This morning I logged into my email and was aghast to find an email from the producer of The Gayle King Show. She wanted to know if I would be interested in being interviewed for a segment on tomorrow’s show about moms who drink wine or smoke marijuana to relax.
That was pretty much my reaction.
Then I started to breathe again.
Up front I just want to say that I don’t smoke pot. Now. I have though, in the past. Not since becoming a mom, but I can understand why some moms do.
I do drink alcohol. But not to excess anymore, and have written about it, which is why I got the email.
Alas, after about an hour she reported back to me that they had found an in-studio guest so I would not be needed. But dang, that was exciting even if only for a few minutes. I was going to be on national television!
Even so, the topic is intriguing to me and before my interview was squashed, I had already begun to think about what I would say.
Mothering is stressful and yet, our society and/or the people in our lives don’t often acknowledge the real and often high stressors of being a mother, stay-at-home or otherwise. Additionally, we live in a society that approves of people using alcohol to relax, so why are moms given a double standard? So, it’s okay to use booze to chill out or have a good time before you’re a mom, but once you become a mom and encounter the most stressful time of your life, it’s not okay?
This the article that sparked (pun intended) the idea for the segment on the show.
Apparently pot smoking moms are on the upswing in New York. However, I’d say that for the most part, it’s more likely that moms are drinking alcohol than lighting up joints every night.
I know lots of moms who have no qualms mentioning that they had a few drinks the night before. The use of alcohol to unwind is discussed in mom circles almost as casually these days, as it might have been back in our college days.
We Need Something to Help Us Unwind From a Stressful Job
Moms are still people. We, as a society, condone the use of alcohol to unwind, for most adults. The commercials say to, “Drink responsibly.” In general, most moms I know are some of most responsible people I’ve ever met. Shouldn’t they be allowed to make the choice to drink or smoke responsibly?
I’m conflicted on the pot argument since it’s illegal, if you smoke it, your children are likely to figure that out eventually. It sends a poor message to your kids that you can do something responsibly that is illegal.
But on the other hand, my pre-motherhood thoughts on the matter are that marijuana should be legal.
I think that marijuana is much less hard on your body and makes for less uninhibited behavior. Pot just mellows you out. You rarely do things while high that you wouldn’t do sober, your reactions are just slower. I have zero data to back this up, but I’d say that marijuana is probably not much more dangerous than many legal drugs. Hell, it’s probably way less dangerous than a lot of legal drugs.
Alcohol, on the other hand, if consumed irresponsibly can make you do things that you regret. Not that I think moms who are having a glass of wine in the evening after their kids are in bed are making regrettable choices while inebriated. At worst, they might start up arguments with their spouse that they regret in the morning. At best, they might say things on Facebook that they wish they hadn’t. To me, these are the worst sins that typical moms who are, in general, being good and responsible moms day-to-day.
The Reason For Alcohol and Drug Use
Fact: Mothering is stressful. Not only is it stressful, it often goes unacknowledged by our partners and families, especially in this day and age.
The onus for our children’s well-being weighs heavily on the mom side.
We get all the blame and none of the praise.
We are at fault if they are too skinny or too fat; if they are developmentally slow; if they are obnoxious; if they pick their nose in public; if they use swear words; if they are shy and clingy; if they are too outgoing; if they run away; if they are rude; if they are weird; if they are hyperactive; if they have mental disease; if they take too long to potty train; if they are picky eaters. If they eat too much. If they fight with their friends.
On the other hand, if they are super smart, or polite, or developmentally early, well, that’s just genetics.
And dads, well, they get high fives left and right just for hanging out with their kids.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been told how astounding Toyin is because he was willing to move to Austin and be a dad to his kid. Nobody’s ever congratulated me for not having an abortion or giving Annika up for adoption. (Not that either of those was ever on the table.)
The obvious thing with moms and alcohol and/or marijuana is that it’s one of the few tools that we have to relax. Sure, eat right, exercise, meditate, read a book, spend time with friends, go see a movie. It’s easy to tell moms to go do that stuff instead of having a glass of wine.
But who the hell hast the time to do all that shit on a regular basis when we are busy making sure our kids aren’t too fat or too skinny; they aren’t developmentally slow or obnoxious. That they aren’t picking their nose in public or using swear words. Figuring out why they are too shy and clingy. Making sure they become independent, all the while, ensuring that their needs are met. Teaching them manners; figuring out why they are weird or hyperactive. Taking them to appointments to cure their mental disease. Potty training and making special food for picky eaters, controlling sugar and fat intake all the while negotiating arguments with their friends.
This whole thing is a non-issue. I highly doubt that there’s many more people getting high or drinking than before. Maybe because it’s becoming legalized in various areas for medical purposes, the stigma is slowly lifting. Maybe we, as a society, are just becoming less puritanical.
Truth of the matter is, moms are people. We have a really fucking stressful job. And for the most part, it’s not our only job. And even the moms who don’t have a job outside of being a mom, still have to do all the other stuff that comes with running a household, like cooking, grocery shopping, taxes, bill payments, cleaning, etc.
I know, I know. People are always saying stuff like, “Well, people who don’t have kids have to do that stuff too.”
Yes, but people who don’t have kids don’t have to cook dinner and run back to wipe someone else’s ass while the chicken is cooking. They don’t have to scrape Playdough off the carpet, or worse, human feces. People without kids don’t spend half of their time cleaning up the house only to turn around and find that the majority of their work was undone when they were in the bathroom. People without kids don’t have to argue with another human being to get them to do something that is for the benefit of the OTHER person. Example: one of my mama friends recently made the observation that she was incredulous that she has to cajole her 3-year-old into getting ready to head out the door to go swimming, which he says he wants to do.
It’s fucking exhausting. Just thinking about it all, I need a drink.
And it starts all over again tomorrow. Bottoms up.