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I Became a Boozer on Maternity Leave

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I just became a mom for the first time, and while on maternity leave, I did some crazy things --  and I'm not referring to wearing the same spit-up covered sweats for a week, or forgetting to brush my teeth ....

Mom with baby and cocktail drink

Notes From a New Mom: As a brand-new mom, I was so incredibly frazzled and stressed out during my time at home with my newborn. There were moments I was so hungry, I would take sips of formula from her bottle just to tide me over. The sleep deprivation made me insane, hazy, forgetful. Add to that cleaning the house, doing the dishes and laundry, going to the market, fixing dinner and sending out announcement cards .... It was enough to drive a person to drink.

And that I did. Every day at 4:30, I'd crack open a bottle of wine or make a cocktail. It was a moment I looked forward to every afternoon. I had never been a big drinker before, but this was truly the only way I could get through my day. Baby's bath time became my cocktail hour, and it was as regular and routine as that.

I know some new moms have real drinking problems. I'm not making light of that. My daily cocktail was medicinal, like a tonic. But one drink never turned into two, three or six.

Am I ashamed of my one-drink-a-day routine during maternity leave? Not really. In fact, I'd recommend it to any new mom. It helped me feel better about being in the house all day with greasy hair, changing dirty diapers, and it took away some of my anxiety. My baby took solace in her bottle, and so did I.

Of course, I wasn't getting drunk in front of my baby. She was absolutely fine. In fact, I think I became a better mom with a little buzz on. I was less stressed, more calm and definitely happier. Some people pop Xanax; I chose a drink. 

Now that I'm back to work, my 4:30 cocktail hour has been replaced with my one-hour daily commute. And when I finally get home, breathing in the smell of my newborn baby is intoxicating enough for me.


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19 comments so far | Post a comment now
lisa February 18, 2010, 8:59 AM

oh my god. I have been doing the same exact thing everyday around 4pm. it’s like a nice break in your day like Ok, it’s almost over! I mean I love my baby so much but it’s HARD being a stay at home mom!

Jillian February 18, 2010, 11:13 AM

Sounds like you aren’t exactly enjoyning motherhood. At least you aren’t breastfeeding.

th February 18, 2010, 11:36 AM

Jillian, its very rude for you to make the comment that shes not “exactly enjoying motherhood”. Just cause shes stressed out does not mean she does not enjoy being a new mother. Shame on you for making that comment! WE all go through stress as a new mom. I went from being a model living out of a suitcase to being a stay at home mom for the first year of my sons life. definitely a climate change! So pull the pickle out ur arse, i’m sure there are many 1st time moms who can relate to her.

chris February 18, 2010, 11:54 AM

Even though I didn’t start drinking after I had my 1st or 2nd child, I can tell you that I counted down the minutes each time until my husband came home and I could hand over the baby for a while. I was home for only 6 weeks with my 1st and 12 weeks with my 2nd and both times, I was more than ready to go back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I love love love my kids but being with them 24/7 is very hard. Make sure you take the time to take care of yourself and maybe find a more constructive way (excerise, girls night out etc…) to help relieve stress. Remember, like dogs who smell fear, babies can smell stress. :-)

Chrissy February 18, 2010, 12:29 PM

I agree with Jillian. The poster doesn’t sound like she enjoyed motherhood.
Nobody becomes a better parent when they “have a buzz” on.
Hasn’t anyone seen the PSA “Buzz Driving IS Drunk Driving”.
Being “buzzed” around an infant is NOT OKAY.
Having A drink is not the problem. It’s what the alocohol is doing, making you buzzed, tipsy, under the influence.
It’s easy to understnad with lack of sleep, little food and chronic exhaustion that 1 drink will do that.
If a drink made you a happy parent, then you did not enjoy being home with your child. A perosn should have been able to be happy without drugs (Xanax) or alocohol (wine, cocktail).

not ok February 18, 2010, 1:18 PM

i’ve done this before, and it’s not ok. i had an overwhelming sense of “being on vacation” on maternity leave. i’m sorry, taking care of a new baby isn’t that hard, and if it’s “just too much for you” you shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place. it’s a bridge to other issues, and they can become bigger than yourself in a heartbeat. only you really know how much you can handle. so really, be honest with yourself. does it make you happy to look back on maternity leave as the time in your life that made you want to drink? sounds pretty sad to me.

Jenny February 18, 2010, 1:35 PM

Jillian—-get over yourself. I’m a new mom and I’ve done the same thing. And, having one drink is not going to influence your breast milk. Ask your doctor if you don’t believe me.

jackie February 18, 2010, 1:55 PM

IS NOT ENJOYING MOTHERHOOD? A little judgmental there Jillian? Just because someone is stressed doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying motherhood. She’s just being honest — MOST of us have or ARE doing this— whether it is because of a newborn or because of a terrible job.

nai February 18, 2010, 2:14 PM

goodness when did mothers become so holy and judgemental? she doesn’t enjoy motherhood because she has a drink? spare me…i am in the same club, that one drink helps with the sanity..and if moms can’t admit that being surrounded by lack of sleep, dishes, laundry, and the pressure to be happy, perky and the perfect mom isn’t daunting…well then, maybe it is just me and her..:)

Anonymous February 19, 2010, 5:02 AM

Jillian, Chrissy and NOT OK - good for you for being absolutely perfect! I’m sure your kids think you are just the perfect moms (not) And Jillian - yet another show of your ignorance, even if you are breastfeeding you can still have wine - just pump and dump.

One drink per day is absolutely fine baby or no baby.

Anonymous February 19, 2010, 7:36 AM

babies will do that to ya!

anothermom February 19, 2010, 7:41 AM

to “NOT OK”…
ok first of all wow on your statement of “taking care of a new baby is not that hard.” Seriously? seriously? That sounds like one of the most ignorant statements i have heard in a very long time. And to say what is not definitely not ok..is you as a mom saying that to another mom. Every mom is different…and EVERY mom has their difficulties with being a first time or even second, third time parent. We as moms need to lift each other up…not make each other feel inadequate or like they cant handle being a new parent. It is overwhelming and full of emotions when we become a parent..to say that its not that hard..is down right ridiculous.

Jennifer A February 19, 2010, 9:41 AM

Jillian, Chrissy and NOT OK, I’ll send my kids to live with you since it sounds like fantasyland around your houses. I did not drink when at home with my kids on maternity leave, but did enjoy when my husband came home from work so I could shower and pee in peace for the 20 minutes or so I got alone a day. No, I DO NOT enjoy every minute of being a mom, but I thought it was ok to be human. Guess not around here.

Maria February 20, 2010, 8:43 AM

Goodness, everyone getting so worked up. Everyone is just giving their own differnet opinions which we all have. No parent is ever perfect. However if my friend told me she was drinking everyday in order to deal with her baby, I would be concerned. I would certainly not just recommend more stress and wasted time by “pumping and dumping”

Chrissy February 22, 2010, 6:52 PM

Thank you Maria, you wrote it better than I did.
I stand by my remark that the 1 drink wasn’t the problem - it was that “Notes From A New Mom” stated it made her a better, happier parent,
You shouldn’t need the influence of alochol to be a better, happier parent.
And to those attacking myself, Jillian and Not Okay - where did we ever say that where perfect?

H March 5, 2010, 11:15 AM

It’s okay to have 1 drink a day. They say even when you are pregnant that a glass of wine is good. (I’m not a drinker myself but) I as anyone else knows a drink a day is not the end of the world but stress is. It’s not healthy even remotely to be completely stressed out. And for those of you who are saying negative things about it, I can understand where you are coming from as well…well in a way at least. I understand why you shun it and it’s mainly because of how “drinking” is always brought up in the media. It’s always overdone instead of having a healthy balanced ammount which is what these women are having. A healthy balanced ammount.

asinglemomintx March 18, 2010, 11:21 PM

@anothermom, I totally agree w your statement and thx for posting that! some of these comments are so judgemental. I recall the early days of my daughters life and it was extremely taxing. I too have a cocktail or two, and I was NOT ever “drunk”! none of you ladies considered the fact that some have higher tolerance levels. furthermore, if that is what took the edge off for her…more power to her! different strokes for different folks, live and let live!

asinglemomintx March 18, 2010, 11:22 PM

@anothermom, I totally agree w your statement and thx for posting that! some of these comments are so judgemental. I recall the early days of my daughters life and it was extremely taxing. I too have a cocktail or two, and I was NOT ever “drunk”! none of you ladies considered the fact that some have higher tolerance levels. furthermore, if that is what took the edge off for her…more power to her! different strokes for different folks, live and let live!

Stun Guns December 29, 2010, 6:30 PM

In theory, the so-called “quantitative easing” program was intended to keep interest rates low and to reflate asset prices, by driving investors into riskier investments. He also said he didn’t agree with the Fed’s decision to embark on the program.


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