Navigating the work Christmas party is always a challenge and can leave even the most confident woman spinning with questions:
“How many tequilas is too many? Is it weird to take a selfie with the boss? What’s the best way to signal to hubby that his fly is open?”
But if you’re pregnant, things are about to get even more complicated.
Hormones are going crazy, maternity dresses don’t seem to fit and depending on how far along you are, your little bump might still be a little secret.
But hang in there mama, we’ve got you sorted.
Our top 10 tips below for surviving the work Christmas party.
1. Break the dress rules. We dare you
This tip is particularly relevant if you’re in your second or third trimester.
While in previous years you might’ve tried to downplay your ‘assets’ and look a tad more professional, you can now throw the old rules out the window.
Tonight you have free reign to chuck on your brightest lippy, nail polish and glitter makeup. Whatever it takes to make you feel sexy, we say do it.
Why? Umm maybe because you haven’t been able to shave your own legs in about a month and feel somewhat like a large marine mammal. Enough said.
If you want to look like a queen, we say go for it!
2. Leave your stilettos at home
While we do encourage you to dress and feel like Beyoncé, be nice to your feet.
They’re carrying more weight than they’re used to and possibly even swelling. Because these are just the ‘fun’ things our bodies do during pregnancy!
More importantly, all these ‘fun’ body changes can impact your balance. Changes in your centre of gravity could make walking in your usual high heels a little troublesome. And possibly painful. Especially if you’re well into your pregnancy.
The last thing you want is to take a tumble on your way back from the buffet.
So, make life easier and wear comfortable shoes.
And don’t mistake comfortable for boring. There’s plenty of gorgeous shoes out there that won’t send you toppling over.
3. When you reach the venue, locate the bathroom. Immediately.
There’s the issue of a small human being sitting on your bladder.
So we suggest you arrive, send your dutiful partner off to fetch snacks and then locate a bathroom. If you can, find a table nearby for easy access throughout the function.
If there’s ever a queue for the toilet, this could be a great time to make the most of pregnancy privilege. Allow your best work wife to yell “Pregnant lady coming through!”
4. Don’t be afraid to hog the coolest spot in the room
Aussie work Christmas parties can be notoriously hot and stuffy.
There’s often a lot of hot, sweaty people crammed in together (although this year Covid should help fix that), and before you know it, you’re going red and trying to hide sweat marks.
Pregnancy also increases the amount of blood in your body, so you’ll probably feel warmer than the average person. In which case, don’t be surprised if you’re dripping with sweat while everyone seems fine around you.
If there’s air conditioning, great, you’re all set. Find the nearest vent and don’t be afraid to claim that spot for the whole night.
If not, find other ways to stay cool. Drink lots of icy water, stand under a fan or near the window, and try to take regular breaks outside in the fresh air.
Worst case scenario, have your partner find a palm and fan you with it.
5. Use ‘baby brain’ to your advantage
Baby brain really is a thing. Science says so!
Considering how much of an annoyance it is in your everyday life (“I found the keys…they’re in the fridge…”) there’s no harm in using it to your advantage in this situation.
So when Joe from management sidles up at the bar and asks about that project due two days ago, just smile blankly and blame it on those crazy hormones.
6. Prepare for massive food envy
Do you know what’s worse than missing out on free food? Missing out on free delicious food.
But remember, it’s all for a good cause! Certain foods can be harmful during pregnancy so if unsure, it’s best to air on the side of caution.
So what are some of the common party foods you should be avoiding?
- Soft cheeses
- Cold sliced meat
- Pre-packaged salads
- Raw seafood
- Soft-serve ice-cream
7. If you’re left hungry, get yourself a treat on the way home
It’s never nice watching everyone eat all your favourite foods while you’re stuck with a celery stick, so give yourself a treat. Stop at your favourite takeaway joint on the way home and order a meal just for you.
And if your cravings happen to require an entire cake all for you, so be it.
8. Get used to being sober around drunk people
You’ll now experience the feeling of being one of the few sober people present while a lot of people get tipsy and potentially hammered.
It’s always a bit disconcerting at first. It can feel lonely even…
Jokes might not be as funny and small talk with Cheryl from payroll might feel a lot harder.
But we suggest you embrace the situation. How often do you get to watch the executive team make fools of themselves on the dance floor through completely sober eyes?
9. Have your significant-other patrol your belly
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to let every Tom, Dick and Harry into your personal space.
If you’re happy with some belly pats, that’s cool too. Whatever floats your boat. It’s just important to feel in control of your body, either way.
So if someone tries to touch your belly and you’re not into it, give your partner ‘the signal’ and have them do a swift intercept: “Excuse us, we’re just going to grab some fresh air.”
10. Haven’t told HR yet? Then it’s time to get tricksy!
If you haven’t told anyone you’re pregnant yet, you have permission to be totally sneaky.
Kind of like that time you ‘borrowed’ the cute fruit bowl from the work kitchen because you knew it would look amazing on your dining table.
So what sneaky tactics do we recommend?
- If you’re usually a drinker, just grab sparkling water in a short glass and tell people it’s got vodka.
- When someone inevitably forces a champagne into your hand, excuse yourself and ditch it at the next table.
- Brought a partner? Tell everyone you lost a bet and tonight you’re designated driver.
- Afraid people will notice you avoiding certain foods? Plan ahead. Drop a few white lies earlier in the day that you’ve got a burrito-induced belly ache or on the new white-food only diet.
- Hiding morning sickness? Smuggle some dry crackers in your handbag and munch on them in the bathroom. Just…not too loudly.
- If you’re constantly running to the bathroom, just say you’re fixing your makeup.
- Look fatigued? Tell people you were up all night bingeing the latest Netflix thriller.
- If you think anyone’s onto you, just yell “Oh my god, is that Meghan Markle at the bar?!” and then escape in an Uber.
Alright, that brings us to the end of our survival guide.
We wish you luck you glowing mama-to-be.
Oh and one last tip: if you’re feeling exhausted, cranky and can’t be bothered, there’s no shame in giving the work Christmas party a miss altogether! Chuck on your cosiest PJs, order in and watch a movie.
Don’t feel bad. You’re pregnant. You’ve earned it.