This may be an unpopular post. It may be a judgmental post but it’s coming from a place of concern about tweets I constantly see all over Twitter. Let me preface by saying I follow a lot of Brits. I have spent a great deal of time in the UK, have loved many UK men and have worked and continue to work with UK clients. So, I know the UK and its difference from the US. That said….
I am becoming more and more, well, concerned and frankly appalled by all the posts from mothers about drinking. Listen, I have very occasionally had a drink or two in the early evening and I am not a teetotaler. In fact, at one point in my late 20′s I was concerned I might have a drinking problem. I didn’t – I just took myself out of the situations here I found myself drinking too much. I don’t like hard liquor or beer, but I do like a nice wine or champagne. I have been in Al-Anon for years so I have had issues in my life with people who are addicts and that includes alcoholics. All this means I have loved and do love people who enjoy a drink or two. Still.
I know tweets like “It’s Pimms O’Clock” and “I want a gin and tonic” are to be taken with both a sense of humor, an understanding of Brit culture and knowledge that’s it’s usually (hopefully) drunk after the kids are in bed. My mother had a glass of sherry every day while making dinner. We had a neighbor who counted so heavily on that drink at 4pm that she realized she had a problem. That doesn’t mean everyone does.
There are people I follow or who are retweeted in my timeline who are constantly drunk, constantly discussing how drunk they are, how hungover they are and worryingly, these people have kids. Now, I’m not there so I’m not witnessing everything but I’m rather frightened at this. Many people are functioning alcoholics and can get through life drinking loads (until their liver gives out or they die from alcohol poisoning) without being a fall down drunk living in the gutter. Read the AA Big Book. Many of those who started AA were these kind of drinkers. Some people can’t drink like this and they’re wasting their lives. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that people who drink constantly and then pick their kids up from school or are with them on the weekend while drinking all day, or whatever, are affecting their kids lives by being more focused on the alcohol than them, or less focused on the kids than the alcohol. I know when I have a drink, and I’ve become a bit of a lightweight, but if I’ve drunk, I am fuzzy and maybe more fun, but not really present and not as a mother should be. And more so, I get sleepy. So maybe goofy, sleepy and not really paying attention. Not the kind of mom I want to be (except the goofy bit).
I am not in any way saying do not drink. Drinking is a culture in the UK and the US. Pubs after work, on the weekend, etc… but when you become a Mom or Dad and even if you aren’t a parent, don’t fool yourself into believing that being drunk a lot of the time or needing to drink is not a problem. You cannot blame it on culture. There is a time to be responsible for your health and those who depend on you. Those I know who are the most messed up had parents who were alcoholics and it didn’t mean they weren’t the President of a large corporation or the town doctor. It affected their family.
There is a very funny book called “Mommies Who Drink” which I was given while pregnant. I get and feel it myself – the need for a drink after/while dealing with children. It’s frustrating and exhausting but having them means putting them first and perhaps curtailing your desire for another part of your life. That includes bringing men or women into their lives who drink or do drugs. I am just scared by some of these tweets. Maybe they’re jokes, but I don’t think so. Anatomically and chemically, Brits (and I am singling out Brits only because most of the disturbing tweets come from them) are no different from anyone else in the world so it’s not that they can endure more alcohol than anyone else, it’s just accepted more. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy or wise.
I feel like a preacher on a soapbox and I am sorry for that. But this has been going on for a while and after seeing several tweets in the past couple of weeks from Mums who state they are completely blotto or who wake up with hangovers every day, etc.. I have to worry. And your life is none of my business but I am a human who cares and who worries about kids who possibly aren’t getting what they need from the people who they desperately need to get it from – their mostly sober parents. I’m stepping down now and sorry if I’ve offended anyone but honestly, I don’t need to point out the ones who have a problem and not just a drink here and there. You know who you are. And I say that with all the love and support in the world.