I know that participating in New Year’s resolutions is a pointless act for a lot a people and that there is no logical reason that we should wait until the new year to better ourselves. There, I got that out of the way. For me, however, the new year is a time to restart, recharge, and begin a specific time period again with refreshed goals. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how I want to improve the woman and mom that I am. Every goal I set for myself affects my child in some way. If I choose to eat better, I’ll probably have more energy to play with my son at the end of the day. If I choose to start a new business, I’ll have to consider the time that it requires and how much it takes away from my one on one time with my son. This year, I’ve decided to make a resolution that will directly affect who I am as a mom. I am giving up drinking to become a better mom and here’s why.
In the last year, however, I’ve started to feel like my drinking has taken more of a front seat in my life and it is not a comfortable place to be.
Before I had my son, I was a self-proclaimed party girl. I liked to be dressed up at a club with a drink in my hand, two-stepping to top 100 songs. That was my idea of a good time. By the time I hit the young age of 23, I was a mom to a little human that didn’t care about my desire to let off steam from the week with a vodka soda. Throw in two years of breastfeeding and I spent a majority of my mid twenties missing the life I had before. I am not ashamed to say that I enjoyed social drinking with my friends before having a baby and I’m definitely not ashamed to say that I missed it. Aside from being someone’s mom, I am a human. In the last year, however, I’ve started to feel like my drinking has taken more of a front seat in my life and it is not a comfortable place to be.
This past year has been one of finding myself again. Even though it sounds like a cheesy line from a rom com, I truly feel like I’ve spent 2017 focusing on the dalliances that make me happy. This year has also been the first that I’ve had to split time with my son and on some level, I think that indulging myself has numbed my sadness about that.
On the nights that my son is with his dad, I’d spend my time out with friends drinking tequila or vodka with a splash of soda. Some nights I’d drink far past my limit while other nights I’d drink right to the edge of it. The next morning, I’d wake up wishing I’d cut myself off earlier in the night. All Sunday, until my son came home, I’d lay curled up on my couch dozing in and out of sleep while waves of nausea poured over me. During each and every hangover I’d say to myself that I need to slow down. I’d stick to that until the next night without my son.
The day that changed the way I viewed alcohol happened in the springtime. While, at the time, I didn’t realize that it was impactful enough to cut out alcohol altogether, it is a major reason. It was a Sunday morning and I was invited to a bottomless-mimosa brunch with my girlfriends. I’d gone to brunch before and drank a reasonable amount without getting drunk or even tipsy for that matter. I knew my son was going to come home that evening so I assumed that I’d be OK by the time my son arrived. During brunch, the waiter offered three variations of mimosa like drinks and I chose the strongest one while everyone else at the table went with the classic version. If you’ve ever had a mimosa you know that they go down like pure orange juice freshly squeezed from an orchard in Florida but get you drunk quickly.
I have never been that disappointed in myself in my life. What kind of mother gets drunk knowing that she has to take care of her kid.
By the time I’d finished eating, I felt like I’d been partying all night long though only a couple of hours had passed. I had not been that level of intoxicated in years. It surprised me because while I knew the drink was on the stronger end, I hadn’t noticed how much I drank. After a few hours of hanging out, it was time for me to head home to meet my son and I was in no shape to do so. I have never been that disappointed in myself in my life. What kind of mother gets drunk knowing that she has to take care of her kid. I’m an organic food-eating, essential-oil-rubbing, God-fearing mom and I expected more of myself than this. Thankfully, my friend was there with me when my son arrived and allowed me to sleep while her and my son played for a while.
I never made that mistake again of drinking too close to the time my son would arrive home. I let myself down and I let him down in that moment but the gravity of that situation didn’t hit me until later this year. After a few nights of hanging out with friends and noticing that I was tossing my Sundays in the trash because I was so terribly hungover, I realized that I was making that same mistake I made in the springtime all over again. The only difference is that I wasn’t drunk — I still was not present and that matters. The thing is that my body is prone to hangovers. I have a terrible digestive system that simply doesn’t process just about anything well so whether I have one vodka soda or 10, I am going to be hungover. It steals the time away from my son that is incredibly precious to me and I am fed up.
For me, drinking when my son was away became a default.
The truth is that many moms, new and seasoned, enjoy drinking as a way to relax after a long day or a long week. For me, drinking when my son was away became a default. If I didn’t have plans that involved cocktails, I started to feel lonely or like I had nothing else to lean on, which is problematic. And, since 2017 was the beginning of the custody arrangement with my ex, it just so happens to be when my bar visits revved up and stopping by the wine section at the market became a priority. I don’t want to be the parent that relies on a glass of wine or cocktail to get her through the evening. This new year, I am giving up drinking to regain my sense of self as a woman, a human, and most importantly, as a mom. Quitting alcohol will be a journey wrought with challenges and many chances to quit. I'm ready to emerge on the other side.
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