Let’s talk booze.
In today’s world, drinking is well and truly ingrained in mum culture. For our parents’ generation it was more about half a shandy down the pub on a Friday night or a sly brandy on a Saturday. Now it’s a daily occurrence, a necessity. Our weapon of choice.
Wine O’clock, Gin Time – slogans spread across greeting cards, Instagram feeds and Facebook statuses. You’ve had a dreadful day balancing the kids, work, life – go have a bowl full of gin, you deserve it. Chin-chin.
Alas I am part of the tribe. My own particular danger zone is 5-7pm. Sometimes starting at 4. Post pick up. Dishing up the kids’ dinner while simultaneously pouring myself a glass of vino. You boys go play, mummy’s having a moment. Sneaking in a little tipple to see me through homework, bath and bed. But what is this showing my kids? My 8 year old mistook my gin lemon for an innocent lemonade recently and took a huge gulp – he gave me a confused look. The shame.
I don’t think I have a problem with alcohol, but I do accept that I often hover slightly over the ‘healthy’ boundary. Over the past months I’ve also noticed that I now experience more blackouts and not necessarily after a night on the cocktails and shots. A few glasses of wine and hey presto it’s the next morning and I’m not quite sure about what was said and when I took myself off to bed. Is this a sign of age? Or that maybe I’m edging towards a more irresponsible relationship with the red stuff? Either way it’s a tad scary.
Away from the instamum scene there does seem to be a bit of a backlash against drinking. The younger millennials have a more take or leave it attitude to booze, favouring a kale smoothie. Meanwhile the news is awash with alcohol-shaming headlines. No amount is good for you apparently. Not even a smidgen of red wine. A dribble. How depressing.
Intrigued by those who have ditched the drink for good – no longer the stereotypical alcoholics but rather professional women, mums like me – I downloaded The Sober Diaries and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. The authors had a heavier dependency yes, but there were so many parts I could relate to. The self medicating, the snappy mum syndrome, the unhealthy eating cycle. One of them had lived on the same street as me and worked in advertising – we chatted over Instagram like old friends. It was like we’d lived parallel lives.
Both women talk about how being sober has a social stigma attached to it. You don’t drink so you must be mind-numbingly boring. But both admit they can still have fun at a party, dance, act the fool but even better now they don’t wake up the next morning wondering what the hell they did, if they said anything offensive and can go straight out for a 5k run. Like Bambi. Sounds appealing no?
So coming back after a VERY boozy French holiday I have decided to put a lens on my drinking habits and try to shake them up a bit. Small steps and all. I’m not sure I’m ready to go the whole way – forever feels so final. No more champagne to toast the bride, no more red wine flowing at book club, no more holiday midday G&Ts. Hard to imagine. But I am trying to sabotage my danger zone. Cup of tea and a biccie at 5. Take that wine craving! (Though I’m not sure lighting a candle like one colleague suggested will have quite the desired affect).
It’s definitely making me sprightlier. I’ve more energy to attack the day and deal with my crazy trio. Laughably this is 10 days in, not 10 months! Maybe though it’s about no drinking at home, no night-time in front of Love Island rose, but limiting it to social occasions. Or does that simply mean I’ll get over excited and drink myself into oblivion when let out. Is there such thing as healthy balance?
It’s making tea sexy maybe. Bad day with the kids? Tea O’Clock anyone?
Hmmmm…work in progress.