Monday, February 1, 2016

New Year to Talk Early & Talk Often

This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their #TalkEarly 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 proud to be part of the #TalkEarly blogger team this year. 

For the past couple of years, I’ve been working with responsibility.org as part of their #TalkEarly blogging team. I’m doing it again this year for a couple of reasons and I want to share them with you. 

The first reason is that of all the sponsored blogging that I could do, this actually means something to me. They want me to write about the intersection of parenting and an important public health issue, which is perfect for me give that my all my real life jobs are in public health. 

The second reason I’m doing this is because I feel like I have some amends to make. When I first started writing this blog with my friend Kate seven thousand years ago, moms making jokes about wine on the internet and social media was not the same as it is now. There was no Pinterest, there was no Instagram, most of us didn’t know what a “meme” was - or at least I didn’t. 


I joked about “needing” wine so much that almost 7 years later, people I barely know routinely send me emails of things like this:
Frankly, it’s a little alarming how many times I've received this. Please, I’m begging you - stop.
Back when I got started, there were not as many jokes about moms needing wine back when I started blogging, but my kids were also (a) illiterate and (b) unable to go online. I now need to be mindful of these jokes not only because it's more prevalent but because my kids are old enough to pay attention. I didn't have to worry about them grabbing my iPhone and randomly reading stuff on it because they couldn't read and it was 2009 - a year or two before I even had a smartphone.

In those early years, not only did I presented myself as being so into wine that people immediately (and apparently irrevocably) associated me with it, but I helped to create a culture on-line that normalizes moms drinking wine/needing wine/being obsessed with drinking - that makes it all a joke. 

In reality, drinking is not a big deal to many of us, but it should never be a joke. It’s become so ubiquitous on our social feeds that to many of us, we don’t even see it anymore. It’s just more internet noise we scroll past. But it’s there. There’s no denying that our kids see it and internalize how drinking is “funny”.  Moreover our friends who struggle to maintain healthy relationships with alcohol see it all and that has an impact, too. 

That’s why I’m doing this again. When joking about needing wine is socially normalized, it makes it easier for people to ignore that little voice inside them that says - maybe what I’m doing isn’t normal. Maybe I should rethink this. Maybe some changes should be made. 
I’m mindful of my drinking and the example I’m setting for my kids. I enjoy it and it’s part of my life, but not a defining one. I enjoy having a drink but I’m aware of the impact it has on my waistline (specifically my ability to resist late night snacking) and my fuzzy head the next morning at 6:00 am when my alarm goes off (even after 1 glass of wine). I’m just getting old and I have to wake up early these days and I just can’t do it very much anymore. At least not without waking up looking and feeling like this:

Getting old is awesome. Seriously.

I wish that was the social norm on social media. I wish those were the memes I was seeing - because that’s my reality. A hot date for me and my husband usually includes one of us falling asleep 30 minutes into the movie, with an untouched drink on the table next to us. I’d love to see an e-card about how having a delightful night staying up past midnight watching “Fixer Upper” turns me into something resembling the Crypt Keeper the next morning. Because that’s my truth, you guys.

So here’s to another year of talking about drinking honestly with you and our kids, making jokes, and being real. 

Cheers!

Julie

Just in case you missed it the first time, this post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their #TalkEarly 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 proud to be part of the #TalkEarly blogger team this year. 

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