First off; she looked awesome with the great hair and her Superhero necklace. I thought it was crap, the way they brought up the whole babysitter thing like that would make her suddenly stand up and say, "OH you’re right. . . it’s the Same Thing as me having a glass of wine while my kid is with me! How silly I’ve been!"
Because, really, I think that people are overreacting to this. Not even an hour ago, I was standing outside Soph’s kindergarten classroom with two moms from the class. We started discussing drinking around our kids (not because of the show, but just through an odd coincidence) and they cracked me up by saying things like, "My son loves to have a highball with me! Course, his is mostly juice, but he knows about cocktail hour." (something like that. . . if you are reading and you’re the one who said it, which, I don’t think you read my blog, but, uh, if you DO, that’s vaguely how I remember it.)
They really skewed things during the interview by trying to make it look like the whole point of the gathering was to drink. That it is the centerpiece of the group playtime. I’ve met Melissa, though I’m not lucky enough to have been over for a playdate, but I think that’s sensationalizing it and misrepresenting what that glass of wine means.
I think that glass of wine is just a way for mothers to bond. To admit, without fearing judgement, that this gig is tough and sometimes we need more than "good communication skills" to reset our outlook. From my own perspective, I can say that sometimes I’ll start cooking supper so PISSED at everyone here (because I’ve gotten all wrapped up in the stupid stuff of the day and let it overtake my rational mind) that I think I should just get in the filthy minivan and go far away. And, then while the olive oil gets hot or the butter melts in the pan, I’ll open a beer and before I’m done cooking I think my kids are cute and funny again. Drinking a beer relaxes me and makes me a better person to be around. I’m not saying that I am better with alcohol. I’m saying that taking care of my kids all day can get me so totally spun that I need something to help me relax. It isn’t always alcohol, either. **
The moms I was talking with today seemed to agree with me when I said that I think it’s a good way to model healthy, responsible drinking for your kids. To let them see that having A glass of wine while you relax is fine. Whereas hiding the fact that you’re having a drink makes it more of a "thing."
Nobody thinks it’s okay to get wasted in the middle of the day and drive around with the kids in the car. But there is a difference between that and a single glass of wine. I worry more about my alertness and awareness driving home after having a massage than I would about driving after a glass of wine. Or, like today, my lack of sleep last night: it’s turned my brain to mush and the sudafed and claritin on top of that have me all weirded out.
I wish that the focus would have been more about what Melissa was saying, and the author they interviewed in the piece before said: This is just another way to judge how women parent. Because I think that no one has ever made such a stink over a dad having a beer in the backyard while he barbecues and watches over his kids. Or having a beer during an afternoon game with the kids present. But, you know, mothers are held to
higher impossible standards, and if we say it’s okay for them to have a glass of wine around the kids, we might as well say that they can chug tequila on the way to after-school pickup. It’s not "perfect" for a mom to have a glass of wine around the kids: it implies that motherhood isn’t all sunshine and roses, that her kids are making her a little tense and in need of relaxation. It seems to me that whenever women start to speak about the stress of being the mom and how hard it is and that it is often less, uh, fulfilling than they’d like, they are attacked. Attacked by people who have bad feelings toward their own mother but are way too terrified to examine them; attacked by mothers who fear "failure" so badly they have to pounce on anything that looks "bad." I think the people who are okay with moms at playdates having a drink are the ones who have their feet on the ground and see it for what it is — no big deal.
Anyway, I think Melissa was really brave to get up there and do what she did. If it were me, I’d have walked maybe halfway on stage before barfing all over my shoes. And then everyone would have been all, "See? She’s drunk right now and it’s barely light out!"
**On a reread, that sounds like I’m a pothead or something. I was thinking about tea, blog reading, sex, a good novel — other ways to relax.