Drunken Playdates?

This is a topic with which I am completely, utterly unfamiliar.

On The Talk today, the ladies touched briefly on the subject of drinking while on a “playdate”.  Now, I don’t do traditional playdates very often. I don’t get with other moms, whip out our blackberries and day planners, debate over when to meet, for how long, and what snacks will be served.  Most of the time, my friend Jen comes over with her son, and she and I sit at the table and talk while the boys systematically dismantle my basement.  It’s the way that God intended.

But neither of us are really drinkers, so the thought of introducing a glass of wine or a cocktail into the mix never crosses our minds. Maybe hers, but since I don’t drink, it doesn’t cross mine. And I think, if she said, “I’m gonna drink this bottle of Smirnoff Ice (her drink of choice) while they play,” I don’t think I’d have a problem with it. It’s not like she’s drinking the entire case. If I drank, I might mix myself a Mojito, as well.

Well, I was watching that show today, and the ladies brought up the idea of drinking while at a playdate, and is it appropriate?

“Somebody needs to stay stone, cold sober,” was one of the comments.

Well, obviously.  I don’t think anyone thinks that getting rollicking drunk while your kids play Legos in the next room is a great idea.  But is there harm in having a single glass of wine, or a beer while the kids play?

Sharon (Osborne, married to Ozzie-the-Bat-Eater) said that when her children were young, Ozzie was an active alcoholic, so she was very sensitive to the children seeing any kind of alcoholic use at all. I can understand her paranoia, of course. An alcoholic cannot give a balanced example of responsible alcohol use. There is no way that kind of drinking is a good influence on children, and she was right to try and keep it far away from them.

But NO alcohol at all? How does that give a model of good behavior? How does that teach children that yes, an adult can have a glass of something, still remain sober, and have good judgement? When I was young, my parents didn’t drink, but plenty of relatives did. I saw adults having a glass of wine with dinner, or a cocktail in the late afternoon while they sat and talked. It was never hidden, never forbidden, it was simply a fact of life. I grew up and had an occasional sip of Christmas Champagne, or snuck a swig of beer, screwed up my nose, and vowed to NEVER drink that disgusting stuff again. And, aside from my college years, never really did.

But I really think that my family’s responsible attitude toward drinking had a profound influence on me.  As I said, my parents never drank, but they also never shielded me from those who did. When I had questions about it, they were answered frankly. Yes, people can drink too much and that can cause problems. No, you may not have an entire beer, but if you really want to know how nasty it tastes, go ahead and taste.

When did our society become so paranoid about everything? Is this really a nationwide problem, moms getting drunk while their children play? Do you think it’s completely inappropriate to have a glass of wine or a beer at a children’s playdate?

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8 Responses to Drunken Playdates?

  1. SKL says:

    No, I think it is perfectly healthy and normal. I don’t drink because I don’t like the taste of any alcoholic beverage enough to go out of my way to buy it. However, if I liked it, I could and would drink the amount that is safe for me to drink and not lose my judgment. (It might be less than a whole glass of wine in my case – I’m weird that way.)

    My mom used to have a beer while watching TV after dinner, or a glass of wine at dinner. So what? She never acted drunk or lost track of important stuff. We didn’t grow up thinking that we needed to be drinking alcohol to be happy. Far from it – we saw alcohol as just another beverage that could be chosen or not chosen in adulthood.

    I do understand the concern about actual alcoholics, because they might go overboard around the kids and the kids could mistake that as “normal.” Or more likely, they could make poor judgments that lead to problems for their kids, e.g., letting them get away with too much, neglecting basic needs, driving drunk with them in the car (and other careless acts), modeling lying, verbal abuse or even physical abuse. But most of us are not alcoholics. Most of us can imbibe a drink without being dangerous to our kids.

  2. Jenny says:

    I would have no problem with parents having a drink. As long as it stays that way, a drink or 2. And they don’t lose their judgment at all. If it was me, I may have one but I don’t like to drink in front of my son. That’s just me. I prefer to wait until after he goes to bed to enjoy a drink.

  3. Phyllis says:

    Would this be any different than parents having a a wine cooler or beer during a backyard barbeque? NO! What’s wrong with a glass of wine or beer, etc. while the kids are playing? Should the adults allow themselves to get drunk or even buzzed? No, that’s entirely different. Personally I don’t drink, it gives me migraines. But I don’t put up a stink if someone else wants a glass of something. Kids should be allowed to see that adults can drink responsibly. Enough with the paranoia already!

  4. Joy says:

    I saw this program and this is a really good question. I was the most like Sharon Osborne when my boys were little. I never had a beer till they went to bed and all my work and duties for the day were over. I’d pop a top, watch Hart to Hart, Dynasty or Knots Landing and have a couple of beers. I was never able to drink socially. I never drank unless I was finished for the day. Now I can go out to dinner and order a fun drink like a pina coloda or strawberry daiquiri but I never have more than one but I never did this when my boys were young. I’m not really sure why. My dad used to come home everyday from work and open a beer, sit at his desk and go through his mail. He never got drunk but there were certain times of the day or certain activities and you had a cocktail. My mom on the other hand couldn’t just have one beer.

    I think, for me anyway, that it depends on how much alcohol you drink normally. If a person never drinks, alcohol affects them differently. I know for me when I have a fun drink I don’t even feel a buzz from it but I drink alcohol more than some. I have a girlfriend who gets silly and ditsy if she smells a glass of wine because she never has alcohol so in that case, I wouldn’t want her to have a cocktail if she was watching or driving with my child. I know that sounds stupid, if you drink daily you can drink with my child but if you never do, then don’t but alcohol affects other people differently. What you drink, you become accustomed to. You know??

    As far as the siting around all la-di-da having wine while the little ones play?!?! I can’t see that in my life. My boys had friends in the neighborhood come over or they’d ride the bus home with each other for a while and play but we didn’t do the whole “play-date” thing and I would never have thought to sit and have a drink at that time. I was getting supper ready or doing laundry but sitting and having cocktails watching them play is just something that I can’t really relate to.

    I guess us moms didn’t do the “play-date” thing with our kids. If they went somewhere, they went without us. Does that sound weird in this day and time? Come on Phyllis. Did you do play-dates with your kids like this where having a glass of wine would come up?

    Now on the other hand. Do I think alcohol should be hidden from kids or treated like it was illegal or something? Absolutely not. I think having a drink is okay. I think it’s fine to have a cocktail in front of your kids. I just didn’t do it like that but I don’t think it should be hidden like there’s something wrong with having drinks. I let my boys have a beer when they were well too young to be having one but we were usually at our cabin where I knew they’d be for the night. I do feel kids need to learn to drink before they’re old enough to go out and make ass’s of themselves. Some of them may do it anyway but you can only try 😉

    • Phyllis says:

      No, Joy, back in the day, we didn’t do the play date thing. The kids went outside, usually to Laura’s back yard, but all three yards pretty much joined so it didn’t matter much which one they were in. I was also a different person then, and I didn’t really socialize with the neighbors. I was pretty much the only single mom on the block back then, so I kept myself to myself when I was home from work. So, no, the question of having a drink didn’t really come up, but still, I really don’t see how it’s any different than watchin a sport on t.v., with the kids in another room and having a beer or wine cooler. Same difference as far as I can see.

      • Phyllis says:

        I think you’re right on target when you say if a kid’s going to try a drink it should be at home. With parental supervision and care, because that way they do learn to be responsible and learn the difference between having a drink and getting drunk.

  5. SKL says:

    I do understand how even if you do drink, you may not feel like doing around the kids. I don’t even snack around my kids unless they are snacking too. I just feel funny eating or drinking in front of them when they can’t have any (and I don’t like the idea of them “picking” or snacking all day long). I always thought that was just one of my weirdisms. I wait until they go to sleep or go to school before I eat/drink something I don’t plan to share with them. The exception is coffee. Gotta have my coffee!

  6. Nikki says:

    Drunken playdates are wrong, yes. Having A drink while your kids play, in my opinion is just fine. I never hid having a beer or two in front of Bailey, but he never ever saw me drunk. I don’t get “drunk” anymore…that was a phase of my life I am glad to see gone! But that was designated for night time and out with friends.

    I never had playdates when Bailey was little. The only one that would come over was Trinity, but that’s because I babysat her and I’d never drink then. As he got older and made friends from school, he’d have them over but the parents never stayed and having a drink never crossed my mind. I don’t think it is wrong though if they did stay and we had a drink, or a beer.

    Jason is not and never has been much of a drinker, and I’m not anymore either. When we go to friends’ houses now, we do generally have a drink or two. It’s never anything more. Bailey knows that there is nothing wrong with having a drink or two. I’d be a fool to think he’ll never drink in his life so teaching him to do it in a responsible way is the best thing we can do.

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