Friday, 7 November 2014

Day 34 - Bottle of wine a nighter's club

I know a lot of people like me. In fact, most of the women I know are like me. The bottle-of-wine-a-night'ers. Grab a bottle when on the way home from work, cos, you know wine doesn't KEEP. Open it as take your jacket off, grab a glass pour some wine and then on with the dinner. I cook most days, mostly from scratch its nutritious for my family to eat heathly food around the table, or sometimes if we're all naughty in front of the TV. But, that's a treat. I look after my family. I always did. Then I open the wine and I look after me. By the way if we've company there's one bottle for me, one for the guests (cos of course we're not alkies) and hopefully they'll bring some. But MY secret wine, stays a secret. Its my medicine, my coping mechanism they aint getting that.

When the kids were little they got in a bit earlier, we did homework, had an early dinner and then out came the wine, sometimes before bath time, mostly after. Sometimes before bed-time, mostly after. They got older, sometimes I drank in front of them but not often. But, a glass or two of wine after dinner and watching some TV, at home, or at a friends house, that's pretty normal right? A bottle or so would always disappear.

I like many of my friends drank every day. Its only wine right? Its what everyone I know does, we drink wine. When I met my (third) husband, he was surprised at the 'in the house' drinking. Its not part of his social culture, yup he could drink 10 pints in the pub, but drink at home, never. I was wondering if it was a 'lady' thing, I'm not trying to be sexist, just curious. I remember I told him, all my friends do to, if we didn't drink at home, where on earth would we, kids need so much, friends to see, practices, football club, netball club, cello lessons, concerts, PTA, guides, brownies, band practice. You name it, we do it. We bake, we sew, we nurture, we grow food, we huff and puff on bikes around the park and that's often after a full days work. So later on when the little darlings have been tucked up in their pj's we pull out the chardonnay and chink-chink ourselves for getting through another day.

I tell you what this being modern parent is fab, don't get me wrong but sometimes its bloody exhausting and draining. Does all this charging about like a lunatic do much for our kids. Well both of mine are shuffled off to university as 'rounded' human beings. Would that have been any different without all the clubs/ferrying-to-and-fro/playdates/home cooked meals? Or would they have been any different if I didn't drink?

Maybe who knows, I can't know now. Don't get me wrong I'm not moaning I love my kids, they were planned and I'm there for them whatever the next adventure whether its a punk band or late night pick ups, in fact so much I even stayed off wine the night that the Harry Potter last book was released to go and join the queues and get it at midnight. (and yes of course I drank after, but I stayed off the wine til gone midnight goddamit, I'm that good a parent, I even took my pal and her kids too....) But, even with parenting for Scotland, as many of my chums do, do we just expect too much of ourselves? Is that the bottom line.

Was it as hard for our own mothers? We never had alcohol in the house when we were growing up, just wasnt' part of the culture, you went to the local 'social' club when you wanted a drink and that was at the weekends.

Of course loads has been written about 'mothers little helper' in the 60-70's when Valium was one of the most prescribed drugs for women to cope with the pressures of family life. 

Different era, different drug? 

Then again maybe we didn't have booze in the house cos my father was an alcoholic? I don't think I ever saw my Mum drink until she got re-married. She still doesn't have alcohol in the house.

A while back, my brother came up to stay for a while. My family are serious coffee heads they drink around 7-10 cups a day, two sugars and milk. When he came to stay I was still  in my 'normal' drinking phase. It surprised him I drank in the evening at home. It surprised him that I drank every day and then got up and did the whole kid/school/work/life thing. He said he'd never hack it. 

I told him he was a wimp, as you do, he's my little brother. All my friends do it, its just normal I told him. Its the first time I remember thinking, hmm, I don't want him to see my drinking and disapprove, I started drinking my wine from a tea mug. You know, just so I'd look like I was a bit more normal when he was about. I also started buying only one bottle, I was moderating, or at least my version of it and boy did that make me grumpy. I always wanted more. 

In reality most of my RL friends drink, many as much as me, a few maybe only at the weekends, I'm not in their houses, I don't see their non-social lives. I told a drugs/alcohol counsel team today I drank at least a bottle of wine a day, sometimes two, for most of the past 20 years (3 years off for kids I guess). She seemed surprised, she didn't judge. I told her its just what all my friends did. It was our 'off switch', our coping strategy. It was just normal. Or maybe I just surrounded myself more with folks with a decently stocked wine shelf in the fridge?

Seemingly there's a trend in women in their forties which Lucy at 'A hangover free life' has talked about today. Its an interesting read.  The initial report author cites 'laddette' behaviour increased drinking in early twenties/thirties as a potential cause of the trend in women. I guess it might be that but is part of it also the 'mothers little helper' syndrome, pressured female lives, bringing in the bacon and cooking a delicious meal for it for the family between full on play-dates/meetings/brain expansion of our kids through modern activities?

I haven't a clue, with or without kids would I have drunk, who can tell. I just know that whether I drink or not, whether my friends do or not. I just know when it comes to alcohol and the limited dalliance I've had with Vallium, I have a broken off switch. I just don't know when to stop.

As to Lucy's question - is the rise in drunk driving incidents or increased positive breath tests  for women in the UK due to increased tolerance to drink? Most women talked to drank at home or in their friends homes. Just like me. Just like my friends. Like Lucy I've never been stopped for drunk driving, have I been over limit in the early mornings, probably. 

Lucy  says. 'Are these women over the limit because they have a higher tolerance to booze as they have been drinking for a larger part of their adult life and therefore underestimate the amount they are drinking because they don’t feel drunk therefore putting them over?'

I think probably. What do you think? Why not pop over and tell her? One of the strangest things I remember from my pal being here recently is that she had around 12 units (of course I was counting I wanted to drink too but couldn't) and she seemed so normal. She drove home the next day 300 miles. Was she over the limit? She didn't leave til later, she never does leave early, maybe she wasn't by the time she left. I'm not judging at all, just wonder how normal 12 unit a day became in my body/life.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.


  1. If I could have been a bottle of wine a nighter I would have been once I had kids. Definitely was before kids but my off switch got seriously wonky after kids and the moderating hard started. I knew a bottle was too much so managed it by only drinking 2/3rds and having something else before - G&T/cider/beer. Delusions abounded! ;) Thanks for extending the conversation about women and rising drink driving convictions :) xx

  2. Do you think they give out wonky off switches to some of us unluckier ones?

    I'd never have the willpower to put an open bottle of wine away, but I hear you on the other stuff.

    The driving convictions article was interesting, thanks for sharing it, you share so many great articles.

    And, thanks for managing to survive all this ranty long blogs I do. I really appreciate that you've been there for me Lucy xx