One of the most defining points in my life was when I got my first job in a restaurant at 16 years old. All my parents were foodies, so it was a natural path. But little did I realize how much that first foray into the food and beverage industry would shape who I would become as an adult.
Of all the positions I held in various restaurants over the years (i.e. busser, server, manager, general manager, owner…) bartending ended up preparing me for parenthood in ways I never imagined – and likely helped be become a bad mom. It turns out the similarities between drunks and kids are UNCANNY! Bear with me, I’ll explain.
11 Ways Bartending Prepares You For Parenthood
#1 You may get thrown up on at any moment:
Or even better, it could be any number of bodily fluids that end up on you, much to your dismay. I bet you thought bartending would be a cushy job where you just poured things into glasses. Yeah, not so much.
When people lose their inhibitions, they also don’t always keep their bodily fluids to themselves. That means you never know what could come flying at you. If you can tolerate that from a random adult, the idea of your own little bundle of joy doing it will be a piece of cake.
#2 You can’t understand what they’re saying to you:
Random mumblings in your direction, and unintelligible chatter? If you want to succeed as a bartender or a parent, you need to be able to decipher this secret language. Being able to pick up on points, eye rolls, and smiles truly helps you to get along.
In the land of mom, this really helps you to be prepared for life as a caretaker to a person who cannot articulate what she wants. One day she’ll be wailing and flapping her arms, and you’ll be ready to hand her what she wants: a drink (a bottle – of course).
#3 You have to dig really deep for patience:
The fun part about hanging out with drunks is that they are super creative. The bad part about hanging out with drunks is that they will use their creativity to test your nerves in ways you have only imagined before.
Having to keep your cool with the drunks? Let’s just say that no child can be irritating in the way an adult can. If you can survive a Saturday serving drinks, you can do anything.
#4 You become a master multitasker:
Quick! I need ten Long Island iced teas, six birthday cake shots, and 4 mojitos. Repeat a million times. And you learn to make all of these in unison while holding intelligent conversation with the drunk across the bar.
As a parentI know that sounds familiar in SOME way. Make a snack, find the sock, change the diaper, do some homework, read a book, play a game… All. At. The. Same. Time.
#5 Everyone talks to you at once:
You thought just trying to multitask was bad? Try attempting to give everyone equal attention and feedback when they’re trying to tell you a story. All. At. The. Same. Time.
#6 Cleaning up after other really messy people:
Once again, all you do is clean up after someone else. Drinks are spilled left and right. More food ends up off the plate than on. The second you’re done picking up one mess, another larger mess is made two feet away.
Pretty much the ONLY difference here is that you get paid to clean up the mess as a bartender. As a parent, your payment is in the form of hugs, kisses, and more messes.
#7 All you do is make drinks – literally non stop:
Seriously, how is it possible that people can consume so many fluids! Just when you think you’ve escaped the never-ending flow of pouring drinks at the bar, you have kids who seem to be thirsty every second of the day starting from the nursing phase, and beyond. Especially the seconds right before bed!
#8 Advice giver:
I am convinced being a bartender should give you an honorary degree in psychology. I could write a novel, or two, with the stories customers drunkenly rambled on about. And of course, you learn how to give stellar advice in return.
Apparently the same goes with kids. You spend many an hour listening to their woes, and giving amazing parental advice. Just don’t tell them you learned your listening skills in a bar.
#9 Occasional punches thrown:
You may be used to the little ones getting rowdy after years of watching the occasional bar fight. Inevitably, someone says the wrong thing, feelings get hurt, and somebody gets shaken up. The only thing missing is a good bouncer!
#10 You have to help them walk:
There’s a reason toddlers are often likened to “drunken sailors”. The stagger is almost the same among the drunk, and the newly mobile.
#11 No breaks
If you want to test the boundaries of your bladder, your energy, and your patience, you have some options: Become a bartender or become a parent. Either way, you have no options to get a breather here.
Both children and customers require your constant attention. If left to their own devices, both of them will find themselves in some mischief. You don’t want that!
The bottom line here is, bedtime and last call are essentially one and the same. And no matter the path you choose, bartender or parent, at the end of a long day of either, all you’re really going to want is a nice stiff drink!
You could also say that parenting prepares you for bartending. But let’s be real, bartenders have to stay up past 8:30pm, and that’s just crazy talk.
There are even some books out there combining cocktails and kids, check these out ha!