Holiday parties, birthdays, Margarita Mondays, and just about anything that involves a grown-up beverage can seriously kick your mama butt. And that’s not even taking into account the next-day “parenting hangover.” According to a recent poll from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, one out of every four parents who drink during special occasions fail to consider how much alcohol they’re about to consume or who’s helping them care for the kids post-party. Before your next night out with your non-mommy friends, work fete, or other alcohol-infused event happens, check out how you can avoid parenting hangover headaches.

Mother with headache

1. Choose a designated parent. Think of this as the parenting version of the designated driver. The designated parent stays sober, making them the tipsy-free voice of reason. Let the designated parent do all the adulting during your night out — and into the next day.

2. Make sure you have backup sitters. You can’t guarantee that the one sitter you usually use will have a Saturday or Sunday a.m. available. Make sure to set up a selection of sitters to choose from. This ensures that you have a backup in case your regular caregiver has other plans or also indulges the night before.

3. Use your playground group of friends. The neighborhood playgroup that you have going on during weekdays can (and maybe should) exist on the weekends too. Organizing a round robin of hosts on Saturday, Sunday, or post-party mornings takes the pressure off and gives you a day-after break. At least for a few hours.

4. Count your cocktails. Remember the Mott poll stats? One in four parents are unlikely to plan how much they’ll drink beforehand, so it may be you that’s totally unaware of the alcohol’s effects. Know your number, set a limit, and stick to it. This may help you avoid the next-day meltdown (yours, not your kiddo’s).

5. Eat beforehand. It’s been nine months and counting since you downed Pinot like a champ. Your pre-baby ability to sip without feeling sick may not have stuck around. Drinking adult beverages on an empty stomach won’t do your body any favors.

6. Gather up the games. There’s no sitter in sight. And your designated parenting partner kind of forgot about their role. Moms with older kids can carve out some recovery time the next day by planning a morning packed with fun things the kids can do with minimal supervision. Hint: Don’t wait until the day-of to pick out games or come up with activities. Prep these busy-makers the day before. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

7. Create quiet time. The Champagne-fueled headache from the after-party isn’t going anywhere, and your tot’s “Mooooommmmmmy” squeals are reaching max decibel levels. You need a quiet-time activity — right now. Cuddle up for a mid-day movie-fest, let your kiddo softly read to you, or relax as your pint-sized Picasso paints your portrait.

8. Alternate drinks and water. Let’s say you want to avoid the next-day parenting hangover as much as possible. You could abstain completely, but if you want to indulge in some adult beverages, make sure to drink plenty of water. Try alternating cocktails, wine, beer, or any other grown-up drink with a glass of water. This doesn’t give you permission to drink more alcohol, but it may soften the hangover the next morning.

9. Rehydrate, rehydrate, rehydrate. While alternating wine and water may be the game plan, sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you imagined it would. When the grapes that gave you a party-time buzz now make you feel more like a shriveled raisin, you need serious hydration. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times the day after.

What are your favorite quiet-time activities for the kids? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)