Moms Who Drink (While Being Mothers)
Sometimes 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.
This 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.