Is your drinking affecting your kids?
Recently someone told me that alcohol made them a better Mum. It made them “fun Mum”, “relaxed Mum”. In the same conversation she told me that that her kid had to help her to bed recently because she was so pissed she couldn’t get there herself. I wondered how much of a “fun Mum” she was being then.
I am never one to make people feel shamed but sometimes we do have to look at realities. How is Alcohol effecting our lives and the lives of the little people we are raising?
So many parents tell me that they just ‘love’ alcohol, however, I am pretty sure that nobody ‘loves’ alcohol more than they ‘love’ their kids. Certainly binging often leads us to letting our kids down, them seeing us in terrible states, it leads us to modelling the wrong behaviour hoping to god that they won’t follow our example! And then there’s the being lazy in our parenting thing. Just wishing someone else will put them to bed …and the list goes on. Yet, we still protect alcohol so fiercely, declaring that it’s our friend that we can’t imagine life without it. If we had any other friend making us ditch our parenting standards in front of our kids, we would run for the hills and never speak to that person again. But Alcohols different.
One of the main catalysts to my quitting alcohol was my kids. The very last big binge I session I had my kids saw me vomiting, I also let them down my not following through on the plans we had for that night because I was too drunk and I had to go along with a bullshit story that I had eaten some bad food and that was why I was throwing. For me that was enough to start to really take an honest look at my relationship with alcohol and question if it was really worth it. I knew it was not me. I am a great Mum. I hate to let my kids down. I want to be the best that I can be in that department. I am by no means perfect either but I knew well enough that alcohol was really letting me down as a parent. It wasn’t me, it was the way alcohol made me behave. It was alcohol making me spew my guts up in front of my kids. It was the alcohol that made me let them down. I could never have done those things without alcohol. So am I passing the buck. You bet I am. I know if I never put that poison in my body then that shit won’t be happening ever again. And it never did.
Everyone is different, but I know myself and people I have spoken to that have let their kids down due to alcohol. Maybe it’s, letting them eat shit food because you can’t be bothered to cook them up a decent meal, letting them stay up way too late because you don’t realise nor care that it’s 11pm on a school night. You are slurring your words in front of them. You are too hung over to take them to wherever you promised to take them. They heard you talking about something you shouldn’t have. They saw you doing something questionable. They witnessed another drunken argument with you and your partner. You couldn’t remember putting them to bed. They had to put you to bed! Or you weren’t present enough to protect them when they needed you. Then you have to question. Would that have happened if I wasn’t drinking alcohol? No fucking way!
Our kids deserve the best. They deserve a nutritious meal, to have their teeth brushed, to be loved, to be read a story before bed and tucked in all warm and snug. To be kissed and told they are loved, to be heard and to have a parent that is available to them and who has their back. Parenting is no easy job but, it is the most important one you will ever do.
Having grown up with a parent with substance abuse issues, I lived with that feeling of not knowing what you were going to get when you got home. That horrible feeling when said parent was acting weird or semi-conscious. Hating to be left alone with them.
Things that I experienced growing up that I know would never have surfaced without the substance abuse. Imagine if that same parent had have been grounded, aware, in their body, dealing calmly and honestly with their shit rather than hiding from it behind drugs and alcohol.
What sort of parent do you want to be?
How far are you from being that parent?
What is the main thing getting in the way of you being that parent?
Imagine being that parent that is sold as a rock. That shows up for their kids. That really does their best not to let their kids down. That their kids never have to see in a state that is drunk and foolish. That is never too hungover to get out there and live life with them. Someone that their kids can look up to.