Cheers to Grace
I watched a segment on 20/20 regarding stay-at-home moms who secretly drink. Consumed by the lack of appreciation, loneliness, and sometimes mundane repetition that can accompany the tasks of raising children, these women have become closet alcoholics. One of the featured moms even published a book entitled, “Nap Time is the New Happy Hour,” which encouraged humor and cocktails to cope with the struggles of motherhood.
Initially, I found myself judging. “Please!” I thought, “I’ve had days when my babies are both screaming, won’t sleep, hang-on-me-through-every-last-disgusting-dirty-dish-in-the-sink that I’m washing by hand due to a broken, useless dishwasher while I have not showered or brushed my teeth in days… and I don’t fill my morning coffee cup with wine!”
Then I realized, I easily could have. In fact, I have had days where, if there had been alcohol in the house, I know for certain I would have turned to liquid courage. It is precisely the inspiration that started me writing this column in the first place! Sitting unshowered, half dressed and at my wits end with screaming, inconsolable kids, I searched my mind for a fix to escape, relax and unwind. Through the grace of God, I used prayer and His mercy as my fix. I have since been able to rely on Him through the times I have felt like ripping every last one of my rapidly-turning-gray hairs from my head.
My husband and I do not drink. There’s not even a bottle of wine lying around our house. Are we prudes? Perhaps. I have a long line of alcoholics in my family, including my father, who, due to his unstable behavior and severe alcoholism has never met my children. I decided nearly a decade ago that, while I didn’t have a problem with alcohol, it was best to stay away from it all together. If there were clear lines in the sand that showed “this many drinks” (whether socially or habitually) means you are addicted, then there would be no such thing as alcoholics. Everyone would simply stay one drink away from the line. Since there are no clear lines in the sand, and given my family history and tendencies to fall into bad habits, I steer clear from the party beach. We make our own lame-fun parties with bean-bag tosses and monopoly.
It is through God’s mercy that I am not one of those closet alcoholic mommies featured on 20/20. Instead of using humor and cocktails to cope with the struggles of mamahood, I use humor and faith. I write this column, in part, hoping to inspire others to do the same.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” -Psalm 46:1