Home article Cocktails and Carpool: When Parents Drink During the Day

Cocktails and Carpool: When Parents Drink During the Day

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Cocktails and Carpool: When Parents Drink During the Day

Being a mom is no easy task. At times, you might even feel reduced to being not much more than a housekeeper, taxi driver, tutor, and chef. You begin to question who you really are, and search for moments of adult contact, interaction, and stimulation. And it’s important that you take care of yourself, as so many others do rely on you. You might be involved in playing tennis or Mah Jong, or maybe you are part of a book club. Maybe you joined a workout class or go on hikes with friends. Whatever the case may be, it is likely that you sometimes go out to lunch with the other moms you’ve met. And sometimes, maybe more often than most of us would care to acknowledge, this involves drinking alcohol.

It might seem innocent enough, perhaps even well-deserved, to order a margarita or two after playing tennis. Or maybe you just want to have some fun with the ladies and order a couple round of shots. It’s all in good fun, right? Well, not so fast. Is it really harmless if you’re drinking and then getting in your car immediately after and diving? Are you going straight to pick up your children, or perhaps even drive a carpool? Isn’t this exactly what we preach to our teenagers NOT to do? Drinking and driving is still drinking and driving even it happens during the middle of the day.

Would you knowingly allow your children to get in a vehicle with someone you knew had been drinking or whose breath smells of alcohol? Do you really want to be that person? You are endangering your life, your children’s lives, and innocent people’s lives each time you decide it’s okay to drink at lunchtime. There is absolutely no difference between the parent who stays home drinking beer in the middle of the day, and the moms who go out drinking at lunch. Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol. No matter what socioeconomic level you come from, no matter how many degrees you posses, no matter what your husband or you do for a living, no matter how fancy your home or car, alcohol intoxicates you just the same as anyone else.

Do any of you remember this chart from the DMV(DMV.CA.ORG)? It still applies, and it applies to you and everyone else. Take a good hard look. Understand what it means. If you are 130 pounds, and you have just 2 drinks during a 90 minute lunch, you are legally drunk. LEGALLY DRUNK. You are impaired, you are dangerous, you could get a DUI, you could kill someone. This is not something to take lightly. It would be similar to a 200 pound man downing 4 beers in that same amount of time. Would you let him drive? Do you fully understand the potential consequences of this behavior? You could end up in jail for driving drunk and endangering children. You could even have your children placed in protective custody…that means taken away from you. Is it worth it?

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So, ladies, no-one is saying you’re not allowed to have any fun. By all means, you deserve to have some fun, and if you want that to include alcohol, knock yourself out. But practice what you preach, please, for the sake of everyone. If you’re choosing to drink during the day, please make other arrangements for someone else, who is sober, to drive and care for your children. Designate a sober driver or use Uber for ladies days or nights out. Don’t drink when you’re responsible for carpool or you own children. That applies to dinners out as well. If both Mom and Dad are drinking at dinner, who is driving the family home? Set a good example by making good choices…because your kids are watching and learning from your example. Don’t think for one minute that they don’t notice a mom who has been drinking during the day any less than a dad who drinks at night. Don’t think they don’t notice that both of you downed two bottles of wine at dinner before driving them home. Don’t think that you aren’t sending them a message that it’s okay to drink and drive, and don’t think that they won’t do it, too.

I am the mother of two teenaged boys. My worst fear is that one of them will get in a car with someone who has been drinking, or worse, get behind the wheel drunk. I also like alcohol. I like wine and tequila and vodka and champagne. I like to have fun with my friends. I like wine with dinner. I love to entertain and host parties. And I don’t drink and drive. I drink at home, when I don’t have to drive anywhere. When I go out, I use Uber or a designated driver, or I just don’t drink. If that means I either have just one drink at the start of a meal, or skip it altogether, then so be it. The lives of my precious family are far more important to me than any drink could ever be. If you don’t feel the same way, or find it difficult to control your urge to drink, please get help. It could be the sign of a bigger problem that you may not have been aware of. Call a counselor or get to an AA meeting immediately.

Lori Freson Lori Freson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California. She has been working in the mental health field since 1997, and has been a licensed therapist since 2002. Lori currently works in her own thriving private practice in Encino and Sherman Oaks, where she serves the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas.
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