Sunday, September 20, 2009

I've got enough to feel guilty about as a mother...


Sorry. That was my reaction after reading an article about women -- particularly mothers -- drinking:

A horrific car crash in July on New York's Taconic Parkway, in which Diane Schuler -- who police say was drunk and had smoked marijuana -- killed four children, herself and three adults while driving the wrong way, has intensified the debate over whether child-rearing and drinking are simply too lethal a cocktail for some women.
For the record, I'm drinking a glass of wine right now as I type this.

I talked this over with some friends on Twitter, and seriously the entire article smacks of sexism to me. Now, I will not deny that some people have alcoholism, but but that's honestly a personal thing. It crosses across sexes, races, socioeconomic and every other line.

But what bothers me is that there's an implication that a woman -- ESPECIALLY A MOTHER -- can not do what a man does responsibly. That is they can't have a couple of drinks and still do their parenting job.

WHERE'S THE DAD IN ALL THIS? What about fathers who drink? Where is their responsibility in this? In today's age, it's not just the mother who does parenting -- the dad also parenting duties. Why is it that somehow it's worse for the mother to drink?

Perhaps that's my biggest pet peeve -- that there is still this implication that women are doing the primary parenting job. What about the fathers that are staying at home? Don't they have the same responsibility to keep their drinking under control? By putting the focus only on mothers, it denies the fact that yes, men can be participatory parents and have the same responsibilities and burdens as mothers.

The article also ignores the stresses that parents have -- this is a job I signed up for willingly and most of the time I adore it, but you can't deny that it is a tough job. Take those stresses and add them on top of the other everyday job/work bullshit you have to deal with. It's tough. I'm a stay-at-home-mom and I admire working parents for keeping their shit together.

Again, there are parents with drinking problems. Just like there's childless people with drinking problems. But a drinking problem is defined as when it starts to interfere with your ability to function in your daily routine. Having a glass of wine after the kids go down for bed, or with friends is NOT A DRINKING PROBLEM.

Also, when I joke about drinking -- IT'S A FREAKIN' JOKE. The pearl-clutching over parenting is annoying as hell. Is parenting so sacred that we can't crack a couple jokes about it? Complain about how our bosses (aka our children) drive us nuts? When we become parents, we don't lose ourselves.

And if that person likes a glass of beer or wine after the kids go to bed, there's nothing wrong with that. Hell, I am toasting you right now.

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