Modeling healthy drinking behavior for our children
Setting a good example
I was scrolling on Instagram and stopped at a reel of 2 moms on a beach making “adult Capri Suns.” They took a bag of frozen fruit, cut off the top, poured in a half bottle of wine and added a straw. They were laughing and captioned the reel “mom beach hack” and encouraged other mom’s to follow suit. I commented that I’d pass and the mom who made the reel told me that was too bad.
A few months ago I disapproved of a mom saying she needed wine to survive the time change with her children.
Again and again, we are saying that alcohol is the answer to dealing with life.
Possibly life is so bad that alcohol is needed?
The one mom that said she needed wine to survive the time change pointed out to me that none of her friends have problems with alcohol so she thought it was ok to tell a mom that wine is what’s needed to deal with kids during the time change.
What message do moms send to their kids by saying they need wine or alcohol to deal with a day at the beach or for losing an hour sleep for one day out of the year? I don’t know about you, but I feel like I lost more than an hour out of one day in the year when I was a new mom. It was like I lost an hour every other day!
I’m was guilty after a day of momming to say that I needed wine. Looking back, I needed wine to deal with more than just being a mom. I had way too much on my plate and I didn’t want to confront it.
When my daughter was 4, she knew mom drank wine and dad drank beer. Now, she knows mom drinks mocktails and sometimes has a glass of wine. She’d now surprised when I’m not drinking a mocktail. And I’m proud to say that the other night at a family dinner she told everyone that because they were drinking alcohol that they shouldn’t drive a car - way to go child of mine!!!
But, what does reaching for a bottle of alcohol tell our children? I’d say, it tells our children that instead of solving a problem and dealing with the hard stuff, we reach for something that masks our pain. We decide to drink alcohol because it’s something that “makes us look cool.” Or, it’s something that makes us feel buzzed so we don’t have to feel pain, we feel good…temporarily.
What does it look like if children are around a parent who has a drinking problem? You can Google this, you can read studies and you can point fingers, but I’ll let you know about my first hand experience. I never saw myself as an alcoholic. That word was not something I chose to use to define me. I didn’t want to go to meetings and I didn’t want to never have alcohol again, you can read more about my journey on my last blog post. But, what I knew is that I had a problem with alcohol. I was that party girl in college. After college, my party night turned into day drinking. My friends were drinkers. When I’d go out on a date, it would focus on drinking. I didn’t have the responsibilities of being a mom or wife then. Into my 30’s I had both the drinking boyfriends, but I also had the non drinker and light drinker. For the first few dates with the non drinkers, it was a little strange for me. I’d have one glass of wine and then feel that I was stupid talking (because I was buzzed and they weren’t). I even went to Vegas with the non drinker and actually had a lot of fun. But, I guess I didn’t like the non drinkers because I gravitated to the guy who I’d go out drinking with. I remember our first date and even now wonder who drove home and how we made it. We missed a baseball game, because we were drinking. We missed out on a lot of life because we were drinking. The days turned into years and our problems seemed to get worse - so did our drinking of alcohol. We didn’t talk about it, mostly because my ex husband refused to ever open up about his feelings. He was incapable of doing that, unless I purposely got him drunk, which I had to do a few times JUST so he’d talk to me.
Many decisions in life bring us to where we are today. But, today, I am happy to say that I am the non drinker. I made a lot of bad decisions because of alcohol, but I made the good decision to change my behavior.
I’ve had a very challenging last 3 years. If it was the 25 or 35 year old me, I would have turned back into that party girl in college or turned to the guy to go drinking with.
I’m a mom now. And, I’m an old lady now lol! Seriously tho, I didn’t want to hide behind alcohol. I had to face my fears and confront my emotions. I had to be fully present for my daughter because my life was on shaky grounds. If I dumped crap (alcohol) into my body, it would cause me to be anxious, angry, and more emotional than I currently was. I had to show up for myself and for my child.
I proved to myself that even on my darkest days, I did not turn to alcohol. (It makes me cry when I write those words.). I think I grieve for the person I was and I’m sad that I had to go through a lot of sh$t to finally come out a much better person. I’m happy to know that my daughter sees me for me. Not someone who is hiding behind how she feels, someone who feels all the feels and doesn’t live a “medicated” life, someone who is much happier, someone who is much healthier, someone who stands up for her self, and someone who is healing through the parts of life that aren’t always easy.
I am by no means perfect. But, I am better.
Alcohol is not needed to cover up my problems anymore. I didn’t need to dull the pain because I have to feel all parts of the pain. The pain that I’ve felt these last 3 years has been intense. I’ve cried more tears than I ever have and there have been days when all I can accomplish is getting dressed. It has not been easy to not reach for alcohol, especially since that was how I coped in the past.
I dip into the past and think how my life would have been if I would have continued to drink alcohol the way I did before I decided to stop. My mental health was not the best. I don’t want to think about what could have happened. If you know you need to stop having a relationship with alcohol, the easiest thing to do is to dump it down the drain. If you aren’t ready for that, then pack it up in box, put it in your garage and tape the box like it’s going on a boat to China. That’s what I did. I thought, if this is in my house where I can see it, I’ll drink it. Your children deserve you and deserve the better vision of their parent.