Yesterday morning started with my three-year-old throwing herself on the floor, shrieking manically. I ran into her bedroom. It appeared she was having convulsions. Had she broken a bone? Was she hemorrhaging from the head? When I asked her what was wrong she informed me, through a series of ear piercing screams, that her underwear were “too shaky”. The screaming and convulsions continued for over twenty minutes, making us late for camp. All because of the shaky underwears.
I still don’t know what that means, but I do know that’s when I had the first of many fantasies about my nightly glass of wine.
The clock strikes six thirty P.M. and I experience a Pavlovian response to the Wheel of Fortune theme song. It’s been a long day filled with shaky underwear and I finally get to clock out. Day after day my husband comes home to the same scene – fat pants, a glass of wine, Wheel of Fortune. Maybe sometimes it’s Golden Girls. I’m sure his evening commute is filled with reflecting upon what a lucky man he is.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Is a glass of wine the most healthy choice to wind down at the end of the day? The answer is yes.
I’ve done quite a bit of field research on alternative coping mechanisms for stress. One article suggested that when I hit my limit and feel like yelling at my kids I should sing what I was going to yell in the form of a show tune. Let me tell you how effective it was when I chased them around the house singing, “Who peed all over the goddamn bathroom” to the tune of Old Man River. We took a family vote and everyone prefers the wine.
And I know for a fact I am not alone. Every night as the dinner dishes are cleared and moms across the country scrape a mound of untouched food into the garbage, parents everywhere relax with a cocktail and a nice fresh Matlock rerun. We release a collective sigh, and if we’re lucky, find a nugget of humor in the never ending parenting struggle that we just survived.
Sometimes my blog posts are nothing more than a mic tap:
*Clears throat* Hello? Is there anybody out there? Can we please laugh about how hard this is so I don’t feel like I’m drowning alone?
Last month I attended a blog conference, and watched this video in a presentation by Responsibility.org, an organization that promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage control. We were charged to evaluate the effect of sharing alcohol-related parenting jokes on social media, specifically how these jokes affect our kids. Are they appropriate? Does a funny meme about alcohol somehow set off a snowball effect that ends with our children shooting up in the bathtub with a gang of out of work clowns?
Clearly, as a writer who spends a good chunk of her day on social media, makes a living out of believing nothing is off limits when it comes to making fun of stuff and a lover of her nightly glass of wine, my reaction was obvious. YES. EVERYTHING SHOULD BE TOTALLY SERIOUS. In fact, let’s start a new movement of the saddest little memes you ever did see and express what everyone is really feeling as they pour themselves a glass of wine at the end of the day, then drink it legally and responsibly in their own home because this is NOT funny.
Actually, let me back up for a moment. We’re letting kids on our Facebook pages now? I’m already Facebook friends with my Father-In-Law, limiting my ability to post any vagazzle selfies or discuss my fetish for colonial wigs. If I had to start censoring for a G-rating I would implode. I’ve got certain bad things inside me, deep down there in the darkness that I have to get out. Everyone knows the best place for that is on Facebook.
Despite my propensity to air my vulgar laundry on social media, I do always try to lead by example IRL. And I have come to the conclusion that, fast forward ten years, if my husband and I come home unexpectedly from a weekend away to find my kids curled up on the couch in their fat pants, drinking a glass of wine and binge watching This Old House while a pot of chili simmers on the stove, well, let’s just say that worse things could happen.
We all need to talk to our kids about the dangers of alcohol. They’re going to see it on TV, they’re going to hear about it on the radio, and they’re going to see it on social media (though not mine or it’s going to come with a big vagazzle up in herr). Preparing them for adolescence and the pressures that come with that are far more complex than a joke they once saw on social media about a Mom drinking a glass of wine.
Obviously, I want my kids to grow up happy and healthy. An important part of that is the ability to find humor and community in a struggle. Model the behavior we want them to grow into. And my actions send a very powerful message to them every night as I relax with a glass of wine on the couch watching Happy Days.
Everyone who drinks alcohol immediately turns into 82-year-old man.
This piece was written as a submission into a contest hosted by Responsibility.org. I am in no way being compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.