I read so much about parents and drinking, all the posts and memes about wine and all the jokes about how bad mommy needs a drink.
It had me thinking about it a while back, and while I really didn’t mean to write this, I’m writing it now. People who knew me pre-kids and pre-marriage and know me now have seen a huge change. Before I met my (pretty much, anti alcohol) husband, I was an alcoholic. My day consisted of- gym, walk to work, walk to bar before going home. That was my daily life. I was functional- but not. I was able to hold a job but there were times I would spend nearly my whole bank account and barely remember the last night. One St Patrick’s Day, I spent 12 hours at the bar. They knew me by name and it was a time I felt like I fit in.
Then, my husband and I met and I cut down massively- he was 19 and I was 22 when we met so I couldn’t go to the bar anymore (I could, but I wanted to go out with him). I never was a fan of drinking solo, so I quit. I got pregnant right after we got married and attended my very first party without drinking- I still had fun, even though he and I were the only ones not drinking. As I got a little older and more established as a new mommy, alcohol was losing it’s appeal completely. Since having kids, I have only drank a handful of times and after my last time, I won’t again.
I started looking for nonreligious places to go to meet other adults with kids but no alcohol and it’s tough. It feels like drinking is the most symbolic part of being an adult. I know I’m not the only one who feels that alcohol isn’t as sweet and innocent a joke as people seem to think.
While looking up the “mommy needs a drink” joke, I found this from the site Salon talking about growing up living that “joke.”
Coming from the experience of “I really need a drink” (in order to properly function), I don’t consider that joke to be funny. I do have days I don’t get the chance to sit until bedtime, I have bad days- but nothing so bad it would put me back in the bottle.
In my failed attempts to locate family friendly events where I could possibly meet other local parents, I attended a family friendly charity event about a year ago. They had two kid booths but in the food booths the smell of alcohol was so strong I could barely smell the food. We had a hard time hearing each other or our kids over the sound of the adults getting louder and more obnoxious that we left after the girls ate. By the time we left, we were walking past groups of grown women who were loud, obnoxious and flirting with men who were on the same level of intoxication. This was in a rich part of town with men and women who put on a classier show in other places. I was honestly surprised to see so many people acting like teenagers.
Last year we went on vacation with my mom and dad. My husband and I went to the hotel restaurant to grab desert. There was a family and the dad was obnoxiously drunk already, with two young kids in his party.
When I was a child, I was taken home after people started drinking. I would notice the adults getting louder and crazier but we always left. Both my parents were totally against alcohol so I’m sure the way I was raised may have something to do with it, but should parents get drunk around their kids? Sure, drinking a few sips or drinking a bottle with a meal isn’t too bad, but should parents really let their young kids see them actually get intoxicated?
There have been studies about parental drinking around kids, even moderate drinking- and seeing parents drunk or tipsy can upset children. There has also been findings that people who watched their parents drinking growing up tend to be more likely to drink as teens and associate with younger drinkers.***
Being taken away didn’t keep me from trying it at 18 or going to a bar regularly at 22, but I also quit drinking quickly. I was a daily drinker from 21 until shortly after my 22nd birthday, when I started to put it down. This past June, on vacation, I got a Margarita but it took me 30 minutes to regulate my breathing and I felt my throat closing, so I am done now. Before that, it had been over a year and before that, another year. I still can go out with friends and have fun. My husband and I have gone to a few local shows and it is more enjoyable without getting dizzy and agitated. Same with going to parties, but I’m still at a stage where I’m more interested in kid’s parties and kid friendly events I can take the whole family.
My kids have never seen me drunk nor intoxicated and I know they never will, I’m saying now I have an alcohol allergy, if pressed, I’ll also admit to being in recovery- it may have been a short time, but at that time my life revolved around alcohol and I never want the girls to go through it.
Even though you can’t prevent your kids from experimenting or giving in to peer pressure, you can educate them on the dangers of alcohol. You can tell them it’s addictive and the problems it causes. It impairs your ability to think right- it causes accidents. In fact, in the US alone, 10,497 people were killed in 2016 due to intoxicated drivers- 28% of accidents that year (according to the CDC). It also harms your liver, kidneys and can lead to liver failure if you drink too much.
Getting drunk itself is a result of alcohol being a poison and the puking and passing out is actually a warning sign of drinking too much- potential alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can easily lead to death.
Just because people say red wine and moderate drinking (1 glass for a woman, 2 for a man) have health benefits, lifestyle may play a bigger role than the alcohol. There haven’t been enough long term studies to fully prove red wine is as healthy as they say it is. Just like beer, liquor and other forms of alcohol, wine is also a depressant. It slows your body down and can lead to so much more pain than enjoyment. Is it really worth the risk?