When I had my first child 10 years ago, I got sucked into a “Stay-At-Home Mommy World” where our days were filled with playgroups, library storytimes and happy hours that involved drinking my face off.
Not since college, had I experienced that level of drinking or experienced this bizarre level of acceptance surrounding binge drinking. This is how it started:
In an effort to get out of the house and put on real clothes, I signed up for a weekly playgroup for babies. The playgroup met at a different person’s house in my neighborhood one morning a week. As the weeks went by, I realized that there was a secret subgroup that had formed–a subgroup of the “cool moms” who met up outside of the playgroup on Friday afternoons.
I eventually got an invite to join this “exclusive” Friday playgroup. This playgroup was called a “Happy Hour Playgroup,” and (at the time) being a drinker myself, I was interested in joining any group that made social drinking a habit. Sign me up.
My first “Happy Hour” playgroup was just what I expected. I felt awkward and a bit out of place, but the drinks were flowing briskly, so I was all-in. Rather quickly, I realized that I didn’t belong with these ladies. But the pull of the alcohol and the call of having some adult conversations gave me the tolerance that I needed to endure these playdates. Soon, though, I got in over my head, left the group and decided to quit drinking before I ended up in trouble.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s become very acceptable (encouraged, even) for moms to drink. You see it everywhere. If you’ve seen the movie “Bad Moms,” you might have noticed a running theme in that movie: “Moms deserve to get drunk. A lot.” Moms are always portrayed as being so desperate for that much-deserved glass of wine after a long day of “mom-ing.” And they’re encouraged by loud cheers of, “You deserve it!” On Facebook, I see friends updating their status with photos of the “Mommy Juice” that’s necessary after a day spent parenting. There’s everything from specialty wine glasses to workout tanks promoting the (not so) cutesy saying.
Absolutely, being a mom is the hardest job on the planet. It can be equal-parts brain numbingly tedious and challenging all in the same day. It takes more patience than most of us have in our stores and it involves bodily fluids and the chance of getting aforementioned bodily fluids caked into your hair on a weekly basis.
But, I see so many moms numbing it all out–tamping it down–with alcohol. Maybe you’ve given up a successful career; your body isn’t looking the way that you’d hoped it would after giving birth; your relationship with your spouse is changed and broken in new and different ways. All seem like exceedingly good reasons to lose yourself in the bottle. Believe me: I fell for it too. I deserved those Friday afternoon drinks (which led to Friday evening drinks at home before our wine with dinner–which led to bleary, fuzzy, Saturday mornings, which led to more drinking on Saturday…).
Now I’m experiencing “mom-ing” without alcohol and, folks, I’m here to say that it’s possible.
Frankly, I’m pretty angry that drinking has become so acceptable and encouraged among the mom-crowds. I know you’re lonely. I know it’s hard, but there are better, more healthy ways of dealing with these feelings of inadequacy…trust me: Drinking isn’t going to make it better. In fact, it’s going to make it way worse if you’re not careful. I wish someone out there would say, “Hey, drinking isn’t the answer, honey. Let’s go for a walk and talk…” instead of offering up more cheap Pinot Grigio.
It’s possible to be a mom–to even be social–and not drink. I don’t need any “Mommy Juice” to tolerate this super-privileged opportunity that I’ve been given to parent my kids and, frankly, neither do you. If you can’t bear the idea of facing another day of “mom-ing” without the help of your “Mommy Juice” maybe there’s a bit more to your story.