The day started like any other. Kids woke up, ate breakfast, fought a bit, then we headed to the gym (free childcare!) to get some energy out. It’s 500 degrees outside right now and I needed me time. I came home with a recharged battery, but that’s when it all hit the fan.
The soon-to-be-freshman talked back one too many times, so I took away her EVERYTHING. No phone, no technology, no (gasp) music. The 4 year old and 21 month old decided that was a great time to start terrorizing each other. One thing after another. All. Day. Long.
By the afternoon, I was done. My yoga breaths failed me, and my emotional capability to deal with ANY MORE nonsense plummeted. I needed a way to cope, to self-soothe. I could raid my pantry, I could tune everyone out and hop on my phone to scroll other people’s lives that looked so much more fulfilling, or… I could open up some wine.
That’s what we’re encouraged to do as moms these days, right? Just do a google search for “wine mom shirts” and you’ll find an endless array of clever ways to WEAR in public what 10-20 years ago may have been shocking to admit. 4:30 pm? Witching hour? No big deal, it’s wine-thirty! Check these out:
Listen, I’ve done a lot of heart-searching on this and I’m not in any way intending to shame or judge anyone. I enjoy wine. I enjoy wine even more with good conversation. Richard and I plan to spend our 10 year wedding anniversary wine-tasting in Sonoma. I don’t believe there is anything morally wrong or even Biblically wrong with drinking wine (but that’s a whole other topic for another day).
My concern with this “mommy needs a drink” movement is that we are promoting self-medication in order to save us from our hard days and help us handle our negative emotions.
ANY TIME we cope with difficult emotions in the form of a substance, it is dangerous. I think baking a pan of brownies or eating out of the ice cream carton is equally as damaging. Are those two things “bad” in nature? Of course not. But using them to drown my sorrows and stimulate a dopamine response in my brain when I’m down is just as harmful as drinking a half bottle of wine before the husband comes home, or even online shopping in a zombie-like state! When I do any of these things, I stuff my feelings down and I don’t deal with the root of the issue. And when I stuff and stuff enough, it will all come back up and explode in my face at some point.
I’m a classic stuffer. I medicate on things that help me ignore reality. It used to be fiction (again, a morally neutral object), but now it is social media (maybe another type of fiction).
So where is the line? For me, awareness is key. I continue to take deep breaths (even when I don’t think they’re working). I sit down on the floor with my kids and engage them in activity, embracing the chaos, because eventually they win me over with their funny sayings and giggles. And sometimes – they are only acting like toots because they don’t know how to ask me to give them focused attention!
I also choose to engage my emotions – WHAT am I feeling? Anxious? Frustrated? Stressed? Overwhelmed? I name it. I marinate on it. I put on worship music. I reach out to a friend, or even my husband.
Then later, once my feelings have been acknowledged and I’ve processed through them, maybe I will have a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate. Both have great health benefits and like I said, I enjoy them. But if I’m using something because I want to escape from my reality at the moment, I am going down a slippery path I don’t want to have anything to do with.
And I DEFINITELY don’t want my kids to get the message that “Mommy drinks wine because I whine.” Ouch.