I’m not sure when it happened but at some point, it became cool for Moms to drink. There are blogs dedicated to us, and Facebook pages, websites, books. Thinking back, I figure it was probably around the time it became OK – and then a fad – to admit that being a Mommy is not all June Cleaver, that parenting is hard and temporarily hating your kids is just part of the job description.
Then there was this social segue where we made a dangerous logistical leap. Once we’re admitting that wiping poop/cleaning vomit/driving carpool until you could drive a stake through your skull can fry your nerves, then hey, what’s a little glass of Merlot? Or two? Or three? How about a vodka shot? We deserve it! Our kids have driven us to drink!
In other words, Mom + Kids = Booze.
This equation makes me cringe, even if I am an offender. Lest you think I judge you and your Mom Juice, I’m not pouring my Pinot down the drain anytime soon. But seeing as it’s Friday morning, I’m soberly considering why the bottle has become a fixture in so many household fridges and whether it’s time to close the bar on the bonding-over-booze Mom bash. (Catch me around 6pm and I might be slurring a different tune – but at least I’ll be more honest about my reasons.)
So. I’m not talking about a hearty “Cheers” on Saturday night. This post is about unscrewing that cap while cooking Tuesday stew, or on Thursday, which, let’s face it, is basically the weekend anyway. It’s about that 5pm witching hour when one minute, you’re pissed that the teen failed a science test despite your nagging or the tween won’t stop begging for a cell phone, and the next, you’re panting for some liquid relief.
Maybe I’m just getting old – or growing up – but now that I have teens, dipping into the bar is not the fun it used to be.
As much as it takes the edge off the parenting nerves, drinking is addictive. Down a glass of every dinnertime, and feel that craving come knocking at 6pm sharp. Plus, it messes up my sleep. The sips that calmed me have vanished by 4am when I wake up with a brainful of anxiety. I always forget that alcohol is a depressive. When it wears off, my emotions plummet. And there is no mistaking those secret calories in there that have found a direct line to my waist.
Then there are the kids. Drinking around them makes me feel inauthentic in so many ways. I’m not really listening to the timbre of their voices or answering thoughtful questions thoughtfully. My reactions are all fired up.
I’ve made dumb decisions, too. Like getting into a car just to drop a kid around the block and thinking nothing of it because a tiny bit tipsy feels normal.
Most disturbing though, by bonding with other mothers over cocktail hour, I’m being dishonest about the reasons I drink – and there are many, none of which have to do with my kids. I’m not jumping on any wagons here but I am realizing that I don’t deserve to drink because I’m a Mom. Sometimes, yes, I choose booze. But my choices are not my kids’ fault, and the fact is, they never were.