How many times have you heard your mom friends say, “Today is a two-bottles-of-wine kind of day.” Or in the middle of a busy, chaotic playdate exasperatedly announce, “Who brought the wine? I’m losing my mind!”
I’ve been guilty of such phrases. I remember one time when my daughter was a year and a half old, I was having a particularly rough day. My husband called on his lunch break to check on me, and I told him that I don’t know what I needed but bring home some wine. His response? “I would be more than happy to, but you don’t drink wine. I wouldn’t even know what to get.”
That really got me thinking about what I had just said. Why did I feel like I was so overwhelmed that the only thing that could help the situation was a glass of wine? Yes, wine is a relaxer. I also understand many people enjoy a glass of wine for its taste and to unwind from the day. Let me just clarify, I find absolutely nothing wrong with that.
My issue was I just stated in front of my very impressionable daughter that I felt like the only way to be a better mother to her was to drink alcohol.
When did it become culturally okay to use alcohol as a joke to excuse our bad parenting days? What are we telling our next generation when they hear the only way to deal with the tough times is to drink our “mommy juice”?
I decided right then and there that, along with many other words and phrases, this was going to my filter list. I did not want to instill in my daughter that when the going gets tough, crack open a bottle of vino, and all your troubles will melt away. I didn’t want her to EVER think that as her mom she was driving me to drink. I don’t want the start of her self-worth to be rooted in the fact that I can’t handle her, so I need a drink to escape.
Instead, I want her to see my bad days, and I want to own them. I want to show her healthy ways of coping with tough situations, all while teaching her how to thrive in the moment, good or bad. As she grows up, I don’t want my thoughtless words to negatively impact her view of life and stress. If I start showing her now that there are appropriate ways to handle failures, emotions, and frustrations, then hopefully when the time comes for her to make those decisions on her own she won’t turn to alcohol.
In the next 10 years, my daughter is going to face situations that are a thousand times harder than I ever had to face. With rampant bullying and pressure from social media who knows what the world will look like for her. There will be so many things that I can’t control, but I can influence her with my words, actions, and reactions. So starting at home, I will show her how to embrace struggles with self-confidence and grace, and that everything I need to be a great mom is already in me.