Ah, New Year's Eve. An occasion to get dressed up, go out to a glittering party with great food and even better company, and get really, really drunk. Until you become a parent that is. Once kids are in the mix, the last night of the year is usually spent on the sofa, in sweats, watching Ryan Seacrest, and hoping you can even make it to midnight.
Ten years ago, when our first daughter was born, I felt disappointed that my New Year's plans had become so lame. But now, I can't wait to cozy up with my four kids and my husband. Going out is the furthest thing on my mind, especially because we've found ways to make a family New Year's Eve superfun. And yes, that still includes drinking alcohol.
To be clear, my husband and I will sip Champagne or wine responsibly. Gone are the days when we did shots as the ball fell in Times Square. I'll likely enjoy a few glasses of wine or bubbly after the kids are tucked in around 9 p.m., then fall asleep at 10:30. I know all four are ready and raring to go by 7 a.m. whether it's a random Monday or New Year's Day, and mommying on no sleep and/or with a hangover is not happening. I never want to drink so much that I can't hear one of the kids calling for me in the night. Still, we don't totally refrain from alcohol, especially on a holiday, because why would we?
You might ask why my husband and I don't just go out and get a babysitter so we can let loose a bit more. The answer is because I still have to be mom the second I step in the front door of my house, so it's not like I can go crazy at a bar or at a friend's home either, unless the sitter is staying all night. And honestly, I trust myself to drink responsibly more than any babysitter. I can't know everything that person is doing while I'm not there. We do not live close to any family, so getting grandma to help out isn't an option.
In the end, I like being with my family on New Year's Eve, and I also like having a drink or two to celebrate. The kids get all excited, we decorate the house, make yummy treats, and cuddle. Mommy and daddy have a few adult drinks throughout the night, and that's about it. No, it isn't the most exciting night of our lives, but at this stage, I'll take our little party with just a glass or two of Champagne over the fanciest, open bar soirée out there.