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August 11th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Moms Who Drink (While Being Mothers)

drunk drivingSometimes I think common sense just isn’t common enough! This is one of those times. Now I probably should recuse myself from the following discussion, because it is about drinking and I admit that I don’t drink at all, which is pretty extreme and may compromise my objectivity, but I really don’t think it does. It’s just a personal preference, and I don’t really have a problem with those who do drink. I really don’t; so long as they drink responsibly, meaning in moderation, with a designated driver and, most importantly, when they’re not being the caregiver to their children.

You can probably guess that this is on my mind because of the horrifying tragedy that took place on a New York state freeway just recently. The driver of the vehicle, a 36-year-old mother of two, allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit. We still don’t know what happened in that instance, and while what’s being reported may seem extreme compared to chatting and having a drink or two with other mothers in the backyard on a sunny afternoon — what happens when a parent puts the kids in the car to head home?

Even if the trip is only across the neighborhood (which, by the way, may be a reason to think it’s OK to just have one more), they could be putting themselves, as well as their children and all of those who are walking or driving around them, at risk. What do you suppose the driver of that vehicle in New York would give for a second chance: To have had someone grab her by the shoulders and say: “DO NOT GET IN THAT CAR!”? But when it comes to such events, we don’t get second chances. So let me say it to any and all reading this blog now: Do not drink and get behind the wheel and do not stand idly by and watch someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel!

There’s a troubling trend going on now in which young mothers are having “chardonnay and playdates” — a time for moms to have a few drinks and socialize with one another, while at the same time, spending time with their children. There are also restaurants that promote “Mommy Happy Hours,” which provide activities for the kids while mom gets her drink on.

sleeping childThis is about more than enjoying a glass of wine with dinner. And while many may think it sounds avant-garde and glamorous, I just think it sounds stupid and reckless. I also wince at titles at the bookstore, such as Naptime is the New Happy Hour, and while surfing through mommy blogs that extol the virtues of imbibing from a sippy cup filled with alcohol while Junior romps on the playground. What in the world are these people thinking?

I appreciate how hard parenting can be. I remember when Robin was pregnant with Jay: I came home from what I thought was a long day at work, telling her how many clients I’d seen … she just stared back at me and deadpanned, “Oh really, well I made a lung today, so get over it!” Man, that’s perspective. I understand a parent’s need for social interaction, to feel a sense of community with friends and the need to relax from the day’s pressures. But there is a time and place for everything, including having a few drinks, but while you are watching the kids just ain’t that time!

I’m not trying to pick on women here. In fact, most drunk drivers are men. But there are statistics that show that DUIs among women are rising. To understand how you can get out of control before you know it, we need to address how quickly women — especially a woman who doesn’t weigh much — can be affected by alcohol. Even a few glasses of wine can diminish her capacity to think and react quickly.

If you’re wondering what it takes for your judgment to be impaired by alcohol, click here. I think you’ll be very, very surprised.

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119 Responses to “Moms Who Drink (While Being Mothers)”

  1. Jane says:

    My rule of thumb is that if I’m alone with the kids, then I have to be sober enough to drive them to the hospital if I need to. So, in Australia and in my state, that’s one standard drink per hour each hour. A glass of wine while chopping vegies, or over dinner. No more. There are times when my husband has been home and I’ve gone to town on a bottle of champs with a girlfriend or two, but someone is always sober enough to pay proper attention to the kids, and be legally allowed to drive. Now, single parents get a raw deal, I know, and it isn’t fair, but the kids welfare needs to come first.

  2. Ann Bridges says:

    I just think it’s pathetic! I don’t drink either and I would never put my kids at risk in such a way. I just recently had a friend of mine show me a so called cute picture he had taken with his camera phone, he thought it was funny that his friends 2 year old daughter picked up an empty beer bottle and held it up to take a drink. I said…”well, I see which direction she’s headed” and he casually just said, “yeah”, and laughed. My kids are NEVER exposed to alcohol and I’m going to keep it that way!

  3. Annie says:

    I think it is time that mothers take the lives of their children seriously. Even if they don’t have the children with them, they need to remember that their children need them when they get home. The same goes for the fathers. Abstinance seems to be a thing of the past. Anything with alcohol in it is not acceptable when a child’s life is in jeopardy.

    Jane says that one drink an hour is acceptable. I say that none should be allowed. I have permanent damage as a result of drinking and driving and I say it is not safe to drive with even a glass of wine, because your perceptions are not accurate after the first sip, especially when it is taken in the heat of the day.

  4. TCarter says:

    I know there are laws that hold bartenders and such responsible for allowing someone to drive home after drinking to the point that they are obviously in no shape to drive. However, I think there should also be a law in place that holds other people (such as friends, relatives, etc.) accountable for allowing someone to get behind the wheel of a car when drunk, especially when that person is getting in the car while minors. Someone who has twice the legal alcohol limit in their system most likely will show obvious outward signs of intoxication and reluctance to confront someone who is so impaired obviously costs people (often innocent people) their lives.

  5. Barbara says:

    There is no excuse for a man or woman that is taking care of children to have a drink or two unless there is another adult that isn’t drinking available to handle any emergency that can come up. No one and I mean no one has a right to put a child in danger let alone the public if you get behind the wheel of your car after drinking. When are people going to wake up. Even with one drink you are impaired. How many people, and children have to die and how many lives have to be destroyed before people get this. How many times have I heard, “well I only had one glass of wine or one beer” I didn’t mean to hurt anyone or kill anyone. People get your head out of your you know what and think for a change, drinking and driving or taking care of children isn’t just about you and your “needs”, there is a bigger picture here.

  6. Paradoxis says:

    It’s so good to see how much attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed over the years. I remember as a small child, it was nothing at all to be driven around by a parent or family member who was intoxicated. My brother and I would laugh at how “funny” the drunk person was. And this, at a time when not all cars even had seatbelts! We never wore seatbelts as kids. In fact, we’d stand up in the back and look over the bench seat. Once, my mother had to put the brakes on suddenly (and she wasn’t even drunk), and I ended up in the front under the dashboard.

    I think back to all these things and am horrified by the attitudes back then!

    Now, we know better. We know the consequences. We are taught about how the liver metabolises alcohol, and the effects alcohol has on judgement and perception.

    These days, there is just absolutely NO excuse for drinking and driving. When caring for children, alcohol should not even enter into the equation.

  7. I agree Dr. Phil 100%. BIG Kudos to you for not drinking period Dr. Phil as that’s a wonderful example to set. I mostly don’t drink period. Due to cost & calories & since I’m a health nut even though not a fully practicing health nut right now. Exercise (even just walking) is a better stress buster. Also, they are saying too that driving too tired and while texting is equally dangerous.

    I think since health benefits are being touted and attributed to beer and wine that people are rationalizing. Getting lost in conversation and losing count. However, I’ll simplify for everyone… One is too many when driving. DON’T DRINK & DRIVE (period). If too tired to drive don’t drive. DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.

    I’ve had a LONG day. Feels like getting another abscessed tooth from what a dentist said a while back is an incorrectly seated crown etc., feels like 2 FRONT teeth are lose where hit in face by rapist as a teen with dental work crumbling, knees hurt from knee injury so not suppose to walk and I LOVED to walk, stomach upset maybe from tooth going south etc. Uninsured so may be grinning & bearing it with a couple less teeth… and on top of that… looks like maybe my computer has been hacked into and that’s very depressing to me. And… that’s not all yet…THE PLUS is I’m alive to be around for things to get better… hopefully… as I wish all mentioned in your blog were too.

    My condolences to all those lost in horrible tragedies including automobile accidents such as casualties of 36 year old mom you mentioned… all. The especially sad accidents are those that could have been avoided using better judgment. Sincerely, SEA

  8. Virginia says:

    If these women feel that need a drink then they obviously have a problem. If they just want a drink and feel they deserve it, then they are being selfish. If you are a parent, you can’t be selfish.

  9. Katie says:

    I totally agree with you, Dr. Phil. For a while last year I had to be working full time and so did my husband. We couldn’t afford day care so we were letting my husband’s mother watch them. She would drive my oldest to school. Turned out she was drinking the whole time. I found beer cans in the garbage every day. When I would come home she would down a couple more beers then drive home. I talked to her about it and said she wasn’t allowed to drink while watching them. She promised she wouldn’t. So I started finding beer cans buried in the garbage, could smell it on her breath when I would get home. I had to quit my job. I was so angry. She is not allowed to watch our children any more and she threw a huge fit about it and so did her husband. I don’t understand why I am the bad guy for protecting my children! I don’t drink. I used to have an occasional drink, but never ever did I get behind the wheel even after having just 1 glass of wine. There is no excuse for it. And any parent (or anyone for that matter) who drinks and drives with children in the car should be severely punished.

  10. TCarter says:

    Amendment to previous comment: “while minors” should be “with minors”.

  11. Blgspc says:

    I don’t know how many REALLY DREADFUL things have to happen, that show up in the News, for folks to understand that alcohol and motorized vehicles DO NOT MIX!
    Alcohol and Parenting should be right up there with the BIGGEST NO-NO’s! There simply should NEVER be instances where Alcohol, Parenting and Driving are combined.

    I REALLY thought when Tracey Gold was involved in an accident, with her children in the vehicle AND she was arrested for DUI in that incident, that people would take note but obviously that hasn’t happened.
    Alcohol is a drug. It is one of the most socially acceptable drugs on Earth but it IS a drug. There is a direct link between Alcohol and weight. However, and MORE importantly, alcohol affects women differently than men.
    I believe that making this a visible issue, helps. It may help for a VERY brief period of time but it definitely helps!


  12. These same Happy Hour Mommies would probably sue the school system if they found out the bus driver had a sippy cup of wine. This is a dangerous, stupid practice and I pray it doesn’t take another tragedy to bring these delusional mothers back to reality. If you wouldn’t stand for a stranger endangering your child, what makes it acceptable for you to?


  13. Blgspc says:

    When I initially read the title to this new blog entry I THOUGHT that it was addressing the controversial SC State Law that regards Alcohol and Drug use while pregnant as a CRIME. Further, if a child is born with disabilities related to that use, the woman is then prosecuted for child abuse. No other state has this kind of law.
    Alas, the blog entry was NOT about that.

    Frankly, there are OTHER laws regarding Substance Abuse/Chemical Dependency that, to MY knowledge ONLY exist in SC. One of the laws actually, ‘ENABLES’ Addicts/Alcoholic to continue to use. I wish that Dr. Phil would address these!


  14. Crystal says:

    I read about this blog on twitter and I just wanted to say that my mom died in a single vehicle mva when I was 16 (over 10 years ago). She was intoxicated. My step-dad had trouble dealing with this and ended up drinking himself until with the help of my doctor was able to get him to stop. I raised my younger brother and sister for almost 2 years and helped take care of my step-dad (until his parents moved in with us). This was a very challenging time in my life (senior high school, basketball, volleyball, coaching, working and the start of university) let alone having to keep my family together. I have grown a lot from this experience (perhaps this is what directed me to a degree in Psychology) and do not hold any ill regard towards anyone involved, but I do wish that it did not happen and I do wish that we still had our mother. My younger brother who was 5 at the time is still having difficulties and I think that he always will. We dont always take the time to fully consider the consequences of our actions, if my mother would have known the path she was headed (and the consequences to others) on I KNOW she wouldn’t have taken it. You dont need hindsight to know that drinking and driving shouldn’t happen.

  15. I am a mom of two and I do drink, responsibly. It is incomprehensible to me how a mother can have a play date/happy hour and think that she is being a responsible parent. I will not ever put myself in a position where I can not respond to any emergency that could arise, day or night. This is not only an issue of endangering your child. It is the example that you are setting for your children and the values that you are instilling in them. I prefer my daughter sitting around a table with her dolls playing tea time not margarita time.

  16. Dawn says:

    The first time I was drunk, I was a toddler. Apparently I was walking around during the evening when the parents and family friends weren’t paying attention and finishing off the melted ice drinks. No one noticed until I fell off the foot stool.
    The family jokes about it now… even 45 years later, but I don’t think it’s funny. Drinking should be done responsibly and when children are around, someone should always be able to drive.
    This summer, in Alberta (where I live), there have been at least 20 alcohol related car accident deaths. Almost half of those killed have been children or older teens. One horrific accident was a father in a pick-up truck with his three children and another adult friend and a bottle of open liquor. They rear-ended a slow moving piece of equipment on the highway and no one lived.
    I have shed tears for all the children who have trusted their parents when they are put into a vehicle ….. so trusting that their parents are taking care of them.
    Please… think everyone… if you are driving, don’t drink… that is my rule.

  17. mimi says:

    HI Dr.Phil’
    i’am in israel,
    iam a mom got 4 children i live with my kids alone,
    i drink but i know my limit i drink only wen i know thet it wont harm my kids, i can drink alot and steel beincontrol, you got to know how to drink with out getting dronk, so the only time i drink is wen i go to a wedding or partty, or if icannot sleep, idont drink mor thn ineed, the thing is wen i drink i drink carfully.i eat somthing first, and i have to drink watter, and eat fresh veggey’s like cabbege and more,not alot, if a drink apint of beer in the day, i got to moove my boddy walk work out a good swett,thank god i dont drink,
    and doc. here in israel there are alot of car accidents, its not only because of the boose its allso because of talking on the cellphone wile driveng. here you not alowed to talk on the cellphone wile you drive, to all mom’s out there if you drink donnot drive,think of your children,and dont talk on yourcellpone wen driven,
    ok love mim amom of 4,

  18. Toni says:

    I don’t drink either, personal reasons, and when I have tried in the past, I often joked that although I like alcohol, it doesn’t like me. I don’t tolerate it very well but that’s a good thing because alcoholism runs in my family.
    Social drinking is a general term that is used quite loosely these days. I’ve observed firsthand mothers attending kiddies parties and sitting on their bottoms all afternoon, drinking and partying, while their kids are left to play and swim without parental supervision. I feel stressed when this happens at my home because I feel responsible for all those kids and it’s overwhelming.
    Without going into my own personal life at this time, I would like to say, that I’m very tired of hearing “but I feel fine”. There is a lot of delusion and denial involved with “social drinking”.
    Even though it looks like your kids are oblivious, let me assure you, they are far more perceptive than you think, and watching you drink and the way you behave afterwards has far reaching effects.
    I hate to sound like a school marm, I love all my friends dearly, I try not to be opinionated and judgmental, but the rate of alcohol consumption is alarming, and more alarming is the aloof response and non chalant attitude towards it. It’s like(or it basically is) being on drugs, it gets a grip on you and fools you into thinking YOU are in control.
    How do we get through? I have no idea. In S.A. drinking is part of our culture. (Boerewors braai en brandewyn) which is barbecue and brandy-coke is as old as Africa. If you attend a braai (barbecue) without alcohol you’re ridiculed or bullied. If you don’t meet for a drink and prefer to meet for coffee you get sidelined. You can’t be thought of as a party animal (even if you dance and enjoy yourself) if you refuse the tequila shooters. A hangover and some throw up are signs of a good weekend! Anyone otherwise is eyed suspiciously. It makes others feel uncomfortable.
    Lastly, one sentence I recently heard uttered at a party, “I drink to make other people more interesting”. That says a lot!
    Thanks for always pushing the envelope Dr Phil!

  19. Susani Sacca says:

    Addiction is cunning. Baffling and powerful.

    It is a thinking disease and it can be arrested at some point if a true effort is given to a true recovery process.

    After being a pot smoker, beer drinker and other seeker of covering up my true greatness I finally gave myself and devoted my self TRULY to recovery this year.

    After being exposed to various treatment programs and long lengths of DRYNESS almost 8 years without a drink or drug and being completely miserable because I was so unaware of my original abuse and how I continued to abuse me thru weed, booze and toxic relationships a light bulb went off when I was on an airplane at the end of FEB this year.

    I had yet another long dry patch like 1.4 months when inside I actually thought I was going to die on this airplane. One flight was canceled, I was texting my family letting them know of the quick change and i was filled with such anxiety and stress my heart was beating out of my chest.

    If I had gone to my doctor prior and spoke of my concerns he would have written me a RX for maybe 4 nerve pills. But I didnt plan for that and as a result of my poor planning I reached for a Bloody mary and “BLEW” my sobrity time once again.

    This time was the best time ever for me because at age 45 a LIGHTBULB went off inside my head. I have been altering my mind since I was 11 years old. Covering up my feelings with one form or another of ANY substance really. Being altered was my norm and being straight was foriengn to me.

    I came back to my HOME group and even though they didnt know I slipped and drank I knew ad from that I time I lived and honest through program with a sponsor and working 12 steps.

    This woman mentioned in the blog in NY freeway. Her husband had no clue. He was on the news defending her, while the JANE VELEZ MITCHELLS and her group of LAWYERS were on and attacking this woman, her family and ADDICTION BEING FOR FRONT and a CRISIS in AMERICA…

    (Oh and by the way JANE is in Recovery herself and WROTE a book on it. In the course of her program you are encouraged to PRE ORDER HER NEW RECOVERY BOOK I WANT.)

    I say that a little snotty because we dont know what was in the MOM’s mind or what she did. Did she have POT in her system up to 30 days? YES DID she have other pills YES DID she have booze? Medical examiner said yes and well all I can say minus the driving the car BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD WENT I!

    Addiction is sneaky and it can lead to 3 known places. JAILS INSTITIONS or DEATH. RIP to that Mother.

    This needs to be spoken about openly honestly and THANKS Dr PHIL.
    That is just a snap shot of my life.

  20. Fatim says:

    Hi Dr. Phil

    “I appreciate how hard parenting can be” Hard parenting is raising a child with specials needs both intellectual and physical, on your own while at the same time studying full time. I’ve done all this pretty much on my own for the last 7 years, and in that time I’ve had an alcohol drink twice, and that was only to try it, which amounts in total to less than a standard drink.

    There is no excuses, no matter what gender, for drink driving FULL STOP. As a parent its worse when a mother gets behind the wheel with you children strapped in the back and she has had a drink. Child abuse. I don’t care if they just live up the road and they get behind the wheel drunk, their not fit to be parents again FUll STOP.

    Why does a mummy need mummy happy hour, surely there are better ways to unwind. I serousily do not get why people drink. I wonder if there is any stats linking depression with people who drink with those who don’t. Because lets face it alcohol changes your emotional and mental state, it’s after all classed as a depressant. That why people drink it because its alters their mood.

  21. Kim says:

    Unfortunately this problem is way too common! My husband and I travel to middle/high schools across America speaking to young people about underage drinking, alcohol/drug abuse, addiction & drunk driving. My husband, Tom, was involved in a drunk driving accident that left him a t-7 paraplegic……he was the drunk.

    Tom’s presentation last about an hour but we remain at the school for the entire day. Tom LISTENS to students throughout the day! I sit and take note, watching as these students tell Tom story after story about their parents who drink….and drink & drive. Dads…..& Moms…! He is hearing more stories of Mom’s who pickup their teens from school drunk, drive them to school activities drunk! We hear of older teens not being able to live their teenage lives because they have to care for their younger siblings at home because their mom is too drunk to be able to care for the children. Many children out there are parenting their parents.

    As we sit and hear these stories so do the administrators of the school. They are often shocked at the stories that they hear coming from their students. These administrators often question as to why these students don’t seek help! The answer from the students is always the same….embarrassment! These kids don’t want to admit to anyone that their mother is a drunk!

    We do what we do to try and teach young adults about the consequences involved in the choices that we make in life. Even though the presentation is geared toward teens, “after the presentation” is often geared at how teens can help their parents through their alcohol abuse and hopefully not follow in their footsteps! Many of these kids are afraid that they will become their parents!


  22. Jennifer says:

    In my opinion there is no excuse for drinking & driving for any reason at any time. Let alone putting a child in a car to. Is it bad enough you put your own life in danger. You have to put a little child in there to. What are people thinking. I grew up where both of my parents were drinkning and driving. Back then it was considered the “norm”. It wasn’t ok then & it’s not ok now. If you’ve been drinking call a cab. There a other options.


  23. annieta says:

    its sad,i don’t have words for this. i wonder how whe can get true to those people,and they call themselfs grown ups,the sad thing is it happens all over the world.


    from holland.

  24. mimi says:

    hi dr-phill i
    i think drinks should be like sigarerets,
    wen you buy them its say’s on the box its not healthy can cause cancer,
    drinks wen you buy it needs to say dont drink and drive,

  25. Essie says:

    That is so funny, Robin said “I made a lung today” LOL!

  26. Missy says:

    Such a tragedy for everyone involved. My heart goes out to the families. After reading some of the responses, my final thought is that when someone becomes a parent (either by choice or “accident”) it is no longer about you. Your life becomes about the child that you have in your care. Sometimes you have to let go of the things you want to do (hang out with friends, drink, drugs, have “mommy happyhours”, etc.). What part of you have the responsibility to take care of that young life that most would profess to be the most important person(s) in their life to your last breath do you not understand? If a parent cannot care for their children there are millions of people out here that would love to have a child. Very young children do not have the ability to make the decision not to go with drunk mommy or daddy so parents need to make the responsible choice for them and their families.

  27. Erin says:

    I personally do not drink, I drink once on my 21st birthday, got a hangover the next day and that was enough. Now, being 26 I decided not to drink. Personally, I do not get the point of this thread. Sorry, Dr. Phil.

    Why does it make a difference who is driving the car if they are drunk? Does it really make any difference if the person was a mother, father, has kids in the car or does not. It is wrong, plain and simple. Even if the person who was drinking has no children in their vechile they are putting everyone else’s chilren in danger for driving drunk.

    In addition, if you around children, regardless if you are the parent or not, you should not be drinking. Plain and simple, since your judgement is impacted it can affect children around you. Children can get hurt because you are not paying attention or are drunk or even had a little bit to drink. Since alchol effects people in different ways, and no one knows exactly how many drinks is enough to cause to impair your judgement (it is different for every person) a good rule of thumb is if you around children (regardless if they are yours or not) do not drink.

  28. Annie says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I remember when I was a young mother and my daughter’s were 1 1/2 years old and 2 months old that I was petrified to drink even in my own home out of fear of not being able to function properly for my girls should they be in need of me in the middle of the night. The country is not short on selfish idiots. My oldest daughter’s X-boyfriend who is the father of her two boys thinks nothing of getting behind the wheel with his boys in the car. Thank God he was pulled over during the last incident and has done time for it. He is an alcoholic and has put his son’s lives in danger more times than I care to count. My daughter is married to a wonderful man now and they all live with me. There are times when I have to put my foot down to my daughter when she feels like having a repreave from the kids and wants to send them to their dads. If something should happen to them while in his care she is just as much to blame because she knows better. I feel for the kids. They miss their dad and he is so caught up in himself and his needs that he totally dismisses his kids needs. They are miserable when they are told that they can’t see their dad. It is very heartbreaking to witness. They don’t understand why they are being denied their visit and get very angry with my daughter and me. I don’t know what the answer is Dr. Phil. It’s not like people don’t know the consequences of getting behind the wheel drunk. God Bless.

  29. debrarae says:

    MY rule of thumb is … if I have my children (or ANY children) with me … I don’t drink at all.

    It only takes a split second for a child to get something in their mouths that shouldn’t be there, and if I drink … in that split second … that child could die.

  30. Elin says:

    I agree with you Dr. Phil.
    This is a very interressting thing..Why do we need to have a drink?
    Well…I wonder what’s going on in the head of drunk mothers who put the kids in the car and drive on…… I don’t get it!! Or fathers.
    I drink! maby too much somtimes I must admitt! The last year I have understand that it is selfmedicasion (sorry my english isn’t the best) I have been doing the last years.
    (got some diagnoses the last years)
    I would never never!! drive with alcohol in my blod!
    I am a mother of 2 kids. Even if I sit like I do now for instance, having a beer while I’m on internet.on a saturday night ,my husband also have a glas (whiskey I think he is drinking)
    Well even if I sit here in the kitchen, my children sleep safe upstairs, I have it in back of my head that things can happens. Like the house can get on fire, one of the kids can become sick etc…Things can happens that you need a clear mind!!
    But I still go on drinking! I have fun lissen to music, chatting and having a time for my self. “I take one more before bed” And suddenly I have been drinking much more than one beer..and it’s get very late at night.
    So you wake up next day, being tired and say to yourself: never again!
    “I will be a good mother that get up early in the morning and make breakfirst and are happy and play with the children!”
    But after some days I feel tired and maby depressed so I long for a glas of wine..or what I have in the house! It calmes me down. My muscles and my brain relaxes….
    Now I don’t remember what I was planning to write here…I just write on!
    But I think it is sad the hole thing about mothers who drive after being drinking! Or anybody that drives when they’re drunk!!
    I really respect you that you don’t drink alcohol Dr. Phil! And the best thing is that you don’t judge others who do drink!
    You are a good person and that is why I love your shows! You also bring out the best in the persons you have on your shows! Well must of them, the ones who deserves it! Thank you for beeing you!

  31. I completely agree. Parents should not be drunk when caring for their children. I have no problem with a drink, maybe even two spaced out over and appropriate time period, but like one of your other commenters my rule of thumb is that I muts be able to drive my kids to the hospital safely. I don’t drink and drive.

    I got quite upset lately at all the uproar about mothers supposedly breastfeeding drunk. You can have a few drinks and still breastfeed safely (the concentration of alcohol found in breastmilk is so low that you would have to be falling over before it would have an effect on the baby). The bigger issue is that women and men should not be caring for their children while drunk. It isn’t about breastfeeding sober. It is about parenting sober. Period.

    Also, please don’t make this just about mothers. I have seen it much worse in men who have no problem having beer after beer after beer while they are taking care of their kids.

    I wrote about the issue here:

  32. jessica says:

    my mom drinks every day. when i was younger she’d drink while driving me to school, every day. every morning every night. when she’d get home after work she’d either ignore me completely or yell at me for not cleaning the house. she doesnt do it now but its like it happened yesterday. she has no concern for anything except her bottle and the amount of money in her banking account. i should have said something years ago.. thanks dr phil. i know this isn’t right.

  33. Lisa says:

    I’ve got 3 boys. Although they are older now, when they were little, my sole job in life was to tire them out (go to parks, play sports/games, go on hikes, etc.). I was always on the go, trying to wear them out so they wouldn’t pick on each other all the time. By dinner time, I was mentally and physically worn out (even though they might not have been).

    I looked forward to my evening glass of wine, so that I could relax. It made evening baths and story-time much more pleasant! It also made me happier when my husband came home from work. Sorry to say it, but I don’t know how I would have made it through those tough years without!

    I wish you had been on TV back in those days! I’m sure you could have shown me lots of alternatives (including ways to deal with bickering boys)!

  34. Rick H. says:

    I hear about these stories and I am reminded that “But for the grace of God” that could have been me. This comment is from the perspective of a frequent drunk driver that has since found sobriety. I am not trying to present the context that I support drinking and driving in shape or form, but I am trying to let you all know what went through my mind ( or lack of) when I actively did this.

    I read these comments and reflect back to the number of times of drove insanely impaired behind the wheel. I was the perfect example of hypocrite – I looked down at others who drove impaired. But once I drank too much I knew absolutely no sense of consequence. I also thought I wasn’t as impaired as I was. I thought I wouldn’t get caught. Drinking gave me a feeling of invincibility and honestly I was too bloody selfish to think about anyone other than me.

    Many of you would answer this as to why not drink so much or not at all. I tried to control it and couldn’t, and I refused to admit to myself or anyone else I had a problem. (I would have had to do something about it) I had to be confronted for me to seek help. I was a coward and could not imagine a life without alcohol. I knew there were ways to get sober but I didn’t think they would work for me. I was also afraid they might work for me.

    Not that this changes anything – I just wanted to share what went through my head 3 plus years ago when I was the person putting all your lives at risk. Alcoholism is a serious illness that kills more people than are spared from its grip.

    To close I would just like to apologize to all that I put in harms way,

    Rick H (3 years sober)

  35. Ana says:

    Hello, Dr Phil!
    Once more, I think you’re totally right and I agree that there is time and a place for everything!
    I do not drink, because I am breastfeeding – in Portugal, many women drink and smoke during pregnancy and after, during the breastfeeding period…
    We should be more conscient about our actions and its consequences…

  36. Another incomparable and outstanding moral stance on a topic so often ignored.

  37. Erin says:

    My mother got very drunk (not her first time) one evening while we were out to dinner. She was so drunk, she was completely unable to drive. I was 15 and did not even have a learners permit.

    Interestingly, my younger sister took the keys and drove us home! She had been sneaking out at night and taking the car.

    My mother died from complications of alcoholism at the age of 60. She was a brilliant, creative woman. I miss her.

    Moms, I KNOW we occasionally need a escape. However, the chardonnay can work it’s way into our lives and become a problem before we even know what happened.

    Let’s be there for our children,

  38. sharon says:

    Dear Phil,

    Even though I’m not a mom, so I can’t speak from that perspective, I’ve still always believed that parenting is one of the highest honours and responsibilities someone can have. It’s being entrusted by God with a precious life and, as many have already expressed, the child’s needs and well-being must always come first.

    I agree that alcohol and children don’t mix. We know that medically it’s strongly recommended that women who are pregnant shouldn’t consume any alcohol for the duration of their pregnancy for the reason that they wouldn’t want to cause any harm to the new life that is being formed in their womb. So wouldn’t it also be common sense that a mom would only strengthen in her resolve to continue to protect and not expose her child to unneccessary harms like these? There are enough dangers out there in the world, so why add preventable ones to the list? There are many other viable options for moms to be good to themselves and have their “me” time and those activities will help to make them a better and happier mom for their families. This is NOT one of them. Any risk that has the potential to endanger a precious life, is too big of a risk imo. If most women have enough sense to not drink while carrying their child inside of them, it makes sense to not drink while caring for your child as well, to keep them as safe as possible. What a gift to give to your children, since your children are a gift from God to you.


    P.S. Have fun and blessings to you all at the show tonite. Your true “awards” are the countless lives you help and touch and transform each day. God bless.

    P.S.S. Speaking of moms, it’s my sweet mom’s birthday today and I’d like to honour her and give her a shout-out, if that’s ok. I love you SO much, Mom!! God blessed me with the best and each day with you is such a gift. Happy Birthday!!


    There is a gift that’s rare to find
    It’s tender, yet it’s strong
    And faith that stands the test of time
    Is its eternal song
    It’s always open, never closed
    A warm and welcome place
    That turns a house into a home
    Where God displays His grace
    It gives far more than it receives
    Protects, corrects and cares
    And all who have this gift will find
    That Love is always there
    Inside, there is more wealth than gold
    That cannot bear a price
    This precious gift holds worth untold
    And touches every life
    It overflows in gentleness
    In patience, peace and joy
    And though it breaks a thousand times
    It still can’t be destroyed
    What gift can have such endless love?
    God’s finest work of art
    Is when He fashioned and He gave
    This gift: A Mother’s heart

    (written a few yrs ago for, and dedicated with love each day to, my precious Mom. I’ll drop it into the world now to maybe bless and inspire other moms too):)

  39. rose says:

    I don’t really drink all the much but I have drank when my kids were sleeping but my husband doesn’t drink so its ok. I think its ok because if anything happens hes sober and can handle it. There is nothing wrong with drinking when u have kids just so long as it doesn’t pose harm to the children and so long as they don’t see it. Now I do think that its never ok to dink and drive at all especially if kids are in the car. Like i don’t even know why you would even attempt it.

  40. Pam says:

    I just have to say here that there is a big difference between “mommy cocktail hour” and a glass of wine before dinner. I’ve always drank wine – never in excess but I believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a glass of wine every evening if so chosen. I’m the mother of three and would never get behind the wheel drunk. In fact, I choose to never get drunk. Sadly, the few crazies that seem to be increasing in number make things taboo for everyone. I absolutely do not advocate these types of behaviors like restaraunts offering child care while mom’s drink. I can’t even imagine going to something like that. And, drinking in the afternoon is just not something I find appealing because I have a full day and just wouldn’t drink (unless maybe at the beach on vacation and I might have a Mai Tai out by the pool).

    What bothers me about some of these positions is that having a glass of wine in the evening does not make you a bad parent at all. It doesn’t impair your ability to get your child to the hospital if an emergency arose, for about 99% of the population it wouldn’t affect their abilities anymore or maybe even less than a benadryl tablet in the evening would.

    The tradgedy that happened with the drunk mom killing so many people is one of many and absolutely must be stopped. But, no one should group this mom into a catagory with the glass of wine at night mom before going to bed. Or even the dad who comes home and has two beers while watching a football game. If you look at the chart, I would have to have something like 5 glasses of wine within two hours to achieve the .08 blood alcohol level. I know there are a lot of people out there who could and would do this and then get behind the wheel of a car and drive, but there are a lot, lot more who would not.

    Dr. Phil’s point of view is solid and like I said, I was surprised to find that the new big thing is drinking during mommy play dates etc. but let’s not condemn anyone who has a child in their care and has a glass of wine. To me that’s just over the top.

  41. Nita Shaw says:

    I am 77 yrs old, very healthy, wonderful Christian family of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I have NO regrets as I was careful to honor my mother and father in all things – I respected them as they did ME. In the 8th grade I made a committment quietly to myself NEVER TO DRINK AT ALL (ALCOHOL), SMOKE, NOR HAVE PREMARITAL SEX. Who knows when one of these experiences might lead to another and another to out of control? Those committments have certainly served me well. All cell phones that I provide ( two to teen age grandchildren) immediately had texting and sending pictures turned off from their phones by the server. How blessed I am. Nita

  42. Patti says:

    When I became pregnant I kept my promise to myself and to God to quit smoking and to quit drinking. Throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, I kept that promise, I also took no caffeine and no drugs or medications, I did not take so much as a Tylenol. In believe that children are a blessing. When our son was born, I continued my no smoking, no drinking pledge. Why would I place my child’s life in danger for my own selfish pleasure? I think that is so little to ask of a person, to quit drinking for your child. If you cannot do that, you are an alcoholic and have a problem in my eyes. Your child(ren) should come first.

  43. Jessica says:

    It is such a sad thing to see and yet all of us have at least known of one person who has viewed it ok to drive with their children while under the influence. This idea people have that one or two drinks will not impair them is ridiculous and it is so unfortunate that until tragedy occurs and it happens to someone we know personally that thought doesnt change.
    Our job is to protect our children yet we only seem to when it is convienent for us and that is not how we should be parenting our children.
    I have a strong opinion about this topic because my own mother was an alcoholic and drove myself and my younger sister around alot. We are very lucky that tragedy never struck because of her actions, aside from her own death 14 yrs ago due to a drinking accident. Parents need to step up, you chose to have children and we only have once chance to really get it right. Of course we can fix mistakes we make from time to time and learn from them but it doesnt have to be as a result of children suffering the consequences to teach us. Its not that hard to make good decisions it just takes common sense.

  44. Joan Banta says:

    I do not drink. But I wonder how many parents have a couple of glasses of wine or a few beers before dinner every day when they come home from work. Their children are in the home at this time, presumably under the care of these drinking parents. Are these fit parents? What if something happened to one of their children while the parents each had 2 drinks under their belts? Are these fit parents? What if one of the children fell off a swing while playing in the backyard? Would the parents be called unfit because they weren’t watching the child closely enough but were in the kitchen fixing dinner and having 2 drinks each? What if one of the children swallowed something in the bathroom while the parents were fixing dinner in another room and having 2 drinks each? Are these fit parents? Should they be drinking? This very scenario happens in millions of American homes every single day of the year. (There may be a slight deviation in the scenario with the husband watching sports on TV and drinking 2 or more drinks while the wife cooks in the kitchen.)

  45. Speaking as an alcoholic mother (Sober now 4 years) I have to AGREE with what you say 10000000% percent.
    I know when I was in my “drunken mother” stage of life, I not only felt incredibly guilty about having a “few drinks” and come on let’s be real….it’s never JUST a few drinks….ever…no matter how many times you try to convince yourself it is…..it’s not.
    I know I made bad choices and wasn’t the best mom I could be when i was intoxicated around my kids. Now I’ve always had a concience (sp?) so i was “careful” so to speak. Meaning I can NOT to admit to having EVER gotten behind the wheel of a car drunk….I know better, even in a drunken stooper…
    And quite honestly I am a drinker when I’m drinking….and very CHEAP…so I hated paying 10 bucks a drink at a bar…so I would buy the booze and bring it home…that way I knew I was “safe” however …….as “safe” as I called myself being, it was still a bad decision.
    Not that my kids were ever really effected by it as I was able to get clean before they got to an age to really notice anything….I still just don’t think it’s wise…at all….to drink while in the presence of kids…..it’s like trying to add two and two and swearing (cause that’s what you want to believe) that it equals five….you can’t….all the convincing in the world can’t change FACTS>
    FACT OF THE MATTER here is that OUR PERCEPTION, ABILITIES, SPEECH, MOTOR SKILLS and many other things ARE effected when we drink….
    Why chance it with the people you claim are the most important in your life?
    To me there’s no debate on that…..
    My kids are WAY more valuable then a good buzz at night…

  46. Carol says:

    You know I don’t think there should be any drinking around children at all but maybe I am just old fashioned.

    If you want your childern to stay away from any kind of booze don’t bring into your home. If you need to drink go outside your home like a bar or any other establishment and drink but not in front of your child because if they grow up with it they will have no reason to think that is not what you do everyday but as I said I am old fashioned.

    These parents that drink or smoke in front of their children are very wrong because both of them are a danger to them and that is the way I feel.

    My father smoked around us and I am partially deaf because of it and I have to live with that all of my life and nothing is worse for any innocent child to have to endure and not anythng to say about it. Children are at the beck and call of their parents and the parents should be aware of that everyday and they are not and that is a fact.

  47. elisabeth says:

    I can honestly say that , I’m not a drinker, I used to be till i had kids, ppl always bug me about the fact that i believe that my kids come first but you know in the long run there worth it. :)

  48. sylva says:

    anyone please help im 24 my mom has 14 kids she has been on drug since 1983 it now getting reallyy bad she now has 7 small kids in the home in a week she will be homeless for not paying her rent the family has gave her money for the rent but of course drugs got that money idk what to do i know its not the kids fault but i feel like i have done all i can do to help my mom the drugs have took her over what should i do should i call cps the copp i justdont know im tired of her puting her kids on the side line she even have drug dealers comeing to her home god i am so mad i want to go crazy on her .should i just steo back bt then i think what about the kids dr phil ,somebody please help

  49. Bridget says:

    I know exactly what is meant by this blog and I sincerely hope people take it to heart when reading it. There are so many mothers and fathers that just don’t think! I help my boyfriend raise his son during his deployments because his ex wife was not reliable… it seemed like every time he left for a deployment, she would do something to end up in the hospital or in rehab. She claims she’s been clean for over a year but we all know better…. just this week she had surgery on her shoulder and was given a 90 day supply of pain pills, by Friday she told me the entire bottle was gone. She has taken their son to AA meetings and told him it was their church, she tells him what she’s taking pills for (which is basically to eat, sleep, and breath) so he thinks this is normal behavior. Our biggest fear is that she is going to take too many pain pills or drink again and not realize her limit and get behind the wheel with him in the car…. I cry on a regular basis in fear of what may happen to him and I think the court system is ridiculous on the mother’s right bs, and that is coming from someone who was not raised by my own mother. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think before you do things! Not just drinking but pain pills are just as dangerous if you are taking too many

  50. Tracy Hinds says:

    I have to say that I enjoy going out with the girls “once in awhile” which to me is once every 2 months or so. I have an awesome husband who will drive us to the bar/club and he also comes and picks us up when I call him at 2,3,4 in the morning. My children are 14 and 11 and they have never seen me drink alcohol and I plan on keeping it that way, especially at their ages now. One of my good friends is a single parent and her daughter always goes to her grandmothers when we go out. She too will not let her daughter see her drink alcohol. It is all about being responsible and just taking time to think for a moment. Apparently common sense isn’t so common in some cases.

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