1.26.2007

There are a surprising number of people talking about a subject that came up on the Today Show recently. They did a piece about drinking, mom's and whether or not it's a good idea to do it with your children present.

For me, this is a clear cut issue. It is not okay to drink around you children. As parents we are responsible for showing our children acceptable ways to communicate, deal with anger and stress and basically everything else it takes to be a grown-up. Just like you wouldn't smack someone around in front of your children and then say, "Don't hit.", you shouldn't drink in front of your children and then say , "Don't drink."

The host and the psychologist on the Today Show piece are being called to the mat over some of the issues they raised, in particular the difference between "social drinking" and "problem drinking" and comparing drinking at playdates with a babysitter who drinks. I come down on both sides of the fence here.

First, the difference between "problem" and "social" drinking is extremely thin. It can go from being one, to being the other very quickly. And who decides? Also, it leaves out the fact that people are using the alcohol to "relax" from what they feel has been a long a trying day of doing what women have been doing for centuries, taking care of their children. As crass as it sounds, and I know it sounds crass, if you have to drink to "unwind" because of your children? Maybe you shouldn't have children.

I get stressed out. I roll my eyes at the things my children do. Sometimes I sit in the bathtub and day dream about the jet-set lifestyle I could have "if only..." Yet somehow the idea of getting together with Jane and Mary from down the street to have a glass of wine and let the kids play has never popped into my head. Alcohol has become pervasive and still people wonder why more and more teenagers are becoming addicted.

On the second point: Mothers are not babysitters. While I can appreciate the point that was trying to be made, it was an altogether bad analogy. You pay a babysitter to do a specific job. The issue wouldn't be them having A drink while watching the kids, it would be them drinking on the JOB. As far as I know, unless you're three martini lunching it in a VERY expensive suit, this is never okay. The girl behind the cash register can't slip out at lunch have a couple of glasses of wine and not get in trouble for it, and THAT job is considerably more stressful than watching a two year old. A better way to make the point might have been to ask, " If you came home and your husband had his buddies over and they were drinking beer while watching the children, would THAT be okay?" This is a level playing field. It's a comparison between the parents and the behavior that is expected.

It all comes down to just one thing in the end, personal choice. I make decisions every day that I'm sure would make other mother's shudder. I made a personal choice not to allow alcohol around my children. That was my decision. Other parent's make different choices. I may not agree, but as long as the children aren't being endangered, I'm not going to cry foul on them either.

It's a topic that should be discussed, but not something these mom's should be called to the mat for.

2 comments:

Paula said...

I like this post. Every family is different and a good choice for one might very well be a bad choice for another. For me, it's okay to have a drink in front of my kids, as long as I'm not going to be driving. For other moms, that might be a bad idea. As you say, if the kids are okay, then maybe we can admit there's more than one way to do things.

viciousrumours said...

It is always about the children. The minute people lose sight of that is when things get scary. Drinking is something adults in this country are given the right to do, and have every right to excercise that right. Doing it in a responsible manner and teaching your kids to do the same is far more important than telling Suzie Q down the street that she's doing it all wrong.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the comment!