Last week my In the Powder Room colleagues Clare, Lerner, and Heidi all discussed their drinking habits, so I thought it only befitting that I belly up to the bar {ahem} and confess about my own love affair with the bottle. There’s strength in numbers, after all.

So yes, I drink a little.

I had my first drink when I was 13 at a friend’s house: Sloe Gin mixed with 7-UP. They went down smooth and easy and left one hell of a stain on my mother’s carpet when I upchucked them in the middle of the night. Sorry about that, Mom.

The next two decades are a blur.

Sure, there were times I drank too much and ended up in potentially dangerous situations. If I hadn’t been so drunk maybe I wouldn’t have gone home with that guy, or started that knife fight, or jumped off that roof into that motel pool. Never did find that bra, by the way.

I guess I’m lucky to have survived. Aren’t we all?

Nowadays, I’m a busy work-from-home mother of three children and my tastes have evolved to wine…one or two glasses every night.

Sometimes when I’m really busy, if I make it to 8 PM without a glass, I can go without and not even miss it.

But most days, I’m looking at my watch around mid-afternoon wondering when it will be acceptable for me to pour my first glass and take the edge off. Wine O’Clock varies based on the day, the weather, and my menstrual cycle.

I will tell you though: even though I like my wine, I have never put my children in any danger while under the influence, at least none that I can remember.

Kidding. No need to phone that one in, okay?

I have friends who are alcoholics and others who are teetotalers. One thing that is universal: people want to label others. It makes us feel better. My friends who drink tell me there is nothing wrong with my daily drinking habits, “You’re not an alcoholic! I drink way more than you do.” While the ones who abstain say the opposite: “You drink EVERYDAY? Whoa.”

Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s normal.

One of my friends and her husband recently gave up drinking all together. They were concerned they had been setting a poor example for their kids.

I argue that if my kids see me drink responsibly, in moderation, maybe they will learn how to do that for themselves someday.

My parents definitely didn’t drink on a daily basis when I was a kid, and look how I turned out.

One thing I know for sure, after a long day in the suburbs, a little nip of wine soothes my savage inner beast. It quiets the voices in my head, as well as those nagging/whining/crying/fighting little voices outside of my head.

I’m a better mother on the sauce. Just ask my kids. Wherever they are.


Originally published by In the Powder Room, December 13, 2011.