I quit alcohol after 16 years of drinking. It's hard, but I'm a much better mom now.
- Drinking is ingrained in mommy culture, with memes and funny quotes on glasses.
- I would binge drink on the weekends and pay the price during the week.
I had always been the life of the party, the one who was always down for a good time. Most of those times included alcohol. It was a huge part of who I was. After becoming a mom, I tried to keep up my drinking ways. I thought I could still be the old me, but it felt different. I got drunk faster and with less
My son gave me a new reason to drink. I was proudly inducted into the "mommy wine club," and my reasons to drink changed, too. I deserved to drink because I was a mom.
I was drinking mostly on weekends, and days of hangovers would follow. I was used to the physical sickness; that was always part of my story. It was the mental hangovers that began after I became a parent.
I'd suffer days of regret, shame, and self-loathing. Each week, once the negative feelings disappeared, it was Friday again. I thought I had earned my alcohol. This routine went on regularly until my son was 18 months old.
One day I was at work, in the middle of another emotional hangover, and I read a blog post online in which another mom told her story. It mirrored mine in many ways. She quit drinking, and she was thriving. I reached out to her that day, and the rest is history. I haven't had a drink since.
Since I quit drinking, I've had to figure out who I am without alcohol
Everywhere I go I see wineglasses with sayings such as "Mommy's Juice." I see memes that say, "It's not drinking alone if your kids are home." Before I quit, I bought into the joke. I thought I deserved it because society told me I did. Other parents told me to drink, too. Everywhere on social media, I see moms and dads relaxing with alcohol. I see them clink their glasses, celebrating a night out kid-free.
But I don't see them post about hangovers or regretful things they do while under the influence. I know not all people react the same way I did to alcohol, but when you're only seeing the good moments, it can make you feel alone.
For me to be the best version of myself and the best parent to my son, I had to cut out the booze. I no longer waste my weekends chasing a buzz or being hungover. I'm learning how to deal with stress, without a cocktail crutch.
Toddlers are hard, with or without alcohol
Lately, my 4-year-old son has been a handful. Being a nondrinker doesn't mean I'm a supermom now. I still yell. I have bad days.
Instead of turning to alcohol, to wind down I now write, read books, and listen to podcasts. I go for walks, I prioritize rest, and I go to therapy.
Through all that, I still don't have it all figured out, but it's better than it was before. When I was drinking, I had no self-care activities. Drinking was the activity. Everything else came second.
It's not easy being a parent who doesn't drink
Our society embraces booze for every occasion and for every emotion. Now that I'm on the other side of it, I realize how harmful this can be.
I never knew life existed without alcohol. Since I quit, I've realized how much better my life could be. I'm here to prove that you don't need alcohol to parent. I don't shame anyone who drinks, but I'm loud about my choice to abstain so that other parents don't feel alone.
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