Dad-Beers: How Many is Too Many?

There is little in life that fazes us as Dads.

Tyre needs changing? Got it.

Washing machine making a funny noise on the spin cycle? No idea but let me have a look at it.

Take the training wheels of the little one’s bike? Where’s me shifter?

All we really need is the right tool, enough time and – depending on the predicted length of commitment – a beer. Or two.

So when the Other Half pops her head into the shed, armed with empty shopping bags and a full Mastercard, and says, “Remember, I’ve got that Shopping Tour with the girls from playgroup this afternoon. You’re still good to look after the kids, yeah?” your mind flips between two seemingly opposed yet confluent forces: to Beer, or not to Beer?

Because, in your head, you had already mapped out your afternoon, beer by beer by beer.

Tidy shed, Mornington Lager.

Rake leaves and put mower away, Hawkers Pilsner.

Inside, prep lunch, plant in front of telly for footy preview, Brewmanity Pale Ale, working up to one or maybe two Pirate Life IPAs by three-quarter time before a palate cleansing Two Birds Golden Ale before dinner… and maybe a beer?

Is the plan still executable with three kids to mind? One beer too many and you are the one who will find himself ‘executable’.

Now, before the comments section begins to fill with finger-wagging invective and the number for AA, I need to point out that I am a staunch advocate for responsible consumption of alcohol and that not every sunny weekend day is spent trying to empty the beer fridge or task-matching with various ales and lagers. But, moderate consumption of the world’s oldest – and most moderate-strength – drink is a valid part of a healthy lifestyle.

Plus, I can tell y’all for a fact that a beer or two makes playing with Barbies far more enjoyable.

It’s a dilemma as old as time. Responsibility versus recreation. Can I still enjoy a beer while acting like a responsible adult? Of course you can!

I can tell y’all for a fact that a beer or two makes playing with Barbies far more enjoyable…

Here are a few simple pointers to make your next incursion far more rewarding and memorable with far less chance of an unplanned trip to the All Hours Medical Centre.

First one doesn’t count.

What would have happened if you had already knocked the top off a cold one when the Missus handed over the kids? Can’t take it back, can’t ‘un-pour’ it. Car’s gone. Doesn’t count.

Plan ahead.

Before ripping into the second beer (which, remember, is actually your first), order your universe. Need art and craft stuff? Put down the drop sheet and the newspaper first, assemble your paints and pens and glue. You don’t want to be a few lagers into it and have to navigate the kids’ room to find something only to trod on Lego with bare feet. That’s bullshit without a beer buzz going on.

Third time’s a charm.

Beer number three brings out Fun Dad and, like the warm-up guy before filming an episode of Family Feud, its job is to prime both the host and the audience for a special performance. The kids will laugh longer and louder and will recant tales of their joy to Mum when she gets home, awarding you bonus brownie points and increasing the probability of sexy time later on.

Number Four – approach with caution.

The fourth coldie is your fork-in-the-road. This day of joy can now go one of two ways. If you’re the sort who tends to go a little ‘hard’ after three beers, you may want to bask simply in the glow of what has been a memorable day of father-child bonding and one that will be kept fondly by you and your offspring and stop here.

Home Stretch.

If you’ve got this far and the kids are still in possession of (A), their good humour; (B), their collection of toys/valuables/un-loseables; and (C), all their fingers, toes and hairs, then it’s time to pack up, clean up and beer up as you await Mum’s return. Look back on a day filled with memories (and near-misses) and know that the occasion was enhanced, not diminished, by the inclusion of a well-chosen, refreshing Nectar of the Gods.

(Disclaimer: Every bloke is different, as is every beer. If you want to knock over a couple of mid-strength lagers or a cleansing Kolsch then all should be OK. Exchange those lighter styles for a six-pack of Russian Imperial Stouts or 500ml cans of Double IPA and then, well, what starts in cheers, ends in tears.

As the great philosopher Harry Callahan said: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

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  1. Bradley

    I recently had the discussion with my wife about how I haven’t been buzzed since our now 8 month old was born in August. Any strong urge to drink has subsided… but the subtle itch it to have just one too many seems like it may be near. This was a great laugh that may have inspired me to test my limits soon!

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