Each weekend my Twitter stream is full of tweets like: “It’s wine time, beeyotches!” “I’m so hungover I think I’m gonna die!” “Who’s got two thumbs and is doing some shots? This guy!” And my favorite, which usually comes as I’m getting ready for bed: “I amm si durnk rit new!!!!” The crazy thing about these tweets is that they aren’t coming from a bunch of college kids… they’re coming from parents! That’s right, seemingly mild mannered moms and dads. It got me thinking – is it appropriate to drink as a parent? Or is that something you should nip in the bud(weiser) once you have a mini-me or two running around?
I hate to come across like a Ned Flanders-esque teetotaler (“Hi-diddly-ho, Neighborino. I noticed you tweeted about imbibing the devil’s libation!”), but I’m afraid I will even though I used to drink myself.
After Maddie passed away drinking got the best of me for a bit until I quit for good. I haven’t had a drop in just under three years (not even at weddings). I like myself this way, especially when it comes to being a Dad. There is something so comforting in knowing that I will always be 100% in control of my wits should there be an emergency and I need to take action to help Annie.
But that’s just me. In no way do I expect everyone to stop drinking once they become parents, but I do expect them to drink responsibly in the presence of their children. That’s because kids watch everything you do, and when you drink in front of them you are modeling for them how an adult should drink.
So what is responsible drinking? In my opinion it is a lot more tame than you might think. It means not getting drunk or even buzzed. It means having one glass of wine or beer, and that’s it. You say two glasses? Okay. I can give you that. But how often are you drinking those two glasses? Every night? If so, do you really want your kids to remember you as drinking every night growing up even if it was only a couple drinks? Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it.
(One caveat… if you are away from your kids and they are in the safe care of someone else, I see no problem with you letting loose and having a drink or four if you want).
I’m not saying that if you drink a few beers in front of your kids a few times it will turn them into alcoholics. Of course not. Alcohol abuse is way more complex than that, and I believe there are a lot of genetic factors at play with problem drinkers (in other words nature and not just nurture). But I do know that how you present your relationship with alcohol to your children will influence their eventual relationship with alcohol, and you want it to be a good one, right?
Drinking responsibly all of the time doesn’t sound like much fun, I know, but parenting isn’t always fun. If you’ve taken on the responsibility of becoming a parent you need to also be responsible enough to set the best example you can for your child. Okaly-dokaly-do, Neighborino?