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Monday
Jan232012

How Much Is Too Much?

I read a blog post one time - I'll be damned if I remember where or I'd link - from a stay-at-home-mom admitting she has an alcohol problem. She details how she slowly realized how much she was clock-watching so that she could have that first drink at five. She rationalized that as long as she wasn't drinking during the day, she didn't have a problem.

I don't remember much else, other than she felt like she was drinking more than she should. She wasn't driving drunk or blacking out, I don't think, she just felt like she was drinking too much in the evening and her blog post was a rather dramatic proclamation - a Hello I'm Insert Name Here And I'm An Alcoholic - kind of announcement.

I came away with mixed drinks feelings. On the one hand I thought, good for her, if she feels like she has a problem, stopping drinking is a good step to take. On the other hand, so what if you're watching the clock so you can have a drink at the end of grueling day of mothering? Or a hard day at any job, for that matter. Big damn deal. Drinking and parenting go hand-in-hand in my play book.

Yeah, yeah, I know there are a bunch of you who're gonna shake heads and fingers but, quite honestly, I don't give a shit. I'm a great mom. But come five o'clock and I want to pop the top on a can or two of beer, I certainly will. I'm not sloshing around the house with smeared make-up, a highball in hand, threatening kids with a wire hanger or anything. Just enjoying some beer or sometimes wine while I make dinner, clean up and put the kids to bed. I'm generally in bed by nine. And you know what? Life's short. If I'm not hurting anyone and am able to unwind and have a good time with my kids between five and seven, so what?

It seems like, nowadays, the above paragraphs will immediately earn me the title of Alcoholic In Denial. Like, someone who admittedly enjoys drinking is obviously standing at the precipice of an immediate descent into alcoholism and this post is either a secret cry for help or the first of many denials until I am, of course, chugging Listerine for a buzz and finally bottom out.

Within the parenting community, it seems like there is no leeway in being a person who enjoys drinking responsibly. If you admit you drink in the evenings and, god forbid, actually watch the clock in anticipation of that first swallow, you are immediately ruled an unfit parent and a burgeoning alcoholic. Heather Armstrong, from Dooce, used to write about how she likes Bourbon. She hasn't done that in a while but recently, after she announced her separation, I marveled at all of the speculation about how and why she and her husband are separating and one thread on some douchey hate blog (which I won't link to because FUCK THEM) really took the cake with a comment thread about how alcohol probably played a large role in the separation because she used to write so much about drinking liquor.

Get the fuck outta here! If anything, a hearty drink or two in the evening probably helped the marriage last as long as it did. But who the hell knows and speculating about the demise of somebody's relationship ain't my bag. Whatever happened is deeply personal and probably not as interesting as you think. Marriage is hard, people change, shit happens.

But my point is, she writes about enjoying liquor and a hundred people talk about how she probably has alcohol problems. Bitch, please. Of course I'm expecting comments wherein you tell me that if I can't make it through a day without alcohol I need to get myself to the nearest AA meeting. That's not the case. I can make it through the day, sometimes I don't want to. If I'm on point all day - diapers, games, Kindermusik, swimming lessons - then where's the harm? You bet yer ass my eyeball is glued to the clock, not only for naptime, glorious naptime, but for cocktail hour.

So what? Does admitting that make me an alcoholic? Or normal? I could pull a Mormon mommy blog move on you and explain how motherhood is a blessing, a joy, a privilege... Or I could pull the opposite move, which is also apparently all the rage, bemoaning how sucky parenthood is, but the truth is parenting is all those things and sometimes, a lot of the time, the only way to get through is a really excellent cocktail hour. And that doesn't make me a bad parent. Hell, it makes me a better parent.

You tell me - why does it seem like parents can't admit to drinking around their kids without being called irresponsible? How much is too much? What is the line? Is there a line? How much are we exhausted parents really drinking behind closed doors? And why does it feel like if we admit we enjoy drinking our parenting abilities will be judged?

Reader Comments (63)

omg-you-totally-have-a-problem-you-are-totes-in-denial-your-babies-would-be-better-off-with-total-strangers!

I once had a friend tell me she thought I had a drinking problem because I would occasionally drink a glass of wine by myself. Drinking alone! The first slip down a slippery slo- oh, wait. Not at all, actually.

WORD, Monica. Fucking word. Yes, alcohol is a drug. Durrr. Can we enjoy drinking and still be, gasp(!), functional, happy, productive human beings? OMG, quite possibly, yes! No way! For fuck's sake, it's not a crack pipe!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

You are so not alone. Any parent who doesn't partake in the happiest of all the hours in a day is really missing out. As a full-time working mom who's day starts at about 5:30, continues with a full, 8 hour day in a corporate job (which I happen to LOVE going to by the way...GASP!), picking the nugget up from my mother-in-law's, and then bath time, dinner time and bed time....I certainly enjoy unwinding with my glass of wine with dinner or meeting friends for happy hours when time permits. Enjoying a cocktail while on the "parenting clock"...which is 24/7 by the way...does not make you an unfit parent, it makes you human. And it probably also makes you/me tolerable/fun. Pop a top, I say. You've earned it...no matter what full-time job you have...stay-at-home-mom, corporate big wig or sanitation worker. You certainly don't need the internet telling you what kind of parent you are.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Fascinating post. Only a close sibling away from the conversation about light/moderate drinking during late pregnancy, in which moms like you and me get castigated for being selfish ho-bags who don't care about our babies.

I personally think that a lot of parents lose way too much of themselves in parenthood. Women are more prone to this (in my unqualified opinion). Where there was once a vibrant woman with her own personality and interests and sex appeal, is now a mommy who hasn't bought clothes for herself in ages, gotten a haircut, and can't talk about anything other than her kids bowel movements. OK, that's dramatic, but still. When people have created a life where kids are their identities, perhaps its hard to let in the adult things, like alcohol. My armchair psychology degree thinks that those are the people doing the judging.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah B

Another thought: I think we underestimate how many people don't (or never did) drink moderately. You and your husband may appreciate a good brew or glass of wine, but a lot of people only ever drank in excess for the buzzy outcome. I wonder if those are the people who can't understand the practice of having a drink (or even two) to relax at the end of the day. They equate any alcohol with reckless alcohol?

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah B

Well, as far as clock watching goes, there is away to avoid that. Just keep telling yourself "It's five o'clock somewhere..." Because IT IS.

I think we mom's deserve our drinks whenever we want them, and my philosophy is, when kids are home, "Don't get so drunk that you won't be able to remember the number to 911."

No, seriously. I have a child, I can and do and will drink if I want to. It's not against the law, it doesn't make you a bad parent, and there's no one on the blogosphere who will ever do anything but speculate as to whether I myself am an alcoholic, because they don't know me, how much I drink, etc., and the same goes for you. Some people just seem to like to get on blogs for the sole purpose of criticizing others and one-upping parenting skills.

How much is too much, you ask? Where do you draw the line? In my opinion, in all seriousness, don't get so drunk you can't wake up if your house is on fire. I suppose that's a terrible analogy for you, but I bet you get what I mean. You can have a few beers, you can even get DRUNK (in my opinion) but if you are the ONLY person in the house responsible for the kids, you have to be responsible for yourself, too.

Anyway, I bet a lot of exhausted parents are drinking A LOT behind closed doors, because it takes a lot of bravery to open those doors up and face the wrath of other moms - the other mom's who are probably drunks themselves.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheney

It all depends on your tolerance for alcohol. I have next to none so I can't drink with my kids but like a sip or two. No, really, I am that much a lightweight. Cocktail hour is a no for me.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Well, I AM a full blown, I-used-to-shoot-heroin-and-drank-to-black-out-every-night drunk (sober 16 years, yo), and you sound perfectly normal to me. That sounds like completely responsible drinking.

I think that it's quite possible that the blogger you mentioned only publicly scratched the surface of what made her an alcoholic. Because the drinking is really just a symptom of us being utterly fucked up inside. :D

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCecily

There was a television programme on UK T.V. the week before last, saying that every Adult in the UK drinks at least two bottles of wine (or equivalent) a week. Someone out there is drinking my share ... and it's not fair!

I don't give two hoots how much you drink. I hate that you swear in your posts, (because you and Serge have brilliant vocabularies, and I am sure you can think of much better words to use) but drink ... nah, I'm not so bothered.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersaz

I personally hold out until 6:00pm, so I just poured myself a beautiful glass of wine ten minutes ago! I love being a mom, and I love a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day. I feel no guilt, and I never have!

Cheers!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkds

Well as someone who comes from a family of 2 alcoholic parents (who were never violent or abusive and rarely-if-ever blacked out), I am one of those people who tends to fret (probably unnecessarily) about the drinking "rules" (i.e., A GLASS OF WINE ALONE! DRINKING ALONE! ZOMG!) But as I have come to understand more about the 'scratching the surface' concept that a commenter above mentions, I have gotten that it is so much less about the behavior and so much more about the impact on your life. Personally, if I were spending my day watching the clock, waiting for the drink to be officially OKAY, and then spending the next two hours fretting about the drink I just had, that would be a problem FOR ME.

But yeah, I have a 1 year-old now, and there have been plenty o'times where, after a particular grueling bedtime routine, I perk up at the realization that I now get to enjoy a fine dark craft beer. And the tiny blurring of lines that beer affords me also allows me to realize that my beautiful and terrible day isn't so terrible after all, and isn't it nice that I get to have some adult time?

Also, if my house had just burst into flames, you sure as hell better believe I would have some wine.

In short, cheers Monica. I will toast to you tonight when I pop open my Ninkasi IPA.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah

Well, I don't drink at all. Not for any moral/religious reasons. Just never acquired a taste for alcohol, and I mean, any alcohol. But I don't see anything wrong with what you described.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Like everything else, there's a continuum. I don't think it's wrong to look forward to a glass of wine or two at the end of a hard day's work, so long as that's not all you look forward to in life. And, obviously, if it starts impacting your work/relationships/parenting/behavior, that's something else entirely. That's when it, in my opinion, becomes *a problem*.

Otherwise, meh. We're adults. If we want to have a drink, we should, and it's really no one's business if we do. This of course doesn't mean that women with boring lives and far too much time on their hands won't pretend they know something about our behavior and lives from hundreds of miles away that we don't (as you said they're doing in Heather's case), but that's kind of the internet.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersweetney

I totally watch the clock until it's my time to drink. I don't usually start until after my 7 year old goes to bed, but that's only because I would drink the entire bottle of wine by 8 if I didn't. I am not a SAHM, but by the end of the day, I want a freaking drink. If that makes me an alcoholic, so be it. I am completely unapologetic about my vices. So drink up, and don't feel guilty.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Oh I can relate! I know I was drinking too much; it was not unusual for me to down a bottle of wine myself in an evening. When my then 7 year old daughter drew a "still life" sort of scene with my wine glass front and center, well, I figured it was time to re-evaluate. I asked all my closest mom friends and hey, turns out they were all doing the same thing! So perfectly "normal", right? Luckily I got quite sick two years ago and lost my appetite for it....that's not to say I don't enjoy the HELL out of a glass of wine or two, but I did break the habit of a bottle-a-night.

I wonder if the mommy-blogger you're thinking of is Stephanie Wilder Taylor, who writes "Baby on Bored."

Bottom line: there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING wrong with preserving ones sanity with a glass of wine or two after a day of toddler-wrangling.

Cheers!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkate

Word. With 3 boys ages 3-9 and a husband who is gone for work WEEKLY Mon-Thursday, I so look forward to a couple of glasses of wine at night. Seems to me like it is the ONLY thing that, by law, I CAN'T SHARE with my kids...something for me, to help me remember I am an adult, mine, mine, mine! All mine! :-) Hmm...maybe I do have a problem...

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I read that same blogpost and I remember thinking well, shit. I guess I am an alcoholic too. Then I grabbed a beer. I think you have to put it into perspective. If your drinking is affecting your children, hell yes, there is a problem. But, you are also teaching them healthy habits. It's OK to have a glass of wine with dinner. It's not OK to binge drink and make poor decisions. Even though we have all done both. Fuck those people. That is what I love about the blogging world, for every one of them, there are 20 of us.

I stopped reading that blog shortly after that post.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErratic

The ONLY person who knows weather or not you have a dependency problem is YOU. There IS no certain amount that is or isn't "okay" or "alcoholic", because it is different for EVERYONE. It sounds more like you're effing sick of defending yourself than it does like you have a dependency issue.

My husband and I keep the whole drinking thing balanced. We have no desire to feel *drunk* but we enjoy good beer and wine because IT'S ENJOYABLE! Just like chocolate cake is! Everything in moderation! What's the biggie? You will know if you have a problem. You, or Serge. Who cares what anyone else thinks/says?

But yeah, as someone on Facebook said, it's probably best to wait to crack that first beer until all the driving for the day is done. Cause that's a whole different story!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

My parents are both European, and I grew up with them having a glass of wine every night. My grandparents (British) grew up with me too, and every night my Granddad would have a beer, my Nanna would have her gin and tonic. Every night. And did I grow up to be a raging alcoholic? No. Did I learn how to be responsible with alcohol? Yes.

The reason you are writing this is simply because we live in America, one of the most prudish countries out there. Where you have Reverend Love Joy's wife (Simpson's reference) screaming "Think of the children!".

I see NOTHING wrong with a drink a day. To relax. And to be relaxed means you are a better parent.

Thank you for this wonderful post!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

i have a friend (really, it's not me!) who pours her first glass of vodka with a splash of cranberry everyday at 5pm (highball glass) and keeps on going with the vodka until bedtime. do i think she's an alcoholic? yes.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterafc

CHEESE AND RICE PEOPLE. A glass of wine makes me a better human being! Let's be honest...shit sucks and wine makes it better. Get over yourselves. Holla, haters.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergkh

Perhaps instead of going to an AA meeting you could volunteer your living room as a new meeting place?!

(p.s. the above is said with total sarcasm and is a joke!!)

Very interesting comment Sarah B'. I myself don't drink but I only know 3 people that drink moderately and/or responsibly. Most everyone else I know that drinks does it irresponsibly - to the point of drunkenness, secretly, lying to themselves and others about it, asking for help covering up for things, etc.... So yes, I am probably influenced by those negative experiences when "judging" behavior.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreenInOC

http://sueatkinsparentingcoach.com/have-a-stiff-drink-and-get-over-it-why-parents-should-drink-more-wine/

See your just doing your part to be the best parent you can be ;)

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

It depends. My mother is, in fact, an alcoholic (recovering). She drank endlessly all evening sometimes. My grand parents waited for cocktail hour every day. I actually set my granfather's alarm on his watch for cocktail hour, so he wouldn't miss it ;-). They always had two drinks. Rarely more, never less. The differencens, they drank because they enjoyed it. My mom drank to get drunk.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Monica, Do you just get a kick out of reading the comments?

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

there's nothing wrong with looking forward to relaxing! your countdown for a beer or glass of wine is no different to me counting the hours till i'm off work, or anyone counting the days till the weekend. you're just looking forward to unwinding.

when you work from home, the are fewer lines that divide work from play, and it can feel like all you do is work sometimes... plus you're a mother, so you're probably working in one way or another through the entire day. you mention you drink beer or wine, which are also not heavy alcohols that would impair your senses very quickly... i saw my parents drink responsibly when i was growing up, a glass of two with meals or after work. i think it took away some of the mystique of alcohol for me, making it less taboo, and less appealing during my teenage years. i guess it's easier to demonize alcohol in a sweeping, blanket statement, than it is to be confortable with other people's free will and personal choices.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranother monica

I know a lot of moms who probably have alcohol problems. Yet, I also know a lot of lawyers, p.r. professionals, writers, reporters, carpenters, plumbers, and teachers who have the same problem. Do we just focus on moms drinking more or do they honestly drink more than others?

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLipstick and Playdates

Thanks for one of the best parenting tips ever! Seriously. Once I pop out our 3rd (surprise) child, I'll definitely take up drinking a glass of wine at about 7pm. ( or a delicious cold J├Ągermeister) This is the traditional time for me to turn into the biggest arsehole, snotty, raving bitch of a mother. "GET BACK INTO BED NOW!!!!!" Maybe your tip is going to help me take the edge off. Sounds like it will so I thank you Monica!

I also think all the drama about drinking alcohol only exists in puritanical English society. During all of my pregnancies I had low blood pressure and the doctors here in Austria always said that the best thing for me to do is drink a small glass of wine. As long as you don't "feel" the alcohol neither will your babies. Both my kids are well at the top of their classes so that's all the proof I need that the doctors were right! Cheers.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen

uh, can someone explain the watching the clock thing to me, please? is it okay-er to drink after 5 pm than before?

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommentermcCutcheon

I also think all the drama about drinking alcohol only exists in puritanical English society - Niedlchen

I would say more the Puritanical American society than English, we are so not puritanical over here!
Unless you mean drinking alcohol during pregnancy. in which case if you do drink during pregnancy over here, you may as well have a sign around your neck saying unfit mother.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersaz

I think that the most stressful thing you can ever do in life is being a parent, and as stress is one of the biggest killers out there these days anything you can do to take that down a notch has to be a good thing. A couple of beers or glasses of wine are nothing to worry about. General rule of thumb is that if the amount that you have to drink is low enough for you to still be able to drive legally, there's certainly no way it's going to have a negative impact on the lives of your children!

And even if you are a touch over that level, it's still nothing to worry about. Now, if you were drinking 16-20 beers a day there'd be an issue, but just a couple once the hard work for the day is done to wind down, that's absolutely nothing to worry about :-)

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDamien

Well said, Monica. Before we had kids, and right after our older daughter was born, my husband's and my one ongoing argument was whether it is OK to drink in front of the kids. I'm not talking *getting drunk,* I'm talking having even ONE drink. We met in college and both drank... and more than once woke up with a nasty hangover. But by the time we were contemplating starting a family, we had long outgrown that behavior. He grew up in a teetotaling household; I grew up with parents who kept a fully-stocked bar but rarely drank (probably less than once a week). I also grew up well aware of an alcoholic grandfather, who was a raging, violent lunatic when he was drunk all through my mother's childhood. Anyway, my husband contended that we should NEVER drink in front of our children. I argued that that's ridiculous. Kids should be able to see you drink responsibly. How else will they ever learn? Eventually, he came over to my side. Now, our daughters are teenagers and they totally get what's appropriate for when they are adults. (And no, they will not be allowed to drink with us until they are 21.) They're also aware of Mrs. So-and-so, who always gets drunk at Pampered Chef and Silpada jewelry parties in the neighborhood. And Mr. So-and-so, who is never without a beer in hand at our local pool. (Hey, kids talk.) So our girls are not being raised in a bubble. And we are happy, relaxed grownups who like an occasional glass of wine with dinner or a good beer at the bar-b-q. Cheeers!

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBEllen

Dude. If you head up to the great shores of Lake Erie, I will take y'all to a great tap room with numerous beers on tap. The kids can stay with their dads.

Yeah, I'm in the -there's nothing wrong with have a drink at night- club. I have parents who are from the 1950's generation where there IS something wrong with you if you don't have a mixed drink at night after work/raising the kids. Our society is becoming so freaking uptight. So long as you aren't falling down drunk, irresponsible, neglectful, etc, having a drink or two is not the worst thing in the world.

Ok, folks, yell at me too.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrumptastic

I wanted to add that my grandfather liked to say: I only drink when I'm alone or with someone. So there.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrumptastic

Without reading the blog,,I don't think it's the actual waiting until 5PM that makes her think she is an alcoholic. It is the guilt and pretending associated with drinking, and the excuses that pile up in your head to make it okay to drink. "Look, I'm normal, I'm waiting until 5PM." "Look I have only had one glass of wine and she has had two. I'm normal" The thought process goes on and on, and it is exhausting.

People who don't have serious issues with alcohol don't make up tiresome excuses for it to be "okay" to drink. The 5PM drink is probably one of her millions of excuses that she has floating around in her head. That may be where the author of the blog is different from you.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

Oh-and I'm not saying that people who wait until 5 automatically have an alcohol problem. So hopefully people understand that it's the excuse to drink. my grandmoher has never been drunk in her entire life, and I'm sure would not have a glass of wine before 5.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

I think you're completely misunderstanding the alcohol consumption brought up on (name deleted by Monica because, like I said, fuck that site). The concern about Dooce's drinking was not that she's a drunk or an alcoholic, but that she is mixing cocktails with the cocktail of medication she is on to treat her severe mental issues that she discusses openly on her blog. People wonder if this has something to do with her separation and possible pending divorce that she is now making public.

I know it's much easier to write off people who disagree with you, or who are critical of the choices you post on a very public forum, as "douchey", but the majority of the comments on (edited) were very supportive of Heather. When a person decides to commodify their personal life, the set back is people are going to judge. That's the way it goes. It isn't right. It isn't wrong. It just is in this environment.

If you want and need privacy, take it. But, that also means finding a new way to earn a living when it's earned off of posting the minutia of your life.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter???

I am a social drinker and find that these days, I will usually choose a caffeine+sugar combo over alcohol because I'm so tired and my tolerance is so freakishly high despite infrequent drinking that all a drink is going to do is make me sleepier. But that said, I think throwing parenting into the equation is kind of a red herring. If you have a problem with alcohol, I think the criteria for that is the same whether or not you have kids, you know? I have always felt that my personal criteria for a "drinking problem" is need. If I found myself NEEDING to have a drink every day at 5:00, I would feel that I had a problem. Wanting a drink, enjoying a drink, fine. Needing it, not fine.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

"If anything, a hearty drink or two in the evening probably helped the marriage last as long as it did."

I don't want to speculate about whether someone has a drinking problem because that would be codependent. But if the drinking helped the marriage last longer then that implies that alcohol perhaps helped them to stay in a marriage longer than they should have. Perhaps it was dysfunctional or destructive somehow and if they hadn't drank to "help" with the stress of it, maybe they could have saved themselves some precious time out of their lives and separated earlier. Life is short. If alcohol helps you to stay in a difficult situation, it's possibly healthier to look at it stone-cold sober to be able to make rational decisions.

That's not implying a drinking problem. I'm just responding to your comment. Also, yeah a lot of parents drink a glass of wine in the evening or a cocktail but you should always keep the needs of the children first. I'm talking about people who drink a bit and then when the children go to sleep they get flat out drunk. What happens if your child wakes up with a 104 degree fever or there's an unexpected emergency, you need to be able to drive your child to the ER or if you take a cab, you don't want to be drunk to talk to the doctors. There should always be a designated parent is what I'm saying. But I'm sure you already know that.

As far as speculating about their personal lives and issues...their lives, mental health, parenting, drinking and every other aspect of their lives are for the pupose of public entertainment, discussion and speculation. Please don't pretend otherwise when Heather Armstrong herself says that very thing. It's the nature of her blog to encourage speculation and controversy. It's how she makes her living. I don't think she's offended so why should you be?

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermom2three

I don't disagree that alcohol after a hard day of parenting is a bad thing. It isn't, not at all. BUT it can lead to a slippery slope. I know first hand. My son and his wife are both alcoholic. And with alcoholism comes neglect of children, poor work histories, and family turmoil. When do I as a grandparent step in and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH? How far do I let it go? Over the holidays they arrived with their young kids in tow and proceeded to get shit faced drunk at our house. They ignore their unruly kids and expect people to wait on them hand and foot. When it was time for them to get in the car and go home I suggested that maybe their father and I could drive them home so they arrived safe and sound. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE and of course it was my fault. Do they drink because they had a hard day at the office and just need to relax and unwind? I think it USED to be that way, in the beginning. Now it has turned into full blown alcoholism. They can't function without that "cocktail" or ten after a hard day of work, or parenting or doing anything, really. Pretty soon 5pm became 2pm on the weekends before they started with their first drink and only on Saturday. Now Sunday is involved. They rationalize EVERYTHING.... why can't they have a drink or two when they get home and on the weekends. It doesn't hurt the kids..... I hate my job, drinking helps me cope....we're good parents, you're the crazy one.....meanwhile their 5yr old has gotten kicked out of pre school because of his poor behavior and guess what? It's the teachers fault. The two older children are afraid to say or do much of anything because if they do they get slapped around. Its a mess. And of course they're in denial. They think everything is peachy keen and so what if they have a cocktail or two, they deserve it. They work hard. They're with the kids all day all and it makes them "edgy". Really? Edgy. Too fucking bad. You're the ones who decided you wanted 3 kids and I can't help it if you hate your job. That isn't the kids fault, But that is the message they send their kids on a daily basis. Without directly telling the kids it is there fault that they drink --- indirectly they do. Oh yes they do.

I could go on and on. But I guess my feeling is that, no I don't think that a cocktail after a day of working or parenting all day is a horrible thing, I would caution that it could turn into a horrible thing tho. Alcohol is sneaky like that. Sometimes when people talk about what a bad thing it isn't......my antenna goes up. Because if you really think that there is nothing wrong with a few cocktails after a hard long day of parenting, or working, there is no reason to defend it. Denial is a powerful thing, too. My son and daughter in law live in the Land of Denial....and blame....and how bad life is. They find joy in almost nothing and especially the kids they created together. I really don't feel sorry for them, they've made poor choices. Its the kids I feel sorry for, they have no voice. And every time their parents get drunk they loose a little bit more of themselves.

And no Monica I don't think you're an alcoholic or on the road or heading in that direction. I'm just sharing my story and the heartache alcohol has caused on our immediate family.

I think its absurd that anyone could or would be silly enough to believe that Dooce's separation is about drinking. I think the thing most people forget about bloggers is that they really only let us catch a tiny bit of their lives. If they're a good blogger they're able to tell a story without giving out too much detail. Here is the other thing I think about bloggers --- I'm happy somebody is getting rich off their writing. What Dooce does is WORK...hell I couldn't write everyday for a living. It would be easier to write a novel than write a essay everyday and KEEP an audience coming back for more. No easy feat. For sure. Not only that, but I get tired of other women not supporting or being happy that Dooce is successful. Whats up with that? Just because she is able to work from home doesn't mean she isn't working. We women just need to be more supportive of each other no matter what choices we make.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDona

@??? I'm not writing off anyone who doesn't agree with me. This site is full of people who disagree with me.

The site you mentioned is totally douchey. To sit around and cluck at the actions of other people - because they choose to blog publicly - is way lame and anyone that trolls around looking for people to make fun of, anyone that has created a whole blog around making fun of people sucks ass. Period. I don't want any part of that shit. Heather Armstrong is an intelligent adult who knows how to use her meds and knows what she's doing and a bunch of douchey ambulance chasers commenting about how she's probably doing it wrong suck. Regardless of whether she puts it out there or not. I'm so tired of people justifying shitty behavior on the internet by saying that because people choose to post publicly, they deserve it. And girlfriend, please, for every "supportive" comment on that site there is an asshole giving their two cents about how Heather is mentally ill and doesn't deserve her kids.

I don't want and need privacy at all. I'm living my life on my blog here, which isn't monetized. I don't make my money off The Girl Who.

January 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

@mom2three - If you don't think the shit said about Heather Armstrong doesn't hurt her feelings you've obviously never read a hateful comment about yourself on the internet because if you had you would've felt bad about it, like any other human being. Heather is a human being. Does she expect to be talked about? Sure. Does she realize it comes with the job? Of course she does. But do you think that makes reading all the horrible crap said about her any easier? Not for a second.

January 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Right on, Monica!

I am not a Mom, yet... but I KNOW that I will be one who continues to enjoy her IPAs and cab sauvs whenever I damned well please. There's nothing wrong with it....

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole L

I'm going back to read through the comments but I hear you and I only have one kid! I work during the day and then tackle what i consider "second shift" at home - dinner for E, bedtime, etc and my husband often enjoy a cocktail or before dinner...we have ALWAYS done this, were raised by parents who always had a cocktail hour and I don't see it ever changing - I definitely file this in the life is too short to worry about category. There are nights when I actually choose to go to the gym or work on a project instead but this time has always been very important for Sam and me and I *happily* honor it most nights of the week. And if I had the kind of body that had rebounded beautifully post-pregnancy well, let's be honest, the gym wouldn't even be in the rotation.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Monica, you're exactly right about a glass of whatever to unwind. Sometimes it'll be hot chocolate, sometimes it'll be wine, whatever. I think it's also important to see yourself how your kids do - does Mommy really need that glass of *** to be nice to me?

What I'm puzzling over these days is the messages we're sending our pre-teen kids. My girls have seen their dad and me drink a glass of wine here and there. We don't get drunk (blech, hate that feeling); no one in our circle does either. But there are frequent wine/beer/martini events that the kids are a part of, with their own set of kid-appropriate beverages.

From their teachers etc. they are being told "DON'T DRINK." Then at festive events (like New Year's Eve, so fresh in my mind) we serve them sparkly non-alcholic cider so they can pretend to drink. It's all very weird. On the one hand we are training them to drink wine and champagne; on the other hand we are telling them that these are dangerous substances that must be avoided until they are older. Like a magic alcohol fairy will swoop down when they're 21 and make it all ok. We do discuss at home that they might like the taste of wine when they're older (they hate it now - whenever they've sipped a glass by mistake or with our permission they are somewhat freaked out). At age 10 & 12 they are going to be exposed to their peers drinking alcohol very soon so perhaps I am over analyzing this.

I love how this post immediately follows yesterday's discussion of old ads with antiquated ideas.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

In theory of course there's nothing wrong with a drink or two at the end of the day, whether you have children or not (as long as in the former case, as someone else pointed out you could safely drive them to the hospital in an emergency,) But...I think there is some kind of issue with you and alcohol because you've talked about it many times on this blog, mostly before you had kids but occasionally after. In my opinion, and I say this from experience with recovery, the person who brought up want versus need has it right and that's where the clock watching gets dicey. If you could honestly say you could take or leave that drink/s at 5 but CHOOSE to take it then you're probably fine. But if the truth is you NEED it(which only you know--how anxious does the thought of not being able to have it make you?) then you might want to reassess. It's also true that people who don't have alcohol issues (and there's a range of them--you can abuse alcohol without being a clinical alcoholic) don't worry about this stuff. They don't feel intensely after reading the kind of blog post you described reading, internally scrutinizing their own behavior in comparison. I can only say all this with confidence in hindsight having stopped drinking, I wasn't ever a serious alcoholic but I definitely drank abusively at various times, needed it to deal with social situations, and if I'm honest, my own unhappiness etc. I too told myself I just enjoyed drinking, but I knew it wasn't that simple, that I was muting feelings I couldn't really deal with. I also do suffer from depression and anxiety and the behavior goes hand in hand with that. The other thing that strikes me is your level of anger and defensiveness. It fairly vibrates off the screen, in this case in advance of even receiving comments.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterE.

I really enjoyed reading this post and all the subsequent comments....

I am a sahm, my hubby is a long haul truck driver that is gone for a week at a time....and I have two wonderful boys that are 13 months apart. Yup...I am crazy...Yup... I am a responsible parent....yup I am the co chair of our PTA....yup I volunteer at our school..... yup I like to have a few drinks....and yup my kids don't think anything of mom having a glass of wine or a drink if I so choose. In my honest opinion it is parents who 'closet drink' (those who never let their kids see them have a drink) that are setting their kids up for a problem. If you treat something like a dirty little secret then it intrigues kids and they want more. If you show your kids that you can have a glass of wine or a beer without getting falling down drunk and just enjoy a drink, it teaches them respect for alcohol. We as parents have to set examples for our children to follow. If we treat each other with respect, then they learn it, if we treat alcohol with respect, they learn it. If we do not drink and drive, then they will think twice. thats my opinion. Thanks!

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I never said Heather "deserved" anything. I also never said that you made money off of this site.

Heather has made millions off of her site by posting the intimate details of her life. Once she puts something out there, people are going to have an opinion about it. Some of them will be kind, some apathetic, and some people are going to be assholes. I think there have been times that each and every one of us has used the power of voyeurism the internet brings for not so nice purposes. However, a mother of two children who posts on the internet about not knowing how she got into the garage with a dog leash in her hand, staring at a pipe to hang herself off of, is going to garner some back splash from that. Given her mental history, I think it's very practical to question her history with alcohol when it comes to her finding herself in that situation.

once again, this is what Heather has written in public.

Yes, Heather is very smart and she's very savvy. Very savvy. If her feelings are being bruised and battered over what people have to say about what she shares on the internet, I am sure she is smart and competent enough to find another way of making a living.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter???

This is one of the best posts I've read in a long, long time. I can totally relate! I have a 9-6 office job, but also have to get up super early to get myself and 3 year old son ready for the day (My husband actually gets him dressed, which is a God send, but I have to not forget anything(one) and get us in the car.), take him to daycare and get to work (In which the drive is almost an hour and a half.), work all day, go pick up the kiddo from daycare, not get home until 7:30 (And that's if we don't have to stop at the store.), cook and/or put dinner on the table, baths, playtime, bedtime routine. By this time, my 3 year old is not going to bed until 10:30, at the earliest! This means very, very little time to decompress and spend quality, QUIET time with my husband. So with all that said, damn straight I pour myself a glass of wine as soon as I get us in the door. We all have different schedules, struggles, demands, etc. I despise the constant state of others telling you how to run your life and your family. One size does not fit all.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary

@??? In your first post you said "If you want and need privacy, take it. But, that also means finding a new way to earn a living when it's earned off of posting the minutia of your life."

So my response was that I don't make money off this site. But I'm thinking maybe you were referencing Heather...

We can agree to disagree on the Heather thing... The internet has spawned a whole new level of assholery. People saying shit they'd never say to someone in person, and I think that's weak and lame. Just because people are entitled to have opinions doesn't mean they have to be rude about a human being who will very likely read what they write. And I especially am not into the kind of person that hangs around a website like the one you mentioned so they can armchair psychoanalyze anybody who posts something on the internet. When I come across someone on the internet who seems nutty or unstable or weird or whatever, I move on. Or I might read but I can never imagine commenting about them over and over again on some creepy comment thread. Getting off on hashing over someone's problems or mistakes or whatever - that's just totally fucking creepy to me. The internet could totally do without that snarky set of losers.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who

I've been thinking of your post since I read it yesterday, and think you have more of a 'unique' perspective when it comes to drinking... mainly, you grew up Mormon, so it was forbidden-- and-- depression/anxiety follow you along~ therefore, well-- there you are. It might get tricky for you.

In the best of circumstances, a drink or two a day is heavenly. I LOVE cocktail hour, but had to go for years and years of not drinking because I could not simply sip one drink. I had to re-evaluate how I wanted to live my life, and the slippery slope covered with splashed booze was not for me. Others, I drank heavily with, are now in recovery. It's different for everyone, but the fact that you're aware of your anticipation is probably a good thing. As for the drinking, only YOU know~~ *hic

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

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