Seriously, when did motherhood and wine become so synonymous? When did motherhood become so unbearable that we can no longer survive the day without wine? When did it become socially acceptable to declare our lives so difficult as mommies that we need alcohol to get through it?
I feel like I missed something. Maybe it's because I've spent a large portion of the past 7 1/2 years pregnant and the rest of it breastfeeding. Maybe it's because those 7 1/2 years account for over 70% of the time I've been of legal drinking age (whoa! now that's a statistic for you!) Maybe it's because I don't really like wine (give me a beer any day!) Maybe it's because I've never been a big drinker. Or maybe it's because I'm that weird mother that doesn't find motherhood that terrible.
But the truth of it is, a lot of mommies seem to rely on wine to survive their children. Or at least they think it's cool to joke about it because everywhere I look these days there are memes and statements and Facebook posts about motherhood and wine.
I noticed the trend when we were still in Dublin. After hubby was away for 13 days straight when Sugarplum was just a few months old and in her inconsolable crying stage and I confided in friends that it was a really hard time for me. And they all piped up "you should have let us know, we would have come to sit with you after the kids were in bed. And brought the wine!" I chuckled and didn't think much of it at the time but then the references kept coming and they became more frequent and now it seems no conversation about the struggles of motherhood can exist without a reference to wine.
I'm not saying mommies should never drink. Trust me, when there is not a baby taking up residence in my abdomen I enjoy a cold beer and, yes, even a glass of wine on occasion. But it's not every day. And it's usually only with dinner, I don't sit around drinking wine on the couch after my kids are in bed (I'm waaaaaay too tired for that!)
And I'm definitely not judging the mommies who post these messages and images. I can't say I'm completely innocent of ever sharing motherhood and wine references. I'm just to the point of wondering why? and how? and what impact is this going to have on our children?
I've seen these images and messages that focus on children knowing their mommies need wine. Sure, young children don't know what it's all about. My girls know that wine, beer and other drinks have alcohol in them (they cutely refer to it as "booze") and we've discussed the dangers of too much alcohol. But I can't say they've ever witnessed an actual drunk person or the negative ramifications of drinking too much (except that one time on the Dublin city bus). But I also know as they grow, these things will become more apparent to them and they will start to notice. And I don't want my kids associating me with these behaviors.
Firstly, I don't want them to think that drinking and being drunk it okay. Because really, it's not. It's not okay when you're in high school. It's not okay when you're in college. And it's certainly not okay when you're an adult and especially a parent. Do we all over indulge at times? Sure, we're all human after all. I've found myself in a tipsy stage on a few occasions since becoming a mommy, but I try not to let my children see it.
But more importantly, I don't want them to start thinking that they are so horrible I have to drink them away. There is a lot of social stigma around why people drink and the phrase "drinking their worries away" is often heard. We, as a society, use alcohol to soften life's blows. I get it when you've lost a loved one or a job or even feeling the need to have a drink after a long day at work. But no matter how long and hard my day is, I don't want my children to ever feel like they are my worries that need to be taken away.
Because really my children are my joy, my light, my loves in life. They are the reason I wake up every morning (literally, I can't ignore them screaming my name!) and I don't want them to ever feel like they are a burden or a hardship or that they have caused my unnecessary stress. I want them to always know that I would do anything for them and that I love them with all my heart, because I do and I would.
And I don't ever want my children to associate themselves with my experience of motherhood and wine.