Mommy Gets Her Drink On -- by Laura Houston
Ever since mom blogger and author Stefanie Wilder Taylor came clean about her alcoholism, booze has been a topic of conversations among mothers in the park, at play dates and on the Internet. It’s a topic worth discussing. To the moms who abstain for whatever reason, I tip my hat in respect. And for the mothers who choose to indulge, let’s have a conversation.
First off, it’s never OK to get wasted. Not when you’re a mom. It doesn’t matter if you have a babysitter, or your husband is taking over, or you left the kids with Grandma and you are 2,000 miles away in Las Vegas. It’s not OK. We’re parents. That’s a big deal. It’s a lot of responsibility. To do something that damages our bodies or puts us in danger in any way is inappropriate. We are not replaceable to our children should something happen. And no child should ever see their mom or dad falling down drunk. Period.
That said: I like my wine. I do. It’s a ritualistic part of my life in social and psychological ways. When my mom friends and I gather for a happy hour play date, it’s always fun to sip a glass, put our feet up, and say, “aaahhhhh” while the kids run around in dizzying circles. Those first two swallows are always rich and relaxing. The rest of the glass doesn’t matter as much. We have come together as friends and mothers, thereby creating a fun, supportive environment.
But take note at the end of the hour. Not one mom has finished her glass of wine. After consuming a few ounces, conversing and laughing, and getting up and down to break up fights in the living room, the wine is forgotten. It doesn’t matter to us any more because it has served its purpose. It brought us all together to talk and relax. Yes. We can do that without the wine, but chamomile tea doesn’t taste as good and it’s not as sexy.
Wine also serves as my compensation. Every weekday I tell myself I can have a glass of wine at 5:00 while fixing dinner, but I can only have it if I have managed to control my temper and disguise my frustrations with the boys. I don’t allow myself a glass if I yell or grab. Surprisingly, this is a strong motivation to stay tempered. In fact, most of the days I end up having so much fun with the boys because I have managed to control my irritation that my stress level drops dramatically, and I skip the wine altogether because I’d rather hang out and read to them.
Come the weekend when my husband takes the boys for a few hours, I love heading to a new café, having a glass of prosecco – sometimes even two -- and reading a book. It’s a mini vacation. Halfway through a glass I start missing my boys and my husband, and I have settled enough to stop and appreciate what a good life I have. It makes me content -- even if for only 90 minutes.
I attempt to be a conscientious drinker (note to self: martinis in New York are usually doubles.) I don’t want to incorporate extra calories or extra expense into my budget, so prudence is key. But when the day is done, that glass of wine sure does feel good. And so do all of the things it brings with it: good friends, good food, and good taste, as well as that little mini vacation I so crave as an overworked, over-tired, completely devoted mother.