Motherhood - Did It Change Your Drinking Habits?

Filed under: Opinions

wineLast week, I had dinner with an old friend. We were laughing about her wedding nearly nine years ago, the last of a long string of weddings that summer and one of the best. Newlyweds ourselves, my husband and I made good use of the open bar, spent our night on the dance floor, then -- too far away from our own home to drive -- crashed nearby at his mom's house, sharing the single bed in his old room.

Those were the days, you might say, were being the key word in that sentence. Case in point: At that dinner last week, I drank water while my friend had a Diet Coke, and we were both back in our own homes by 9 p.m. It's not that we don't drink anymore, but we definitely don't drink like that anymore.

Moderation is an inevitable part of motherhood, as Anna Fricke points out in a New York Times editorial. Pregnancy pretty much puts an end to any kind of liquid entertainment, and life with a baby...well...I'll let Ms. Fricke tell you:

Babies are magical and beautiful and amazing. They are also exhausting and frustrating and anxiety-inducing. In the beginning, my daughter nursed non-stop and I didn't even think of having a drink. Not only did I not want to risk alcohol being in my bloodstream when she nursed, I was also just too tired. Wine would only put me to sleep, and sleep was an impossibility. The first time my husband and I went out, I had a glass of wine and I felt like I was shooting up heroin in my parents' bedroom. It seemed so wrong. When I went home, I pumped my milk and immediately poured it down the sink, an act that seemed almost as wasteful as blithely burning hundred dollar bills.

During the pregnancy and breastfeeding years, drinking isn't safe for the baby. But once they become toddlers, it can also be risky for the parents, as anyone who's ever tried to manage a raging hangover and a toddler at the same time will quickly learn. Kids and the morning after just don't mix.

Michigan mom of three Amy Jacobs agrees. "Having kids is a trade off. Sure I don't enjoy the night life like I used to -- like 'Thirsty Thursday' happy hours, for example -- but I have found my inner child again and have enjoyed doing all of the 'kid stuff' with my children. The important part is finding balance and still enjoying time with my girlfriends. It is more than likely over coffee now and talking 'Mommy Issues' but it's still enjoying girl time."

But Francesca Taddei Clark, Vancouver mom of three, says that she thinks moms still tie one one pretty regularly, it's only the spontaneity that's been lost. "About once a month we get together and indulge," says Clark, "I think the biggest difference is that we are very calculated about it, considering what we have on schedule for the next day, and ALWAYS planning a way home. We can still go pretty hard, but it's never spontaneous. If I drink, I have to leave enough milk for my babe, and know that I can pump off, or not nurse for a while. Plan, plan, plan....that's what's changed."

What about you? Has parenthood changed your drinking habits?

Since becoming a parent, I:
drink less, and that's okay.41 (47.7%)
drink less, but miss the time out with friends.24 (27.9%)
drink more. This parenting gig is tough!21 (24.4%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.