Parents, we are hurting our children in the worst possible way. It has nothing to do with gluten-free anything or not slathering the clown makeup sunscreen on our children before heading out into the sun. It has to do with our drinking and the way we allow our kids to perceive just what alcohol means to us as adults.
I'm sure you've joked about it to your friends. You've probably posted a meme on your Facebook page with a comically large glass of wine. You may have even shared a picture via text with your buddies about how many beers you've needed to get through the day or laughed at t-shirts that claim "You're the reason daddy drinks." If you have, you're sending the wrong message to your children.
If you think these posts are all in good fun, then you're being hypocritical. We can't say one thing and then totally mean another because we are probably telling our kids before they get to that responsible age that drinking is not okay. We're probably telling them that drinking lowers inhibitions and impairs their ability to think straight. We're probably telling them just how dangerous alcohol can be especially when they get behind the wheel of a car. These are all good messages, but we lose all credibility when we use our dependency on alcohol to get through the day and then talk about it on social media.
A typical day for a parent on social media includes pictures of coffee, kid stuff for 12-18 hours, then alcohol. Complain about how hard it is, how you never get any sleep, and then repeat.
At some point when our children are on social media they will see our messages about how we deal with a tough day. I'd be embarrassed if my son were to ask if if that's how I really felt about being a dad. Parents who post about how necessary drinking is to our survival as primary caregivers is the wrong message to send. Using alcohol to escape from reality or to deal with stress is incredibly careless of us.
Had a rough day? Grab a bottle of wine! Drink a six pack! You kids and all your shenanigans are the reason why we drink.
Oh and don't worry kids, you'll get here someday. Have a tough math test? Are your parents stressing you out? Faced adversity today? Just drink until you forget.
Never fear kids, alcohol is the answer. Someday, you'll be a parent and understand why it is necessary.
At least that is what our impression of what it takes to be a parent looks like on social media. We love to post about how many glasses of wine will make us forget about the day or how drinking this magic elixir will get us to tomorrow.
It's just a way to unwind after a particularly difficult day dealing with the children. What's the harm in that? I'm not saying that you should give up drinking. That's just crazy talk. That would be like saying play dates should be eliminated.
I like a beer or two from time to time. I just don't go on the internet complaining afterwards about how necessary this dependence on alcohol is to a taxing day with the children. Can we all agree that drinking in excess and posting about drinking on social media is a terrible message for our kids?
Maybe it's just me but I find that griping about being a parent and then drinking to "escape" from all the "hardships" I've faced that day with the kids seems counterproductive.
Go ahead and Google "mom and wine meme" and you'll get 866,000 hits. Mom wine culture is rampant on the internet. A search for "mom wine blog" will get you 4,290,000 hits. I'm not knocking those that enjoy a glass of wine or a beer at the end of the day but drinking to drown your sorrows about being a parent in that comically large wine glass is setting a dangerous precedence.
But it's just funny memes! What's the big deal? Well, as my kids get older and internet searches increase, they are bound to come across these images of adults coping with their hardships with alcohol. We aren't promoting responsible anything, only that the answer to life's problems is to drown them until they can't breathe anymore.
How can we honestly look at our kids in the eye and tell them that drinking their troubles away will not solve anything when we post about it all the time?
Remember that anti-drug commercial when we were kids where the kid screams "I learned it by watching you!"? We are doing it again. Our kids are watching us and emulating our behaviors. Is this the message we want to send?
The next time you reach for the alcohol do what I do and remember all the joy your children have brought you and smile. Here are some alternatives to posting on how hard your life as a parent is:
Go look at baby pictures on the computer or wistfully admire your wedding photos of your pre-kid dad-bod or lack of a muffin top. If you're so inclined, go for a walk or a jog and then drink some water. Do some yoga or sit in a quiet room and rock yourself in a corner. Binge watch some Netflix and post spoilers on Facebook like the rest of us. You could even start your own parenting blog and tell other people what to do! Anything but taking pictures of you drinking and whining about what you had to do today.
The point is, let's stop using alcohol as a reason to cope with having children. And while them getting up every thirty seconds after you've tucked them into bed sucks, no amount of beer or wine is going to get them to go to sleep. For some of you, alcohol may have played a role in getting us here in the first place but it shouldn't be the reason we continue to be parents.