Amidst the recent onslaught of playdates/happy hours, cocktail parties with kids, and bar-hopping with babies, many mothers, journalists, publications, and experts are beginning to weigh in with their opinions. When this trend first started back in the day, it seemed like a hip, fun, Sex and the City-type trend for young mothers. Wink-wink blogs such as “Make Mine a Double: Tales of Twins and Tequila” appeared to normalize the idea that a little drinky-drinky was okay. Queue the sloshed soccer moms.
Then 2009 rolled around, and with it came the news of Diane Schuler, who crashed a car in an accident that ultimately killed four children. The case caused a national uproar when it was discovered that she was a closet alcoholic. Suddenly, this tragic cautionary tale made moms who indulged in alcohol taboo. But, if you examine media in the past year or two and take into account all the moms drinking on reality shows (Hey there, Snooki) and on popular talk shows, it would appear that there’s been a resurgence in mothers drinking on the “job.” So, the million-dollar question: is it okay to drink while on mommy duty?
Put things in perspective
There’s a fine line between having the occasional glass of chardonnay and being a full-blown alcoholic. Some experts still believe there is a danger associated with drinking during playdates. Even while drinking socially, what happens if there is an emergency and someone must drive a child to the hospital? And while drinking alone at home, are you fully present for your child? Are you completely coherent or are you impaired?
With these scenarios, some problem solving might be helpful. For example, for playdates, make sure at least one woman stays completely sober during each get-together. Also, limit your drinking to one glass of wine. If you’re alone with your child, wait until your partner gets home to indulge in that glass of pinot that’s been calling your name all day.
Don’t rationalize, and watch out for red flags
Most women who drink while on child duty claim they need to “cope” with stress, loneliness, and parental insecurities. Others say they just need to take the edge off. But is your alcohol consumption becoming a habit? Do you feel that you NEED wine? Are you predisposed to alcoholism or addictions? If you answer yes to even one of these red flags, it’s time to slow down. Monitor your drinking carefully.
In sum, there’s no easy answer to this question, especially since drinking is such an ingrained part of adult life and social interaction and you don’t stop being an adult just because you have children. But always monitor any drinking, pill usage, or drug abuse. Put your child FIRST and make sure they are always in a safe scenario. You won’t regret being a devoted mom, no matter how difficult it may sometimes be. You WILL, however, regret a tragic mistake or accident that was totally preventable in the first place.