Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The mum club

It's no wonder so many of us mums turn to booze. It's freely available, cheap, socially acceptable - encouraged even, and it works.

Let's be honest. Short term it works. It takes us away from our domestic drudgery, without actually taking us away. We can still be at the kitchen bench chopping carrots with kids yelling demands at us, but with that glass of chardonnay sitting next to us we feel like an 'adult' and slightly removed from the situation in a 'fun' way (I did anyway). The more booze that goes in, the more our pleasure receptors are enlivened and we feel good - warm and numb and 'fun' and 'soothed'.

It did me anyway. Boy did I love my nightly wines.

It's all artificial of course - the liquid drug creates a chemical reaction in our brains that mimics genuine feelings of well being. So it's not authentic, doesn't last, and we get dumped down and left feeling cold afterwards (often at 3am). For me this meant feeling strangely bored and perpetually exhausted about my never ending domestic duties and the incessant demands of my kids.

Don't get me wrong - my kids are the most perfect creatures that have ever been created, but being a mum is HARD BLOODY WORK! We are all BLOODY LEGENDS! (Sorry dads, I know you are too.. I just can't help but write this post from my female perspective). We give and we give and we give to those blood-sucking leeches we call our offspring. And they take, take, take because that's what kids are hard-wired to do. It's the way of the world. We breed them, we feed and love them, we nurture them, we give, give, give. They are born, they develop, they have human wants and needs and are unformed emotionally so have no real concept of life outside of their own basic desires and they take, take, take.

So, like I say it's no wonder so many of us mums turn to booze. Who wouldn't want to be instantly warmed and 'taken away' at 5pm every day?

I was down at the local Rec Centre last Friday with my sister at a busy, noisy pre-school playgroup. As we were packing to go her 1-year old started having a major meltdown. A mum sitting behind us fixed us with a sympathetic 'I've been there too' smile and said "Thank goodness for coffee and alcohol - that's all that is getting us through isn't it!". My sister and I both laughed - ha ha! - and there we were, three mums locked into a moment of weary solidarity, camaraderie and understanding.

But secretly I was thinking; "actually I don't touch either of those substances any more". Alcohol went nearly 4 years ago because I had no control over it and was imbibing WAY too much. Coffee went about a year ago because I just decided it was a dumb habit that I didn't really enjoy.

But I'm still in the mum club. I still answer a million questions a day, do constant housework, prepare endless meals and offer boundless love and support. I still get exhausted, worn out and over it. Sometimes I feel like crawling under the bed covers and staying there all day. Or at least standing in the middle of the kitchen shouting 'WHAT ABOUT ME!!!!!!!!!!!'.

The funny thing is, the longer I go without drinking booze or coffee, the more I realise they weren't actually doing anything to help my situation. In fact, they were hindering it. Sure - I don't get that chemical release at 5pm .. but I see that as artificial now and an unhelpful con.

And the truth is I'm actually less tired now because I sleep great. I'm happier now because I'm not feeling guilty about my drinking. I'm more proud now because I am more tolerant of my kids and present for their needs (especially as they get older and need more emotional support). And I'm delighted now that I'm no longer modelling steady, heavy wine consumption as an acceptable way to live.

I'll take being a sober exhausted mum over being a boozy exhausted mum any day. And I'll still laugh along with other mums when comments are made about the crutches that get us through. Because we are all in this together. Even us sober mums. We may be making different personal choices, but we still need the solidarity, camaraderie and understanding.

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. Haha. I laughed out loud at image of you in kitchen shouting 'what about me!?' That is EXACTLY how I've been feeling past two days. I cooked TWO dinners tonight because the little rodents ate the first dinner (prepared earlier in day) for afternoon tea and wanted something different for dinner 2 hrs later! Then homework is disrupted by Dad turning on the TV to watch sports. Grrr mutter mutter. Bleat over....and despite all this, I adored my evening cuddles and books with my babes, because I'm sober and present and bloody happy!! Loved this post. Go mums!

    1. The little rodents hahahah Oh but I miss those days :(

  2. Hi mate ! Your Blog is very useful and informative i hope many people will get good info.

  3. Brilliantly put, captures it so well, the good, the bad & the ugly - well, not quite all the ugly. All mothers everywhere need to read this. Thank you.
    So true about the emotional support - & it goes on, more complex each year. Plenty of sobbing in my house tonight, teen pain, big exams, stress, teacher nastiness, friends not helping, sore back - thank god I wasn't drinking though I can see why one would ... but I think it was far easier to set aside tired me me me & do the reassuring, the feeding, the massage, drag her out for exercise...
    10 pm, start the bill paying & work. Sigh, but at least clear headed.

  4. I love this post for many reasons but the biggest one is that it's so inclusive. Women tend to do a lot of shaming of one another which I find repulsive. You are so right, we are all in this together and however we get through we get through.

    I love my Mum's Club!


  5. I love it. Somehow we all seem to get the idea that we should be grateful for the opportunity to take care of our family, even if we have already put in a long day at work.
    Admitting you are tired, or bored, or depressed is a weakness.
    How sad and untrue. Honesty allows us to share our hardships. And that makes it all much more manageable.

  6. I agree that we are in this together. And wine does have this tempting property of creating another temporary reality. The one we anticipate to enter every time we drink. But it is not real, it is damaging and it is hollow. Takes a long time to realize it.

  7. Again, Mrs. D, you speak my mind.
    And, I might just stand in my kitchen and start yelling "what about meeeee!?" when it all just gets too much. Ha!

  8. Well.... I may not be a mom, but, I woke up one morning and realized that I had, yet again, drank into the wee hours of the morning and had to go to work, still buzzing. I decided I was tired of the life, of that itch, of that need to constantly be in a state of mind that was not my own... As such, I made a New Year's Resolution to make 2015 alcohol free and it has been wonderful!!! Originally, I just wanted to do one year. But, with the way I feel, the amount of weight I have lost, money I have saved, and the ability to ride a hundred miles a day on my bicycle, I may never drink again and I would be just fine with that.

    Thank you for your thoughts, I enjoyed reading them. Come check out what shedding alcohol has allowed me to do physically and take a journey with me: http://www.TravelWithMitch.com

  9. Yes!!!! All of this! I am 26 days into a 100 day challenge. The reasons you began, the time of day you began, the coffee too, all of it! Never knew there were so many like us before I found these sobriety blogs. Thanks for publicly sharing what so many of us are privately struggling with. :)

  10. Dear Mrs. D,
    I was a teacher of young ones, and all I did was give myself away..to the kids and the school.
    The only way I knew to cope was to have my after school wine.
    It didn't work long, though!

  11. Mrs D you have reached inside of me....I totally connect. The question I have and it is just a curious one..are you still smoking..and did carrying on smoking help you with your sobriety?

    1. Hi anonymous! I haven't had a cigarette for months and months. Sometimes I think about it but then I imagine doing it and the resulting headrush and I feel a bit sick.....! Early on when I first got sober it was sometimes nice to have a cigarette to turn to in times of great stress etc .. but generally speaking I've never been a hard-out smoker my whole life, more of an off-and-on one (and when pissed of course) so it hasn't been a big trial not going there.... hope this answers your question! xxx

  12. Reason I ask is that the only time I smoke is when I drink so am caught in a double entendre of addiction...if I don't drink I have no desire to smoke..but when the cravings hit I'm like which is it that at I really want?

  13. Your compassion for all mums --including the ones still buzzing on wine to get by -- it made me feel good. Thank you.