The New York Times had a interesting article about mommyblogging and drinking this past weekend (brought to my attention by alert reader Laura, right before we went out and drank Painkillers in Wildwood NJ). What are my thoughts, you ask?
(honest to God picture of me as a child. Need I say more? It was the wallpaper that made me drink.)
Well, first. I think the story of Stefanie Wilder-Taylor choosing to sober up is admirable, and I respect and congratulate her for her recovery. Second, I think Becky from mommywantsvodka.com ROCKS and cracked me up when she suggested via twitter that she change the name of her blog to mommywantscocaine, because that would be effing hilarious.
I encourage you to read the NYT article (and omg the comments- some are cool, some are douche-tastic). My take on the whole thing is that as moms and bloggers (who seem to be unable to avoid being referred to as ‘mommybloggers’ even though honestly the term makes me cringe for some reason) we JOKE about drinking far more than we DO IT. I joke all the time on Facebook and Twitter about chugging dirty martinis to survive soccer practice or doing shots of Patron so I don’t have to deal with the brag hags at play dates. Do I actually drink under these circumstances?
Fuck no. (though some would argue it may seem totally reasonable!)
Because my dad was an alcoholic. I grew up with a snoring man (butt crack showing and all) passed out beside the Eagles (or Phillies, or 76ers or Flyers) game on the living room floor on Sundays. He eventually (after I had kids) sobered up, and I love him tons today, but the experiences of my childhood (combined with the overanalysis that took place while earning my Psychology degree: I also think I have Borderline Personality Disorder…) left me paranoid about drinking.
The first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant was go to therapy. I was terrified of becoming a parent- what if I drink and fuck it all up? How can I be a mom without becoming my own mom? Etc. One of the best things that ever happened in my life was when that therapist told me that I had two choices: I could spend the rest of my life being angry about my childhood and resenting my parents, or I could try to let the past go and not waste that energy in my future. Made sense.
So now, at 40 and after having four kids, I have like some unspoken little rules about drinking. I will not drink during the week when my husband is out of town. One glass of (organic red, since any other gives me a migraine) wine would become two and then I worry it would become more. So, no drinking alone. I do feel it in my blood: the alcoholism. I know, sounds weird, but I feel like it’s there, beneath the surface (my sister called me a “Dry Drunk” one time which only annoyed me because I thought, that’s not even fair I don’t get to ACTUALLY DRINK!). I can either take control of booze, or let it take control of me.
(Also: in college I tried going to Al-anon but the girl who spoke first had brain damage from being beaten by her drunk dad, and it freaked me out so I didn’t go back- I’ll take the Dry Drunk title, thanks.)
Also, I swore I’d never be drunk in front of my kids. Now, the time my husband and I were walking home from a local restaurant, my neighbor brought out some kind of moonshine bourbon on the front porch and I stumbled home drunk as a skunk aside, I have tried hard to accomplish this- but man, my husband went and built that tiki bar for my 40th (shrine to alcohol much?) and I have to admit my kids have probably seen me with an extra mango margarita on hand a time or two. Not daily, not weekly, but after a huge pool party a few times a year? Yes.
So, I suck.
But seriously? People need to learn the difference between joking about drinking and actually drinking. This distinction is painfully outlined in the comments section of that NYT article- all kinds of holier-than-thou, condescending, humorless butt-munches are on there giving all kinds of crap to moms.
Anyone who has not been in the position of raising children, trying to manage a household, provide healthy meals and educational stimulation, and trying to clutch the shreds of a career- the dress of which was peeled reluctantly off when we traded it for nursing bras does not get it. I think the judgers and haters need to step off in terms of issuing their condescending bullshit to modern moms.
A mom gets to go out once a month with her girlfriends, wear clothes not covered in spit-up, and have a pink cocktail or two? GOOD FOR HER! Everything in moderation. That’s a thought that keeps me going. (well that, and the one about kids not having memory before they’re three- wink!)
God, this post is making me want a drink. Glad I’m just a dry drunk (and sufferer of Borderline Personality Disorder), and not the real kind.
Who’s in for extra dry-with-a-dry-drunk Grey Goose Dirty Martinis with extra olives? After, of course, the kids go to bed.