The seedy underbelly of mommyhood

Oh, moms. Y’all nearly had me fooled with your sweet desk photos, Instagram shrines to your offspring and sappy Facebook memes about proudly wearing your stretch marks and loose skin like badges of honour from a hard-won “but so worth it!!” battle. For the record, I don’t want women to feel ashamed of their post-baby bodies, but nobody in their right mind is pro-stretch marks.

When you get pregnant though, moms start saying things you’ve never heard them say before. Things like:

“I fantasized about walking out the door and never coming back.”

“For a few days after he was born all I could think was, ‘what the fuck have I done to my life?’”

“You WILL poop on the delivery table.”

“Our toddler is a cock-blocker. Even asleep, he senses an erection from three rooms away and starts screaming. Every. Damn. Time.”

“Baby _______ was an asshole.”

“I pee a little when I sneeze now.”

It’s like suddenly getting handed a backstage pass to a show where – instead of stumbling into a hedonistic sea of cocaine-snorting hard-bodies revelling in shameless debauchery and gratuitous sex – you find your idol applying baby powder to his leather-pant chafed balls, while sipping a kale smoothie.

Yup, there’s a whole lot of ugly reality behind this velvet curtain. I’ll give you this: you’re a wily bunch, moms. Walking around telling everyone how wonderful motherhood is and badgering us to join your cult until we take the bait, then boom! It’s all poop and cock-blocking.

Drinking for two

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t drink much, or isn’t wearing a Fernie Brewing Co. branded tank top as she writes in her pregnancy (and CATS!) blog, this post won’t be very useful to you. For the rest of you lushes, I envision it as the definitive guide to faking it through the first trimester. Because if you’re a drinker, the hardest part of keeping the first 12 weeks of pregnancy a secret is hiding the fact that you’ve suddenly gone teetotal.

The key is almost stupendously simple. The key to not drinking is to just keep on drinking. 

Relax. I only mean that the quickest way to get busted is to start outright refusing drinks – like this one girl I worked with who I knew was pregnant from the get-go.

It helps to understand that I work at an advertising agency, and while it’s not really like Mad Men, it’s not that unlike it either. Example: we have a 40 of vodka in our freezer at all times. And a keg in our board room. We also have something called Thirsty Thursday, which is a kind of casual, “what’s everybody working on and what’s going on” get-together every second Thursday at 4 pm. Of course, we also sometimes have May As Well Drink Mondays, Tie One On Tuesdays and Fuck It, It’s Fridays. Drinks are just part of the culture.

So when this girl whom I’d never known to turn down a drink suddenly reacted to my offer of a beer like a vampire to sunlight – I knew. And that’s when it dawned on me…if you want people to think you’re drinking…just take the damn drink. You don’t actually have to drink it.

So that’s the basic philosophy. Here is a more detailed strategic breakdown of the various ploys that can be used to execute on it.

The sneaky sipper

To be fair, this one works best if you’re wiling to take the occasional real sip between totally fake sips. It can be teeny, but every once in a while you’ll want to swallow or it loses authenticity. Otherwise, just fake sip away and take any chance you can to dump a bit out of your glass so the level goes down. Red solo cups, dark beer bottles, cans and beer cozies all provide excellent camouflage for your exact drink level.

The switcheroo

Take your drink and make the alcohol disappear altogether, and then drink with abandon. I once dumped and refilled a beer bottle with water and guzzled away. Another time I refilled a rum and coke with just coke and downed it. At a party, I took my white wine sangria and stealthily dumped the liquid, refilling it with gingerale but keeping all the fruity shit. Looked totally legit. Plus the boozy peaches tasted delicious. Just don’t get caught doing the dumping.

The partner in crime

This is by far the best (and funnest) strategy. You need another willing drinker who is inside your circle of lies and bullshit and you need to drink the same thing. So you both get, say, glasses of chardonnay and you fake sip, while they for-realsies sip. Then at regular intervals, you switch glasses. This works best if you occasionally put your glasses down and then just pick each others’ drink up. This way the level of both glasses goes down at roughly the same rate. And getting away with it is actually fun. You will both be giggling like drunk idiots. But only one of you really will be.

The I’m so hungover I may die

Just as it says. Pretend you can’t even handle hair of the dog. You can execute this move at least once or twice with any one person or group of people before they are likely to stage an intervention for you. It’s also super easy to pull off when you are legitimately vomiting and looking like shit.

The bartender is your homeboy. Or girl.

This is where you bring the bartender into the circle of lies and bullshit. You’ll want to arrive early to talk to them or pull them aside. Then you just fill them in, “I need you to help me look like I’m drinking but I can’t actually drink.” They will know what’s up and will gladly help you out. I’ve done it for customers myself. Suddenly, you’re drinking a “vodka/water” or “gin & tonic” all night long – served in a short glass, with heavy ice and a twist. Or an O’Doulls that’s been pre-poured into a glass out of sight of your companions. Tip them like you’re drunk.

The final word of advice is to just be cool, man. A couple days ago a friend announced her pregnancy (at 12 weeks) and confessed that she had been worried she’d get caught for totally fake drinking at her husband’s birthday party a few weeks prior. I laughed and said, “don’t worry about it, people are not nearly as observant as you think they are.” I know this because I was also fake drinking at that very same party…and I’m really looking forward to telling her this in a few more weeks.