A blogger recently wrote a post about how much drinking is normal. For many women, drinking is normal. I am one of those women.
Now as a non-drinker, I’m sure her perspective is probably different than from those of us who enjoy wine regularly…whether your “regular” is every evening, a few times a week, or maybe once every few months. One message she delivered was that many mothers drink as a way to cope with day-to-day stress and/or to be social, and that is and of itself an interesting message and one that deserves to be discussed, whether you are a drinker or not. The other point she brings up is how much alcohol on a regular basis is too much alcohol, and I think it is also a good question, and one that should be talked about.
Most of the comments that she received on the post were positive, thanking her for writing the post and for bringing the subject to light. I myself retweeted the post because I thought others would find it interesting to read.
Many people, including myself, did not leave a comment. Why? Because I felt that the delivery of these messages came across as judgmental, and I and many others found the post offensive.
In her post, she mentions how many drunk, middle aged women were at BlogHer this past August. Further into the post she mentions women who count down the minutes until they can have their first drink of the afternoon, and those who drink more than a couple of glasses every evening. She also talks about alcohol, saying she doesn’t need it to be social or to dance at BlogHer. She doesn’t need it after a long day of chasing around a toddler who constantly pushes boundaries.
Now here is my opinion about this post. Although she was writing it out of concern for one friend who she named in the post, she ended up casting judgment on many other friends. Whether she meant to or not, she offended many friends who do enjoy drinking. Friends who do not think having a glass of wine every night means that they may have a drinking problem.
I was one of those women at BlogHer – a middle aged woman who had many more glasses of wine than just one or two. I do not need wine to be social (though I will admit it makes it much easier for me to dance like a maniac since I’m not known for my coordination and rhythm!)
I am also one of those women who jokes on Twitter about whether or not it’s five o’clock yet, that I’m looking forward to a glass of wine, and who says my kids are driving me to drink.
I am also one of the women she talks about that has a glass of wine or two every evening.
Do I need it? No. When I was trying to conceive and during pregnancy I didn’t drink at all. I enjoy drinking wine, and I enjoy relaxing with it during the evening. I don’t drink all day long, and I don’t hide my drinking.
If my husband asked me to give it up and never drink again could I? Would I? Yes.
Does my drinking wine affect my ability to care for my children and husband? Affect my relationships with others? Affect my work? No, it doesn’t.
Is two glasses of wine a night two too many? Maybe. For me, I feel that it is not.
As I said, I know that there are many women who did not leave a comment on that post because they do drink regularly, and do not have an alcohol problem. They did not leave a comment on that post because they didn’t want to start a fight on someone else’s blog. They were offended by the judgment that was cast about women who enjoy it after a day of chasing around their challenging, monster-like toddlers.
Or what about Shell from Things I Can’t Say who recently wrote a post (jokingly) titled Why I Hate To Recycle. Why does she? Because of the amount of wine and beer bottles in the recycling can. Do I think she’s an alcoholic? No. It was a joke.
I know that there are a lot of women out there who have a borderline problem that they are embarrassed to talk about, or worried about the stigma that comes with admitting to an alcohol problem. I think that writing posts about drinking is important. I think that we just need to be sensitive to the way we deliver our messages.
A few commenters mentioned on my friend’s post about drinking that the topic was a “slippery slope,” and it is. This blogger is someone who is very good at approaching sensitive subjects, but I think that because she doesn’t drink often at all, she did not realize how it might make women feel who do drink.
Maybe I should have left a comment. I did not want to start a fight there. I know many people would immediately assume that I was being defensive because I drink. That because I drank regularly, I probably have a problem. I thought that the best place for this discussion was on my blog, where I am free to share my own opinions.
There was one person, Gigi (@KludgyMom) who disagreed publicly. Gigi mentions that we should keep things in perspective and that not every woman who has a glass of wine with dinner or indulges at a blog conference is a case for intervention. The blogger’s response was to also keep things in perspective; that there are women who have drinking problems, some you would never guess.
And that is the point. Not judging the moms at BlogHer who enjoyed themselves by drinking (way) more than they normally do. Not judging the moms who enjoy a glass of wine with the neighbors in the evening or with dinner every night. Those are the people she specifically mentioned, and those were some of the people who were offended by the post, and who it seemed were trying to be made to feel bad for enjoying it.
So there’s my two cents. I drink wine, and that’s okay. What about you? How much drinking do you consider too much drinking?