Books — The Three-Martini Playdate...

Cocktail time for mom—a drinkers guide to parenting

By Amy Diaz []


The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting, by Christie Mellor, Chronicle Books, 2004, 143 pages.

Sure, children can be the darling little lights of your life but that doesn’t mean they won’t drive you to drink.

As The Three-Martini Playdate explains, teaching Junior how to mix up a nice gin fizz is not just a nice way to save on hiring a butler, it also helps him learn important chemistry lessons and life skills.

The Three-Martini Playdate includes many a fabulous tip on how to raise children while still enjoying some semblance of a civilized adult life. It offers helpful advice on how to eat at restaurants with children (go to dinner at 5 p.m. and greet misbehavior with disapproval and subtle threats such as “no story time” and “the bunny dies.”) It explains how to break finicky eaters (essentially, starvation). And, most shocking of all, this book even suggests that a perfectly happy childhood can be had without a non-stop schedule of events that require both transportation and funding from parents.

Parenting seems like a difficult, painful, ulcer-inducing task primarily because—like charity work or hand- made home furnishings—it requires endless effort with precious little reward. Mellor’s approach makes the whole business of procreation seem, if not delightful, certainly tolerable: “You were here first. You are sharing your house with them…You deserve a little time of your own, a little grown-up time.”

To that end, Mellor offers advice on such topics as:

• “Saying No to Your Child: It’s a Kick!”

• “Screaming: Is it Necessary?”

• “Avoiding the Detritus of Childhood”

• “Self-Esteem and Other Overrated Concepts”

• “The Amazing Hands-Off Daddy”

On that last one, Mellor recommends a demonstration, should it become necessary, of just how difficult the whole child-rearing gig is by leaving Dad alone with the kids for one day a week. This will help drive home the whole housewife-is-work point.

Utimately, Mellor’s guide teaches you how to continue being you even if you have also become a parent.


- Amy Diaz

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH