Friday, January 26, 2007

Baby, Bottles

I want to ralph, and it's not because of too much wine.

I think the NYT was the first place I saw an article on the growing "concern" over modern mom playdates. Yes, we've got 12% by volume worth of trouble aging in suburbia, moms are having a glass of wine while their kids play together.

I'll pause now while you don your bonnet and apron, brush the dust off your gray poplin, and shine your shoe buckle. The right attire will probably help you sit in judgment more attentively.

What brings this up today? A Today show segment (was this show EVER better than it is now, or has there been a gradual/rapid descent into In Touch territory?):

about the practice of serving alcohol alongside juice boxes at these gatherings. Wine is usually the beverage of choice, but martinis and cosmopolitans are not unheard of — depending on the assembled moms and what kind of a day they've had
The "practice" of serving alcohol? Substitute crack and heroin for martinis and cosmos and you'll get a better impression of the alarmism latent in that lede.

But would you let a sitter do it? No, morons, most sitters aren't even 21. Jenny Sixteenyearold shouldn't be drinking when she's with my kids or when she's by herself. Plus, she's a paid employee (and remember, when she's a suburban teenager, under-the-table tax free payment is fine. Make sure she's not not-from-around-here though, especially if you're up for appointed office). I don't drink at the office. Neither should a sitter or nanny.

But what if a kid gets hurt? Who drives to the hospital? Oh, how about any of the moms described in the story who have, like A glass of wine. Not three. Not ten. Not the bottle. As adults, I'm going to assume they can monitor themselves and drink responsibly. Because if they can't, I don't think the playdate drinking is what we have to worry about here.

What if mom has a glass of wine over dinner and junior stabs himself with a fork! Dear god, can you imagine.

And what about the example we're setting for our children? We're showing them that booze is okay. That drinking to unwind is acceptable. That drinking socially is something mommy has no trouble with. Clearly, the better way to go is to hide all alcohol and never consume the fruit of the vine in front of the fruit of your loins.

Yes, far better that we cultivate kids like those of an acquaintance: that pre-teen becomes agitated and fearful of her safety if mom has a drink at a social event. Mom! Don't drink! That's not good for you. Is mom a lush? No, of course not. But I think we can all agree that having a child fear and misunderstand alcohol is a much better way to prepare her for college and rush week.

I mean, really, are we going to start judging women for this? What about dad cracking one open on the weekend. Is he watching the kids then? Better not. Drink or watch the kids. My grandmother had a glass of wine every single afternoon of her life. It was a lovely Rhine that paired well with Oprah. If my mom was at the store, should Nana have chucked the Chuck and shielded us from a beverage that even Jesus consumed? Apparently.

Not once in any of these stories have women been calling themselves or others alcoholics. Nor have they appeared to be alcoholics. Or drunk. Or even tipsy. But the scary language is there, between each line, running the course of the discussion like legs on a fine Syrah. What a rancorous bouquet on this vintage fear, indeed. All of these mothers are on the brink of ruining their children. Of course, if any story mentioned the consumption of white zin, I might agree.

Perhaps most off-putting: this is a story that, as PTN says, assumes that we care about a problem that only a few people actually are lucky enough to have (like these people's woes). Oh no - upper middle class women, after battling for the right to get both into and out of the office now have to fight for their right to Shiraz. Boo-freakin-hoo. Keep drinking, ladies. No one really cares. Especially not your kids.

Ah, America: you can take the pilgrims of the boat, but you can NEVER get them off the wagon.

1 comment:

Catherine Hazelton said...

FANTASTIC piece, Pho, and the white zin line is priceless. I wish I had a glass of wine at my desk to toast you.