I do not drink alcohol when I am pregnant or breastfeeding.  Now, keep in mind that I have been trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding since 2003, with only a few months off here or there.  It seems that as soon as I regain custody of my tatas from one child, I relinquish rights to my womb to another.

What all this means is that – when I finally do wean Lilah – I am going to be a mighty cheap date.

I miss drinking.  I do.  Not in the I-need-a-drink-before-I-begin-ripping-of-my-fingernails-and-howling-at-the-moon kind of way.  More in the wouldn’t-a-glass-of-wine-every-now-and-then-be-lovely kind of way.  I was just never that heavy a drinker before, although I had my mid-twenties like everyone else.  By the time I was trying to get pregnant, I was largely over hard liquor.  I just didn’t need that nasty, bile-filled kind of feeling in my belly.

Beer?  I am just going to say it, even though it means Anheuser-Busch will probably pull my sponsorship.  Beer tastes disgusting.  I cannot believe anyone likes it.  I am to this day convinced it is an Emperor-has-new-clothes type of phenomenon, with people just faking a desire to drink that swill in order to impress others, who in turn are afraid to admit their uncool antipathy towards sharp, carbonated liquid that smells like piss.

But I like wine. Red wine, to be precise.  Shiraz.  Merlot.  Brunello.  I am no sommelier (that’s, like, a wine expert), but I know what I like.  Remember that my father did write the definitive book on building one’s own wine cellar.  I may think he’s an ass, but I obviously inherited something from him other than the dashing good looks and the propensity to over-think things.

When Lilah weans, I will clean out those dusty glasses that hang out on the top shelf of my cabinet and sometimes pour myself a small glass of wine while I make dinner.  Actually, it will be a big glass because I like the way the large glasses breathe, but there won’t be much wine in it.  I am taking care of three kids.  I am cooking.  I’m not an idiot.  But, I don’t think a few sips of wine when I am not driving anywhere will hurt anyone.

Nor do I think an occasional glass of wine at dinner sets a bad example.  To the contrary – I worry that my kids don’t get enough of an example of a responsible way to handle alcohol.  I am relieved my father-in-law does sometimes have a drink around the kids, so they can see that adults have a first glass now and then without needing to have a second glass.

Everything in moderation, folks.  Everything in moderation.  Show your kids that alcohol can be used responsibly – I’m all for that.  Enjoy an adult beverage, because, shit, you’re an adult.

Should you get behind the wheel of a car after drinking?  Hell, no.  We make a show of one adult asking the other, “Will you drive home?” before even ordering a drink.  Should you get sloshed in front of your kids?  Absolutely not, and if you are, then I think perhaps seeking some help is in order.  In fact, I sort of think that getting piss drunk and waking up with someone else’s panties on ought to be behavior reserved for weekends away from the children.  A drunk adult would be useless during a middle-of-the-night fire, and parents have to think about the safety of their kids.

I am thrilled that the blogosphere has given those who need it a safe place to admit they need help.  I am also angry that the Mommy Bloggers are being attacked for writing about drinking.  There is no shame in wanting a drink now and again.  There is nothing wrong with referencing alcohol in one’s writing as a way of bemoaning the stress of parenting and the wish that perhaps we were young and hip again.  Because we’re not.  We’re old farts with little screaming people to take care of.  And sometimes, we’re allowed to go out with our girlfriends for a drink.

Or, in my case, a quarter of a drink, since any more than that and I’m likely to start swinging from the light fixtures.

19 responses to “Tipsy

  1. I’m not a drinker- I agree about beer, and while I tried very hard to warm up to wine, unless it’s Manischevitz sweet, I want nothing to do with it. Otherwise, I find all varieties of alcohol dehydrating. That, and after about half a glass I’m ready to fall asleep.

    But adults who do and can drink responsibly, and not fall asleep halfway through dinner? Sure.

  2. the image of you swinging from the light fixture is too fun

  3. I am so glad you wrote this post! The family I married into does not drink, essentially because of a long line of alcoholism. I come from a similar line, but I’ve learned about moderation and responsibility and witnessed first-hand the dangers of excess and addiction. So I drink, socially and minimally…I too am a cheap date 😉 I worry about my step-kids. They never see anyone drink, responsibly or otherwise (including me), and I think they’re growing up with a screwed view of the world. They’re 10 and 8 and already view alcohol as this really bad thing. They will be ripe for the teen propensity of tasting forbidden fruit. I worry that they will not have the knowledge that there is a road of moderation and responsibility and that it is possible to face your demons head-on instead of running from them. Their father looks at me blankly when I raise this issue with him.

  4. h & i have a glass of (non-kosher) wine on friday nights to celebrate shabbat. it works out in the moderation department and makes the meal festive as intended.

  5. A few things:

    1. I completely agree with you about beer. Thank you so much for coming out and saying it.

    2. I don’t drink while I’m pregnant. I did have the occasional glass of wine while nursing my 1st child, but once she was a toddler and was only nursing a couple of times a day so I could plan around it.

    3. I think it’s fine for mothers to drink, responsibly, and really nobody else’s business. I think the judgment is a bit much, and just speaks to the way we become public property once that first pregnancy test shows up positive.

    4. It doesn’t seem like much of a coincidence that as soon as you’re able to drink again, you become pregnant. That’s the hazard of drinking I’m really afraid of anyway – it often leads to babies.

  6. I never thought of setting a good example for your children by having only one glass and not a second. That’s a good idea! I, too, only need a small glass of wine. 27 months of first trying to get pregnant and then being pregnant made half a glass of wine enough for me! I do have an occaisional glass of wine even though I am nursing. Apparently you can have up to two glasses within a two hour period.

  7. I hardly ever drink. I’ve probably had about 6 glasses of wine per year over the past 15 years. All of those glasses of wine were while we were trying to conceive, pregnant or while nursing — since I have been constantly pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or nursing since March 2001.

    I’ve no shame or regrets.

  8. I am a useless drunk and menace to society who sloppily expects my kids to fend for themselves because I really should just go back to work which will solve everything.

    Or am I?

  9. I was raised in a non-drinking family – a Drink is Evil sort of non-drinking family so when I out-grew my religious background I had to work out for myself that drinking isn’t a black and white (all alcohol=bad) sort of thing any more than the rest of the world. I think the way we Americans approach drinking is irresponsible to put it lightly – demonize drinking while glamorize it, put it off limits until someone is 21 (yet let them go to war three years earlier), and THEN suddenly point in amazement when said person doesn’t have a reasonable approach to drinking. Silliness. My kids have seen wine on the table once or twice a week from the time they were small. They have been given tiny sips when they asked to demystify it. The older ones are allowed a minuscule glass now and then for the same reason. So far not one of them has had any interest in getting smashed. I have no doubt they will crash and burn in other ways – it’s part of life – but at least they will not do as too many of their friends have and take their own lives and others in their hands.

    Now awaiting flaming for corruption of youth…

  10. Erm… having read over that comment may I say I have not drunk anything today, nor yesterday, nor the day before. It’s just that I type faster than I think and my grammar is notoriously horrific. Honest.

  11. @Megan: Thank god, the voice of reason!

  12. I have a love of red wine. Not that I drink much of it. More like a glass. Really, I talk about it much more than I drink it. However, red wine is my drink of choice. I see nothing wrong with it. Not even the drinking in front of kids. My children see us drinking, but it’s all in moderation.

    I find this whole conversation interesting. Someone and sadly, I am not remembering who, said that this wouldn’t be an issue, if we weren’t mothers. That somehow if Stefanie was just a woman joking/talking about drinking, it wouldn’t have gone this far.

    As mothers, we are supposed to I guess give up everything for our children and never complain about it or them. Ever. Is a very weird concept.

  13. YES! And I have started having a glass of wine with dinner as often as possible. I have decided I need to make this a habit. It is good for your heart too. More than one glass, and I am disabled, however. So, one for me, thanks, unless it is girls’ night, then I am all about the margaritas.

  14. how come I can drink and no one gives me shit? is it because I am barren? harumph

  15. I’m with ya. I’m not much of a drinker myself, but I will sometimes get something when we go out or get something for home. And my husband hates all alcohol, so I always have a designated driver handy! 🙂

  16. Try wheat beer sometime — with an orange slice. It’s absolutely divine. And I’m really not much of a drinker at all.

  17. I can’t get in on that debate. I don’t drink one reason being I really don’t like the taste of any of it

  18. Well, I drink most days, because I love red wine, and I love to cook. Great meals need some red wine.

    Do I get drunk? Hell, no. You can’t have a hangover with a child unless you’re insane. Do I drive after drinking even one glass? Hell, no. We have a couple drinks in front of our son all the time, and we don’t make a big deal out of it. Think of the Italians and the French and how it is a part of the meal and not a way to get blasted.

    I’ve got a lot of alcoholics in my family, so I’ve seen the damage up close and personal, but they’re alcoholics who can’t stop drinking when they start.

    Big difference here, and I think those mommy bloggers who have a problem with people talking about alcohol on their blogs have a problem with just about everything and wouldn’t know a joke if it punched them in their judgmental faces.

  19. I love a glass of wine (and sometimes two) in the evenings and, as hard as I work providing for and loving my son, I will gladly take on anyone who suggests that I shouldn’t enjoy it. I AM an adult and a mother and I’m a damn good mother at that.

    Which is to say, I totally agree with you.