Being a mother is incredibly hard. It is so hard, in fact, that there is a whole line of comedy designed around moms who drink. The three martini play-date may be a joke, but for many moms, it is also very real. There are horror stories -- Diane Schuler's horrific accident to name one -- that give drinking around kids a very bad name. But it is not all bad.
Children take a lot out of you. They are happier when you are relaxed and sometimes it is really hard to relax without some kind of outside substance. Obviously I am not advocating altering oneself like the young mom who recently dropped her 7-month-old baby after overdosing on Xanax. But a little alcohol or medication taken at the right times might help to calm the nerves and might help in the long run.
Now, obviously, most of us are smart enough not to overdose on something while we are the sole caretakers for our children. But you don't have to be in a drugged up stupor to not be great for your kids. Think of all the times there was wine at play dates or birthday parties. Did you ever have too much to be totally responsible?
It is a fine line. I have a personal rule that I never want my children to see me altered. My husband and I will have a glass of wine or two after they are in bed. We will drink when we are out to dinner and they are with a sitter and we will even have a beer or two around them, but that's it. It is just common sense.
Still, I think children should learn to drink responsibly from their parents. Neither of my parents were big drinkers, but there was always alcohol around. They drank responsibly and as I have grown, I have done the same.
I have never believed the answer is keeping alcohol and drugs off the table entirely. Children in Italy are allowed glasses of wine and they have far less of the binge drinking problems we have here.
So instead of saying that moms and dads should never drink around the kids, it seems to me that in a social context where no one is driving and no one is drinking like it is a frat party, it is good to have alcohol or "adult beverages." Kids see it, they get used to it. There is no taboo. And mommy and daddy stay (mostly) sober. It's a good idea.
Of course, those who can't stop at one or two drinks may not want to practice this, but those who can should not feel badly. If a glass of wine at the end of a long day helps you parent better, then go ahead and indulge.
Do you drink around your kids?
Image via Ed Clayton/Flickr