bearing children

All I Want for Mother’s Day Is a Hangover

Photo: Martin Dimitrov/Getty Images

Mother’s Day! Brunch, a prim cardigan, a day at the spa, some glitter-wrecked piece of paper slobbered on by your offspring. I remember my mom always asked for — pause to let your heart break — dish towels. We ate pancakes, I think? After we moved away from home, I started sending my brothers bossy texts to remind them to call her. Now that I’ve made my mom a grandma, I know what I should have been suggesting all along: Set those dish towels on fire, and get wasted. For Mother’s Day, my top gift pick is a hangover.

Do you think that hangovers are to be avoided — especially if you have kids? Think again. Take some time to remember what being hungover is like. You wake up with your head split in half, mouth like something died in there. You spend all day roaming through different foods like the protagonist in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, searching for the one that might settle the roiling in your stomach. A hopeful bagel with cream cheese and tomato, a sweating tower of iced coffee, a sturdy slab of lasagna. Nothing’s going to work, but a hangover’s more about the journey than the destination. A big part of your journey is babying yourself, for once: pills to kill a headache, a washcloth over your throbbing eyes (the spa!), the indulgence of self-centered, alcohol-onset worries, whines you have no right to whine but can, on this day of all days (your day).

Instead of waiting for someone else to arrange some boring-ass brunch: Take back Mother’s Day from smug dads and overachieving brats the world over. Rather than gritting your teeth through how other people planned for you (maybe poorly!), you can plan the day yourself, simply by sabotaging your body.

But this is not only about being able get tanked the night before. That’s just where it starts: Declare (don’t ask) your intention, which is drinking to the point of guaranteed hangover — not a wispy hangover solved with a cup of coffee, but a full-on one that lands you in bed (alone) for at least part of the day. Once the kids are down for the night, go out with friends, drink a beer in the shower, swig from a bottle of wine on the couch. This is Mother’s Day Eve, my friends, and it’s yours to spend as you wish. Be only as social as you want to be.

If you’re surrounded by decent people on Mother’s Day, they’ll respect your request and leave you to the luxurious pursuit of tending to your injured body, plus your addled mind. Why’s Mommy still in bed with the door locked? Because Mommy is celebrating Mother’s Day alone, in quiet, taking advantage of the day society has allotted her. In your fortress of hungover solitude, don’t resist brief attacks of guilt and regret — what kind of a mother is hungover on Mother’s Day?? — and instead let them rain down upon you. You are hungover enough to weather anything, even the traditional Mother’s Day activities your sweet family might insist on.

To all the pregnants, to anyone who can’t or doesn’t drink: I’m sorry. Your Mother’s Day is in the hands of others. To anyone who can, please join me, in spirit and spirits. This Mother’s Day, I’m going to have had some drinks.

All I Want for Mother’s Day Is a Hangover