Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sorry, I just cannot countenance that...

I am a mother who has attended playdate with mothers who imbibe, with a pitcher of martinis, a pitcher of sangria, coolers of beer, and so forth.

Recently, I was asked to comment on my feelings for this practice. At first, the only thing I could say definitely was that I am not in favour of this practice. There are many lovely venues when such spirits would be welcome, but not at a playdate.

I am a doula/parenting coach/nutrition guide and women's issue advocate. I am a mother of two, so I can well understand the need to get a lift, or to get away from it all, or to just take a break.

However, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of adults being around children and drinking. The adults are the caretakers, the ones to ensure safety, stability and fairness. One reason that I am uncomfortable is that we all need to be responsible for our own children and their safety. If something happens, having to state that alcohol was involved is not good for anyone involved. It is no good to say to me that "So-and-So will be the designated mom who won't drink." That is no solution; that is simply finding a scapegoat.

Second, I feel that if one needs to have a glass of wine, or a mojito, that is best done in the company of adults. Many times the children want to drink the same thing as mommy, or the children are ostensibly unaware of what is going on, but influence is a subtle and tricky thing. Moreover, the point is, to enjoy adult spirits in the company of adults is one thing. To mix children and alcohol is not a good thing. Period. Full stop.

Third, and very serious for me, is the fact that I am not comfortable with the fact that adults are inebriated around children. Everyone "holds" their liquor differently; I am not conversant with everyone's style. Hence, the nice mother may have a couple of martinis and become an "ugly drunk". Factor in tiredness, dieting practices, stress, and weather and the same lady who could polish off one or two drinks with no problem will become loud and boisterous.

Fourth. I am not a prude. I was raised in a house where wine was served with dinner, and the children had a very watered down sip. The difference between that experience and "mommytails" is that I notice that where drinking united the family and complemented the experience of communal dining, "mommytails" is an exclusionary activity where mothers do their thing and children do another. In my experience, it is an expression of the desire to flee from the responsibility of motherhood.

In conclusion, I must add that I do believe in small medicinal sips of stimulants on occasion, and the glass of wine, as the Bible says, "to gladden the heart". I do not believe in a pitcher of martinis with children around.

So, there is my answer. As San Jose's Community Doula, I never shirk the issues, and when I am asked a question I have to give a straight answer.

So, until the next issue arises:


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