Lately I’ve been contemplating the issue of why I’ve started drinking more & more frequently over the last 3-5 years, so I posed the question to a few of my best girlfriends. “Why do you think you’ve started drinking more or more often lately, say in the last 5 years or so? If not yourself, surely you know someone … other than just me 😉 why for them do you think? I know my answer mostly is … “Because I can!” Like me I think most enjoy a glass or two of wine most nights and maybe have started having more than a couple on a Friday or Saturday night out with friends. I told my friend I was “on the wagon” and she said “WHY?” and I said because I feel like I’ve gotten in a bad habit of having a drink or two every night and her response was “It’s not bad, all women in their 40’s do” — it was so funny to me because she wasn’t joking it was like she was stating a fact!!!
My answer “Because I can” … is far more complicated and convoluted than it sounds. For me for the first time in 28 years I don’t have to be 100% “on” all the time! I recently quit working and for the last 7 years have only been working 10-20 hours a week. Also when my kids were babies and small children (up until the last 3-5 years) I had to get up early, get everyone out the door to daycare or school by 8a, go to work, pick up kids from daycare or school, do laundry, cook dinner, do dishes, yard work, snow removal etc. Oh, did I mention “working out” to maintain my sanity & weight? I grew up in a family & town that it is practically a “sin” to be even a few pounds over-weight, oh and the 3 hour hair appointments every eight weeks to maintain my blond hair, because NO-ONE and I mean NO-ONE, likes my natural color including me! My husband says the cost is a necessity not a luxury, if you knew him you wouldn’t believe it, but it’s true! When I went to get my driver’s license when I was 16, my dad (who was one of my biggest fans) said “what are you going to say for your hair color? dishwater blond or mousy brown?” I’ve been blond ever since!!! Anyway, I couldn’t “afford” the luxury of sitting down for a few minutes around 5 and having a cocktail or a glass of wine and I certainly couldn’t afford being the slightest bit hungover. The only time I drank since having kids (up until the last few years) was when we would get a sitter to go out and even then only 2-3 drinks because I still had to get up really early (we’re talking 5-6a) with a very high energy little boy and be “on” all day (my daughter thankfully likes to sleep as much as I do ;)). I don’t have to be 100% on everyday, or any day really! Some days I even have time to take a 20 minute nap — shhhh! Don’t tell my husband!
Here are some of the responses to my question “why do you think you’ve started drinking more or more often” …
Ha! Hilarious question to which I have so many answers, depending on the day and the cycle of the moon!!!
I drink a few glasses of wine (summer water this time of year) because:
– I love wine, and nothing is better than cooking with a glass of wine nearby
– teenagers-happy, sad, or just plain moody –I’ll drink to that
– it’s social I love seeing my friends and catching up over beverages (or a hike but that seems harder to orchestrate with various schedules)
– I don’t get hangovers and “they” say a little booze is good for the heart so there is no deterrent
– I don’t watch much TV, I’d much rather sit on the porch over a glass of something and TALK
– An aging parent who I think has “fallen and can’t get up” each time I text or phone her and don’t receive an immediate response…
– high pressure job- at which I’ve been successful and thus am always expected to “have a great year”, plus my other full-time job as MOM
– it makes doing laundry more interesting
– I’ve quit for 30 days and didn’t lose measurable weight so why give it up?
– did I mention teenagers?
– because this is my life, and I love it, and while it may not be exactly what I envisioned, it’s worth celebrating frequently!!
Hi Shanny! Let’s see… because the kids are out of the house so I don’t need to be alert and “on” and running carpools. And I think as we age, we tend to drink more frequently! See you next Thursday… for drinks, LOL! 😂
o.k. this should be interesting…
1. it is a decompressor at the end of the day – some people watch tv or smoke pot – I like a small glass of wine (and at least I’m not doing it first thing in the morning 😉 2. and if I have to “blame” it on something – it helps me be more relaxed with my teenage kids and spouse after a long day 3. I like the taste of it vs. a beer or hard liquor (although the tequila has a strong argument) 4. and yeah “because I can” I gave birth to 2 children and watched my food and no liquor intake for 9+ months during pregnancy and post-delivery 5. I feel like it’s “o.k.” to do, I’m in agreement with the hairdresser
“Because I can …
“BOREDOM!!!” (that was the 2nd thing that came to my mind)
There was one answer that wasn’t funny but definitely thoughtful …
I don’t think I can be part of your survey…I think I drink less. I think more people I know are drinking because we have reached an age where we have more problems/stresses…kid problems, marriage stresses, aging parents. I guess we drink to forget… at least for a little while.
This response prompted me to do some research on the subject, because I started thinking I can’t be the only one who’s noticed this “trend” and it’s not always funny, so I googled it and a plethora of articles and books came up. I decided to pick the one that appealed to me the most and at least “skim through it”, I ended up reading it in two days and was literally “consumed” (no skimming, ask my husband I couldn’t stop talking about it). It’s called “Her Best Kept Secret” by Gabrielle Glaser*
Although I was suspecting the book would “horrify” me and make me want to stop drinking altogether (although “secretly” hoping that wouldn’t be the case), what I discovered is that “we are not alone” and being a mother (particularly in the United States) whether you’re a stay at home mom, a full-time working mom, or a part-time working mom, we cannot “have it all” which I’ve been saying for years! I feel like our generation, in particular (although the intentions were good) were told that we COULD “have it all”, but I for one don’t think it’s true. Something has to give and for a lot of women they suffer the consequences of trying to “have it all & do it all”, whether it’s their own sanity, health, marriage, career, or a combination of all, it’s not sustainable to do everything & do it all perfectly, for me it was impossible! I remember when I was pregnant with my second child and I knew I’d have to give up my job/career because with two babies the cost of daycare just didn’t make sense and I was TIRED! My husband asked if I was sure I didn’t want to keep working and I remember crying and saying “even if I wanted to, I can’t, because trying to do both — be a mom & have a job was making feel like I was doing everything “half-assed” and that’s not who I am or want to be, I’m not good at compromising (that being said, being married and having children has made be a little better at it ;)).
“And so one of the ways women have started “coping” in this age of “having it all” & “doing it all” is by drinking.” Gabrielle Glaser *(see she speaks my language). That’s just one of the ways, trust me I’ve tried them all, meditation, yoga, working out until I’m about to drop dead of exhaustion, but no matter what, it’s really hard to escape those hours between 5-7 (just like I said in my “Alone” post). Gabrielle Glaser’s book for me was so “spot on” that I emailed her to thank her and to ask if I could quote her in this post & she actually responded :)) and said “yes absolutely!” So here we go … regarding trying to not drink or at least cut back …
“They try drinking only on weekends. They try drinking pomegranate juice with seltzer. They try putting ginger tea over ice. They try sucking Jolly Ranchers. They pick up the cigarettes they last smoked in college. They love, love, love the days they wake up clearheaded. They read at night, they watch TV at night, they are sometimes more, sometimes less, interested in sex. But then something happens: a snide comment at work; the check for camp that goes missing in the backpack vortex; a nasty driver in the supermarket parking lot. A trigger, one of the many that drip, drip, drip like water seeping from a leaky roof, and the cork comes off. The glass gets poured. Down the hatch. But let’s be clear: The trigger is usually quite simple. It is evening itself.”*— YES!!! I have the best intentions and then exactly what she said happens and/or EVENING ITSELF!
I was going to reference more of Ms. Glaser’s book and her “evidence” of my theory you cannot “have it all” and the “dark side” to drinking too much, along with the fascinating history of alcohol, wine in particular in the U.S. but there is far too much interesting information from her book to give it justice in this post … so another post another time maybe … titled “You Cannot Have it All” or something, better yet read her book!
In conclusion, I’m glad I “delved” into this subject & I have decided to “tweak” my drinking habits & I feel good about it … I’m trying to not drink more than 3 drinks at a time (preferably no more than 2 ;)) and no more than 3-4 times a week (preferably no more than 3 ;)). Someone said to me when I told them I needed to stop drinking on “school nights” … “Why? At your age if you enjoy it and you’re not hurting anyone? You’re just going to die someday and nobody’s going to care!” which I think she meant nobody’s going to care if you drank every night — but I laughed because it sounded like “nobody’s going to care when I die” 😂 either way she’s right, life will go on and as long as I’m living my life and enjoying it the way I want and no one gets hurt (except maybe my waistline) who cares?