It's a running joke in the parenting world that moms can't wait for wine o'clock every night. And, like most stereotypes, it works because it has some truth to it. Parenting little people all day, dealing with work, a home, family, social obligations, and your busy life can really take a toll on you. And wine is there for us when the kid dumps out the kitty litter, when they use the toilet water to bathe their Barbies, and when they just won't stop crying. I mean, hello. Wine and whine sound exactly the same. But there's one question to ask if you're a mom that loves wine, and it's a biggie:
Does it change you as a parent?
The TODAY Parenting Team is celebrating their one year anniversary today and shared a post that suggests it might be time for parents to look at their relationship with alcohol.
I know — how come parents are always being judged for something? But this article isn't about judging a parent or suggesting that they have a problem with alcohol. It's more of a self-awareness movement. One that makes you look at your choices, at your relationship with alcohol, and how it affects your kids and your parenting.
Because for many, drinking is a take-it or leave-it hobby. Some moms have a glass of wine in the evenings to help them wind down, to detach from the pressure of being on all day for your kids and mark the onset of your time alone. Like the first cook-out of the summer or the first present wrapped in winter — it marks the beginning of the very deserved part of the day reserved for who you are apart from your kids.
Their kids see these moms enjoying a glass of wine and know that it's an adult drink, just like their chocolate milk is a kid drink. These are the moms who don't rely on wine to get through the day, but see it as a treat, a way to relax after be constantly on basically since dawn. And when they finish a glass, they pack the school lunches and cruise Instagram and update their resumes and go to bed, ready to tackle the next day.
But are you that person? Or do you feel owned by that same glass of wine? Does the glass that your neighbor could take or leave control you and ultimatey affect not just who you are but also who you are for your kids?
Maybe you're snappy with your kids in the morning because you drank too much the night before. You've overheard your kid say to their friend, "My mommy drinks wine every single day!" You find yourself irritated at 3 p.m. because it's not yet 5 and you can't justify a glass of wine. You don't just settle for one glass to wind down. Rather, you need to feel buzzed or drunk, and you end up falling asleep on the couch with an empty bottle next to you.
Both moms are wine drinkers. Both share the same silly Facebook posts about needing a wine glass that looks like a Starbuck's cup. Both wrote "LIFE CHANGER" when they shared an article about Target adding wine bars into their stores. Both moms agree that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse would be so much more enjoyable if they could have a glass of wine while watching it, and they both share GIFs of celebrities chugging wine with a "live footage of me once my kid's asleep" caption.
I know those social media posts, because I am that mom. I've posted Instagram pictures of my wine on a Tuesday night with the caption "tomorrow will be better." And I've texted my friends, asking only half-facetiously if it's OK to drink wine at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday because my kid woke up at 5 a.m. I do it because I'm a mom, and I'm exhausted, and parenting is as hard as any other job, and I'm allowed a happy hour too, thankyouverymuch. So I've asked myself seriously if I lean on wine too much, and my honest answer is no. How can I be confident in that? It's definitely not because I'm a paragon of self-control or in any way better than anyone else. It's mostly because I see that indulging in a glass or two doesn't affect the way I parent. I don't put my daughter down early for bed so I can drink, and I enjoy my time with her without counting down the minutes until it's time to uncork a bottle.
I can see, though, how easily enjoyment could turn into dependency. I could see justifying to myself why I deserved a drink, even if I'd already had three. That's why I try to keep an eye on where I am on the spectrum. I know that if I found that I was routinely counting down the time with my kids until I could have that glass of wine — and then more — I would officially be in unhealthy territory.
So where are you on that spectrum? Does your kid call your glass of wine "mommy juice" because you now have a few glasses every night as they take a bath? Or do you savor a glass after three rounds of reading Where the Wild Things Are and call it a night? Are your social media posts about your dependency on wine a joke, or is there some serious truth to the statements?
I'm not suggesting you don't deserve wine as an indulgence, or that your kids should never see you drink. But for any of us, myself included, it seems like a good gut check: If your relationship with wine affects your relationship with your kids, it might be time to scale back, not just for them but for you.