Let’s be honest: this parenting gig is difficult. We’re supposed to cherish the moments we have with our kids, and we do, but in between those moments real life is happening, and it smells. It pooped its pants. It wants a snack. It’s mysteriously wet yet covered in stickers. Coping with real life sometimes requires an outlet, and sometimes that outlet is adult fruit juice. There’s no shame in that. We get by with a little help from our friends - both red and white - and as with people, certain friends are better suited to certain situations. It’s with that in mind that I present to you a definitive guide to wine pairings for parenting. Pair-enting, if you will. See what I did there? Good. Let’s begin:
Pairs well with: potty training / your pride
When your toddler calls you from the bathroom and you’ve walked in to find an excrement soaked floor where they missed the toilet and a tiny butt in your face that has assumed the “wipe my a**” position, it’s time to call in reinforcements. You used to be sort of cool. You used to sort of have dignity. Those days are dead. I know, I know: it’s tough to swallow. That’s why you need to wash that jagged little pill down with something light and crisp to take the edge off. Glass optional.
Pairs well with: dinner time
Dinner time is pretty dark, but it’s not the darkest the day is going to get. There are worse things, like bed time, and we’ll get to that. Still, there are peas mashed into the floor, your toddler is screaming for chocolate, someone just spilled apple juice all over their plate, and you haven’t gotten to eat a bite yet because of course you haven’t. Merlot has just enough spice to put the pep back in your step and just enough floral sweetness to lull you into the deluded sense that the hard part is over. Drink it leaning up against the kitchen counter while eating cold food with a baby fork.
Pairs well with: bad playdates. Or really good ones.
Strong enough for the evening, but made for the afternoon. Bust out the riesling in a big plastic cup while little Traysee’s mom tells you all about the DIY organic dish soap she found on Pinterest that not only doubles as personal lubricant, but also cures cancer. With just a hint of sweet citrus, you’ll feel light and happy as your little bundle of sunshine teaches Traysee the F word and lets it slip that you allowed him to watch TV for 3 hours yesterday. Since your cup is so big, you’ll probably lose track of how much you’ve had to drink, but that can only be a positive given the circumstances.
Pairs well with: weekend afternoons
Weekends used to be relaxing, but then that idea was brutally murdered by a mob of extracurricular activities and birthday parties, so now we have to pretend we’re relaxed by getting drunk while we cook dinner. Inhale the wine’s earthy aroma and feel yourself transported to...anywhere else, really. Drink out of a big a** glass too. You’ll feel fancy, like you’re hosting a cooking show where Annie’s mac and cheese is the base of every recipe.
Pairs well with: bedtime
Let’s not sugarcoat it: bedtime is the actual worst. I’m tempted to direct you straight to the hard liquor, but it just won’t do. You need booze that burns a bit slower so you’re not slurring when your toddler gets out of bed to ask for new socks for the 32nd time since 10 minutes ago. Go with a cab, as in cabernet sauvignon. Not an actual cab, unless you’ve already planned your escape, in which case no judgment and also take me with you. Cabernet has hints of bell pepper, herbs, and black cherry. It’s full-bodied and rich, like the humor in you thinking you might get to have an actual second of alone time with your partner or watch one of the months-old episodes of Scandal currently clogging your DVR. Pour yourself a big glass and steal sips in between searching for stuffed animals, fluffing the pillow again, and singing the 75th lullaby of the evening.
Of course, if none of these are your style you can always turn to the classic adult juice box varietal.
Pairs well with: sweatpants, leftover Goldfish crackers, dirty dishes, pushy mothers-in-law, and life in general.