Last week after watching Dawn O’Porter’s insta stories I was transported back to my ‘getting smashed’ days. If you didn’t see said stories – in a nutshell – she’d gone to a party, got smashed and had (self-admittedly) made a bit of a tit of herself.
The next morning she documented a blow by blow account of her fear and puke ridden hangover. It was pretty compelling, car crash type viewing, which – if I’m completely honest – made me feel very smug about the fact I’ve given up booze, and very grateful not to be suffering the living hell she was obviously going through at the time.
You see, I felt her pain.
Every headachey blink, every heave, every heart palpitation. She was a mess. Unable to get up to look after her kids, work or even eat properly. She was laden with anxiety because of some offensive thing she’d said (which I didn’t think was that bad, actually quite funny) and was struggling through her day trying desperately to feel better and get on with stuff.
Now, I love Dawn O’P. I find her honesty refreshing, her writing brilliant and she’s totally hilarious. However this – for me – was quite uncomfortable viewing. You see, I gave up drinking three months, twenty-six days and thirty-eight minutes ago (not that I’m counting), and so watching those stories made me feel like I was staring right back at the old me.
And it made me feel bad. I felt bad for her. And I felt bad for me.
Because back when I was getting smashed – I’m ashamed to say – there were times that I too was unable to do the school run, and my husband had to step in. There were times when I was so hungover I was unable to work. There were times when I couldn’t stop throwing up and crisps for breakfast was a necessity. Then there was the alcohol induced anxiety, where I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest.
Getting smashed like that didn’t used to happen to me very often, however once every few months is often enough right? So on those days – yes – I think getting smashed did make me a pretty bad mum. Selfish, lazy, introvert, low-energy, tired, grumpy, self-absorbed and non-functioning. It’d be the same with any job I suppose, whether it be – turning up for work as a dentist or starting your shift as a mum.
However, in mine – and Dawn’s – defence, being a mum is the toughest job in the world, and sometimes a good blow out is what’s needed to shake off the stress and the pressures of that responsibility. Isn’t it?
Or is it?
Mums using booze to de-stress is a message, which is constantly being drip fed to us in the media. On social channels we’re bombarded with funny pictures and quotes like – ‘Mummy’s wine o clock’, and memes showing alcohol as a mother’s must have de-stress accessory. I mean – hypocrite alert – I even did it myself when I started blogging last year.
But is all this crap just normalising alcoholism? Making getting smashed all a bit mega LOLZ?
According to the 2010 Nutt report into the ‘Relative Harms of Different Drugs to the Individual’, alcohol is the fourth most harmful drug tested after – crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Imagine setting up an insta account called – hurrah for meth? Posting a funny quote declaring it was – ‘Mummy’s crack o’clock!’ How about a meme of a mum jacking up with the caption ‘Heroin – Mummy’s little helper?’
Makes you shudder right?
But is using alcohol as a way of coping any different really? I’m well aware that I’m risking alienating all you wine loving mums here, and if you haven’t already clicked away – I’m very sorry. Alcohol is not illegal after all, and if you’re in control, and using alcohol in a sensible way then you crack on (no pun intended). This post is not aimed at you.
But to all us smash head mums (former me included) maybe it is time to hold a mirror up and question the nation’s favourite, socially acceptable drug? Maybe it is time to ask ourselves…
Does getting totally smashed make you a bad mum?
There are hundreds of different factors involved in being a good or bad mum. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to do our best with the tools, traits, skills and experiences we have, and so I could never answer that for anyone else. I mean, someone getting totally smashed once every two months can still be an amazing mum. For sure. Equally you could have a mum who never gets smashed, being totally rubbish at motherhood.
Therefore, I will only answer that question for myself and my situation. Did getting smashed make me a bad mum? I’d say – yes. Most definitely.
But does getting smashed make you a bad mum? Well, I’ll leave that up to you.