I held down several jobs to support myself through college. While there were some gigs I still miss, like teaching fitness classes, others I was thrilled to quit when the time came. One of my worst summer jobs was working as a cocktail waitress. I’ve done my best to try not think about that summer, but parenting toddlers is giving me flashbacks to my nights of balancing trays and wearing an apron.
1. Someone’s always pawing at you.
It’s a gross fact of working at a bar that people will have a bit too much to drink and feel entitled to try and touch you. Toddlers are the same way. I spent at least a quarter of my day pulling hands off my chest and out of my hair.
2. The floors are constantly sticky.
The bar was mopped daily and yet maintained an ever present film that clung to your sneakers. My kitchen floor is the same way no matter how many times I use the steam mop.
3. You have to decipher incoherent babbling.
Sloppy adults trying to get another gin and tonic or a hysterical toddler looking for his lost teddy bear, both require interpreting body language and making random guesses. Kind of like a round of Charades.
4. There are drinks everywhere.
My toddlers leave sippy cups in the most random places- under the furniture, tucked into the bookcase and once, fermenting in the fridge of their play kitchen. Bar patrons, while older, are no better behaved. Forget using coasters, I’d find beer bottles on the toilet, under chairs and nestled into planters.
5. You’re filthy by the end of the night.
Whether it was a night waiting tables or a day with my kids, but the end I’m covered in unidentified fluids, sweaty and desperate for a long, hot shower.
6. People are constantly trying to get your attention.
Not just for things they need, like refills or a fresh diaper, but just for the joy of having someone watch them. Whether it’s adults arm wrestling each other or toddlers trying to dive off the couch, it’s all to get you to notice them.
7. The tips are spotty.
When I served drinks, some nights I earned more than others. Raising a toddler is the same way. One day they’re all about the hugs and kisses, the next they don’t even want you to look at them.
8. Your back always hurts.