Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's time to refresh my funny

Please note that this meme has nothing to do with wine.
Check out this pinterest board for more funnies.
This year, I’m working with as one of their #TalkEarly bloggers. The point of this partnership is to help families have ongoing conversations about drinking and alcohol. In May, they’re focusing on a campaign called #RefreshYourFunny. It’s a month-long effort to get us thinking about what we're sharing on social media - specifically, all the mommy and drinking memes. So this month, I’m not going to be sharing memes or cracking jokes about mommy juice or drinking.

Maybe this seems like a huge change for me, or maybe you’ve noticed that it’s actually been changing for some time. A couple of years ago, we ran a guest post about drinking called “The Domestic Enemies of Recovering Alcoholic Mom”.

It made me question the impact the ‘mommy juice’ jokes and memes were having on all of us across the spectrum - from social drinkers to non-drinkers to people in recovery to those actively struggling with addiction. All of a sudden, when hundreds of people would share things with me or tag me on things that were alcohol related, I was taken aback. OH MY GOD. Why do thousands of people associate me so closely with drinking and wine? Because I’m a dummy and I’ve spent the last couple of years making wine the punchline of every other joke. Once all of that clicked into place and I became aware of it, it changed my perspective.

When Kate and I started this blog almost 6 years ago, we joked about drinking ALL THE TIME. In 2009, the messages, jokes and memes about “Mommy needs a drink!” or “Perfect motherhood is for suckers!” were novel and refreshing (for lack of a better word). At least they were to me.

When I saw those jokes, I felt like they were a response to a set of cultural expectations that put way too much pressure on women as new mothers, at a time when we’re exhausted and physically and emotionally vulnerable. When my kids were 6 years younger, my life was completely different than it is now. That one hour a night with a glass of wine after they went to bed and I got to just be me for a second - it was all different. Those memes and messages seemed like a rallying cry and a way for us all to find a laugh and some common ground.  But over time, the wine jokes became so pervasive on social media that they ceased to be novel and just kind of became background noise. When you hear the same joke too many times, it's just not as funny.

Now that my kids are older, I’ve also reached a point where I’m hyper aware that it if I post eCards that are like: “WOOO HOOO MOMMY IS GETTING DRUNK!!” and then earnestly tell my newly middle school-age kids and their friends “You may not drink until you’re 21 and then you must always drink responsibly” - I’m not just sending a mixed message. I’m teaching my kids not to trust the things I say about drinking, or anything else.

While none of my kids are social media users yet, they all know what Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are. They all snuggle on the couch with me and look over my shoulder as I scroll through my feeds. They ask who that cute baby is, they ask to click on cat videos, they want to read every eCard that scrolls past.

So even though my kids don’t use social media now - it’s still part of their world.  The older they get, the bigger the impact it’s going to have. My feeds have become fair game for them, and their friends. My oldest child turns 12 this spring and my youngest can now read - things are changing in our house. It really hits home that my example is only one part of the picture that influences my kids’ attitudes. I know that eventually, I will cease to control the narrative that influences their behavior in regards to drinking, social media, and a lot of other things. It means we're having a lot of discussions now.

So that’s why I totally support this campaign. I’ve done some thinking about the impact all my jokes about drinking have - personally and collectively, and that's been really helpful for me.

Here's a video about #RefreshYourFunny. It's pretty on point.

This post is sponsored by as part of their #TalkEarly and #RefreshYourFunny campaigns, encouraging families to talk early, talk often, and be healthy. All the opinions are my own because no one is the boss of me. I'm very, very proud to be part of the #TalkEarly blogger team this year. 

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