Mommies love to drink. Who doesn't know that by now? In case you don't know that, you can log onto pretty much any mommy blog (a lot of them with subtle names like "Mommy Loves to Drink") and compare notes on how to hide your drinking from the kids, how to get in that first glass of wine before the darlings go to bed, whether it's okay to drink at play dates or school plays or before PTA meetings. I get it, moms. Mommyhood, as much as it's rewarding and fun and fabulous, can also be frustrating, heartbreaking, anxiety-inducing, lonely, and a plain ol' crashing bore. So we drink.
But what are we really doing when we drink? Here are some things we might say we're doing:
Relaxing. Let's face it, a glass or two of wine works a lot faster and is a lot more reliable than a bubble bath and some meditation.
Escaping. Kid threw a temper tantrum in the grocery store again? Or maybe screamed "I hate you!!!!" after you spent all day shuttling her around to various activities? Pinot, take me away ...
Dealing. A vodka tonic makes that incessant babble, prattle and noise so much more ... interesting. Or at least tolerable.
But what are you REALLY doing?
Avoiding. Avoiding learning how to relax and deal without the aid of intoxicants. One glass becomes two becomes ... a whole bottle. Even one glass every night is seven glasses a week. Not so bad until you hit middle age and the health problems start ... and you suddenly realize you can't function normally without your favorite lubricant. And you remember you said some crappy stuff to your friend/husband/kid/coworker when you'd had a bit too much. And you remember that your kid said, "Mommy likes to drink" or "Mommy, why do you drink?" when you thought for sure she didn't know you drank.
She knows. Believe me, she knows. Maybe she can't see it, hear it or smell it, but she knows when your eyes suddenly start glowing what is up. And she wonders why you're not present. She thinks there's something about her that you want to avoid, don't like, or can't deal with unless you're drinking. What does that say to a kid who can't process that you still love her even if you need to "step away" mentally for awhile ... all the time?
Here's the thing: It's OKAY to be bored with your kid. It's OKAY to be frustrated, angry, even regret you had her once in awhile. Sit with those feelings. Feel them. Learn that you can tolerate them. You don't need to obliterate them.
Life is a continuum of feelings -- some good, some great, some shitty, some barely tolerable, some mediocre. You don't have to blot out the ones that you don't agree with. It's also okay to show your kids the range of your feelings. This way, your kid grows up believing that feelings are okay. Even the crummy ones. They go away too.
If you truly feel that all that is between you screaming like a banshee at your kid is chugging a glass of wine, then ask yourself whether there are better ways you can learn to process your emotions. Also I don't think it's horrible for a kid to get yelled at if they deserve it -- sometimes. But numbing yourself with booze and then letting your kid get away with bad behavior isn't teaching your kid anything good.
But if you think your child isn't picking up the lesson that life should be dealt with by drinking, then you're wrong. That's exactly what she's picking up. Worst of all, you're not giving yourself the opportunity to know yourself.
Not saying that everyone doesn't deserve a night out once in awhile or some booze once in awhile. But if it's every day or several times a week, ask yourself what is going on. What are you avoiding? And why?
Do you drink a lot? Do you think it's okay?