This weekend I watched well-known blogger Melissa Summers who writes at Suburban Bliss interviewed by Meredith Vieira on the Today Show about the “growing trend” for stay-at-home moms to turn playdates into mini happy hours. Vieira also interviewed a woman physician and the taped segment featured comedian and author of “Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay” Stefanie Wilder-Taylor (love the name of that book) with a couple of her mom friends at a backyard playdate where they sipped on wine.
Now is it really a growing trend? Or is this just a “portray moms as desperate housewives” non-issue designed to boost ratings and drive traffic to NBC’s iVillage site? A New York Times story last fall featured moms who live in an affluent suburb of Philadelphia, which is not a snapshot of typical backyard America. One woman interviewed for the Times piece confessed that she basically passed out after a playdate happy hour. She obviously has a problem. And I don’t want to sound like a Kenny Chesney song, but back where I come from it was a huge deal to finally get liquor stores “in town.”
It’s tempting to criticize others for their parenting choices. Sometimes I drink a glass of wine or a beer in front of my girls. Does that make me a bad mother?
Open our refrigerator and you will probably see a bottle of white wine or a six pack of beer next to the apple juice and whole milk. My 4-year-old goes to “the bottle store” (liquor store) with her daddy. Just last weekend we went to our local pizza parlor and we each sipped on a beer. Afterwards my husband drove the less than one mile home. Neither of us overindulge on alcohol at this point in our lives. Now if you’re driving a car after drinking or in some way jeopardizing your childrens’ safety while under the influence of alcohol, that’s irresponsible. But drinking responsibly in front of one’s children is a chance to demonstrate that moderation and self control are essential to being an adult.
I grew up in a very conservative small Southern community. And today, although I live in the ‘burbs, it’s still a pretty conservative area. I don’t drink at “playdates” and honestly I’ve never really thought about it. I guess I’m really uncool because I don’t even use the word playdates. I usually call up a friend and say, “hey would you like to get together with the kids tomorrow?” For me, it’s more of a treat for my husband to watch the girls while I occasionally meet a friend out for a margarita or go out with a group of friends from work for dinner and a movie.
As you can guess, I am definitely not a tee totaler but the notion that drinking sorts the “fun” moms from the non-fun moms vibe I get bugs me a little. What are we, a big mommy sorority? My daughter plays with my neighbor’s little girl all the time and we don’t drink alcohol while they play. Does that make us both sticks in the mud?
I am doubtful that this is really a “trend” other than in a few metropolitan, more affluent areas. But it generates a “buzz,” no pun intended. As someone who works in publishing, I’ll be the first to admit that the possibilities for teasers on stories about cocktail playdates are a headline writers’ paradise. Booze and binkis! Sangrias in the sandbox! Oh, the list could go on. Don’t get me started.
Mothers are an influential demographic, shaping everything from morning news show programming to advertising campaigns. This article notes that moms control more than 80 percent of household spending. This would be the perfect chance for a winery to bottle a “Mommy’s Timeout” line. Hey, I’d buy it.
All kidding aside, when next year’s presidential candidates discuss the issues that are of utmost concern to the average parent, moms occasionally drinking a glass of wine in front of their kids will not be part of their talking points.
In the mean time, I’m going to focus on some of the disturbing growing trends at our house…”Children Who Refuse to Eat Vegetables!” and “Using Nick Jr. as a Babysitter!”