As I was editing another post for this blog, I was sitting in a cafe in a neighboring town. There was a group of new moms there who had just come from a stroller boot camp type of thing. They sat nursing, burping and changing their babies.
My kids are a little older at this point, 5 and 3, and it seemed like those days of being a mom to a little baby seemed like a lifetime ago.
The moms chatted about this and that- nap schedules, bottle types, etc. My ears popped up when one of them said, ‘don’t forget ladies, tomorrow we’re doing lunch. And by lunch I mean drinks.’ This is what it’s like to be a mom now. Alcohol is associated with every activity. Want to grab some lunch? It’s liquid lunch. Want to have a play date? I’ll bring the wine. Kids’ recital? Booze in my Swell bottle. Early Saturday morning soccer game? Nurse that hangover with a hot toddy.
It’s in our faces at Target with the ‘wine o’clock’ tees and the ‘mommy’s sippy cup’ wine glasses. It’s a part of the most popular mommy vlogs where moms sit sipping mimosas while making the people on the other side of the screen feel less alone. Memes spew it all over our social media. Everywhere we look, someone is cheering our drinking on. Co-signing on our bullshit behavior.
Come to the local pool in my small, middle/ upper class town in Massachusetts on a Friday night and you’ll see it. Look at the circles of people, laughing loudly with friends while their kids swim. Almost every single one has a drink. It’s what we do and I was the queen of it. I made sure everyone was drinking, that everyone was having a great time. I bopped between those circles on warm summer nights and socialized with everyone I knew. At the time, it seemed like a dream. In reality, it was just part of my nightmare.
What most people do on those Friday nights is lovely. They’re having a drink or two, enjoying time with friends and then heading home safely. For me, though, I usually drank a beer or two before heading to the pool. Then I drank 3-4 drinks while I was there. And, on the way home, I usually stopped for a bottle of wine which I typically cracked open in the car and drank while driving.
Let me be VERY clear, the way that our society normalizes drinking helped fuel my drinking habit and aided in turning it into an addiction. Maybe it’s time to cut down on the way advertisers throw alcohol down the throats of women and mothers- our lives are complicated enough without alcohol.