My article against saying ‘mommy juice’ really struck a nerve with parents
While I don’t regret sharing my opinions [and fears] about the growing trend of women posting memes, photos, and sentiments stating that they deserve to drink after an especially trying day, I feel that my reasons for speaking out may have been misconstrued. I’ll say it again; I have absolutely no problem with people drinking alcohol, I simply worry about those problem drinkers out there, and hope that the majority of social media posts I see about ‘end of a difficult day/week’ drinking are more for dramatic effect, rather than being indicative of a growing problem.
I wrote the piece, Why Mommy Juice Scares the Hell Out of Me, earlier this year, and was fortunate enough to have it picked-up by BlogHer, and then The Huffington Post. Sharing my truths so publicly, and taking a stand against popularly held beliefs, was not an endeavor I took lightly, but I felt compelled to use my voice to reach others. The response to my piece was mixed, and I had to remind myself of who I was and why I chose to write it.
My son attended his first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting when he was one week old. I continued to take him to multiple meetings a week, often nursing him in the back corner of the room, until he was around six months old; learning how to be a mother was stressful, and I needed those meetings to ground me, as well as having my community to step in and help me through my new mom haze. As an alcoholic, attending meetings wasn’t optional
As a writer, I often share bits of myself, my truths, with readers in an effort to engage, connect, and create a sense of community; I also write because I have a strong voice that begs to be heard. That being said, I spent a few months debating whether or not to break my anonymity to my readers, before a rash of news stories, about moms and problem drinking, motivated me to speak up about the issue.
I was overwhelmed by the number of people who commented or privately emailed me with their own stories of family members, and even personal battles with problem drinking, thanking me for being forthright and speaking out against the use of the term, mommy juice. This has been the redeeming factor to publishing such a personal piece: connection, open dialogue, and community.
In all honesty, I wasn’t prepared to be told that I was silly or overreacting. One commenter even told me that I needed to “take responsibility for my alcoholism and stop blaming others” [in response to my disgust at alcohol companies marketing their products to moms]. I responded to these comments politely, and remained confident in who I am and what I stand for; I will never be ashamed of being an alcoholic. I couldn’t help but wonder why some people had such a visceral reaction to the piece, and other commenters pointed-out that maybe, just maybe, it hit a little too close to home for some. Whatever the case may be, no dissenting opinion will ever persuade me to believe that my opinions regarding problem drinking and mommy juice are silly, or that I am overreacting. Alcohol consumption is never taken lightly by an alcoholic or his/her family, and it most certainly isn’t funny to give it a benign name or joke about needing an alcoholic beverage after a difficult day.
Because alcoholism runs in my family, my son will be educated about alcohol from an early age, and will be taught that the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous are there if he ever needs them [I pray that he doesn’t]. More importantly, I will model a fun and fulfilled life, devoid of alcohol, for my son. We will talk about appropriate ways of handling life’s stresses, the dangers of underage drinking, and my son will grow up knowing the dead end road my life became when I was actively drinking. If I’m able to reach my son, if I’ve been able to educate or reach out to just one person with my story, then breaking my anonymity and talking openly about my alcoholism will have been worth it.
Lauren is a former publishing rep-turned-WAHM to a rambunctious toddler. When she's not chasing her son, you can find Lauren blogging about all aspects of life at lo-wren.com, sewing or knitting woolen goodies, or scheming for companies as a freelance writer, blogger & marketing consultant.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) or any Responsibility.org member.*