Because drinking with a toddler frees you up to make sock puppets, or to indulge in staring out the window at the fat idiots taking their fat dogs on ten minute walks for exercise, while you, who never exercise, finish dinner with your fingers.
One day when my husband was going to be late from work, I found myself and my 2-year-old minus clean underwear, without any scrap of floor in the room to stand on that didn’t contain a toy, and pretty much fed up with each other.
This, I said aloud to myself, because I was that desperate for adult conversation, is a perfect day to take up drinking.
Now before I go further, I should point out that many people would say that drinking is exactly what you shouldn’t do when caring for your children. I would say that you sound very much like me before my daughter was born. That is, a child-rearing expert. Having expertise in child-rearing is one of those backward things. When you actually have children you lose your expert status because the children you’ve been disciplining have always been other people’s children. Everybody knows the last person who knows anything about their own child is their own parent. They don’t tell you this in the hospital, or in the hip bar where you did most of your child rearing before you had your own.
Me (four years before my daughter): “That mother should just tell her winy kid ‘no’ to ice cream. I would never give my child ice cream.”
My husband: “I wonder why that kid’s mom is drinking so much.”
Once you have kids, the childless couples won’t want to talk to you about their discipline ideas. That’s because they are saving their fantastic bits of wisdom for each other and other childless couples.
Woman who is part of a childless couple: “So you’re having some problems getting your daughter to behave in church?”
Me: “Yes. You should have seen her Easter Sunday.”
Woman who is part of a childless couple: (Raises eye brows. Appears to be deep in thought.)
Me: “What? Why are you doing that with your face?
Woman who is part of a childless couple: “I gotta go talk to my husband about something.”
It’s a shame, really, that the experts won’t talk, because drinking while caring for a toddler makes a parent really want to discuss such matters (and why they are the other parent’s fault), and, of course, anything else that comes to mind.
The first time I drank with my toddler I tried to hide it from her, but she knew something was up when I started to laugh too long at her jokes and have way more fun with her rolly-poppy toy that she had ever had. Being a toddler she said, “That’s mine!” and tried to clobber me with Barbie, but Barbie’s a wimp. Absolutely no muscle tone.
Pretty soon it was all out in the open. I even bought some plastic wine glasses so she could join me, (she drank water, of course, what do you take me for?). It was great mother-daughter bonding time, putting our feet on the table, making up toasts. “To Barbie, may your feet always be pointed like you’re wearing high heels! To Oink-Oink, may he always be pink!”
My best friend, Susan, is amazed that I can pull off drunkenness in front of my toddler. She drinks, but she can’t imagine trying one on in front of her children (at least when they were younger). A few days ago she called me, stressed out because her son had poured sand in her hairbrush collection.
“I’m going to kill him,” she snarled. “I’ve had those hairbrushes since I was born.”
“Don’t do that,” I advised wisely. “Just drink.”
“Drink what?” she said. “I’m not thirsty. Just feeling murderous.”
“Alcohol,” I said. “Finish off that bottle of red from last night.”
She was silent for a moment. She was thinking about it, I could tell. “But wouldn’t that be irresponsible? My husband’s not even home, yet.”
“Nooo, it’s the right thing to do,” I said. “It took you way too long to grow that kid.”
Again, she lapsed into silence. Like a good friend I added, “If you have to kill somebody, make it your husband.”
After successfully reducing stress every time I drank I can honestly say that the only difference between me and Susan is experience. When she gets frustrated she thinks about killing her children. I just peacefully reach for my corkscrew and a glass. Make love, not war.
I’ve taught a lot of other stay-at-home mothers how to do the same. Here are some tips from some drinking mommas on not only how to endure, but to embrace drinking with your toddler.
Sally Isalittle Sloshed.
Tip 1: Be safe. Remove all knives and corkscrews from your toddler’s reach. Drink responsibly. Lock yourself in a toddler-proof room with your toddler and bottle. Yours AND hers/his. Make sure they have plenty to play with, but also take care to have a soft bed with pillows and blankets nearby just in case you pass out. Leave the key somewhere where your husband can find it.
Best reason to drink with a toddler: She/he has just learned the appropriate use of the word ‘shut up’ and is using it.
Patty Isalittle Plastered
Tip 2: Drink slowly to ease yourself into a good mood. There’s no bigger buzz kill when drinking with a toddler than to feel like puking right when you might have to change a diaper.
Best reason to drink with a toddler: You’ve waited so long to have a child and you suck as a mother.
Annie Isalittle Annihilated
Tip 3: If you’re drinking because your bundle of joy won’t pick up his/her toys don’t pick up the toys for them. Don’t forget, a drinking parent is still a parent. Instead, search the real estate section for a new home in which to live. Sometimes a snap decision to move out of the squalor the child has created is the right choice.
Best reason to drink with a toddler: Some people drive better when they are drunk. It’s entirely possible that you mother better, drunk.
Polly Isalittle Polluted
Tip 4: Have an adventurous attitude. Drink thinking that you’ll have a good time, not a bad time. You’re toddler wants to see you having fun, right? It’s what life is all about and she/he wants you to show her/him life. Plus, it can give him/her a sense of family history. After, Uncle Paul Polluted and Uncle Peter Plastered (husband of Patty) died of the drink. It’s good to remember and honor the dead.
Best reason to drink with a toddler: That huge bottle of wine is taking up way too much room in the refrigerator.
Betty Isalittle Blasted
You haven’t laughed all day because all the songs to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast keep going through your head. Drinking, even just one glass of wine, resets the musical in your head.
Best reason to drink with a toddler: Ability to teach drinking in the safety of your own home. This valuable lesson will serve your child well when they get their driver’s license.
If you are, or suspect you might be an alcoholic, don’t do any of this. If you are a lonely, stay-at-home mother, and a light drinker, it’s O.K. Also, you must be a person, like my big sister, who takes herself way too seriously and who has been saying ever since she was a kid “I don’t like drugs or drinking because I don’t like to get out of control.” Only then are you allowed to take any of this seriously. But not too seriously. Because I don’t really think anybody should get drunk, drunk with a toddler, just a little drunk. Especially my big sister, but not with my toddler, with her own toddler which she could have one if she didn’t get her tubes tied way too young, when she was in her 30s after her son was born because she couldn’t stand the idea of having another child because she didn’t like to get out of control. You see what I’m saying. Only my big sister should take this seriously.
Labels: Why Drink When You Have A Toddler?