahem…17…ish) he will probably encounter exactly the same things. Terrifying, eh?

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