How many times have we heard, “Mommy/Daddy I NEED (insert random thing here)” and replied “No, you want that. There’s a difference between needs and wants”?
Is that a common conversation at your house yet? It’s a big one for us lately. My nine year old loves to tell me he NEEDS a gaming mouse. My 7 year old daughter apparently NEEDS a fresh bottle of glittery purple nail polish.
So tell me… have you ever caught yourself saying you “need” a glass of wine or beer or other alcoholic beverage in front of your kids or even just in casual conversation with other adults? I sure as heck have. And, of course, it’s not that I actually did “need” one. I wanted one. And it’s ok to want to have a glass of wine when you’re an adult, but that’s totally different than needing one. And words matter.
This is the 3rd year I’ll be involved with Talk Early and the Foundation For Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, and it’s an ambassadorship I am honored to have. You can read more about why it means so much to me here.
Last October, we met in Washington, D.C. for a summit, and all the ambassadors got together to talk about cliches we are so over. Social media has worn out “Mommy needs wine/vodka/a stiff drink” and yet it persists.
And hey, like I said, I’ve totally been guilty of relying on this old joke in the past. It wasn’t until I started being more intentional about my language involving alcohol around my kids that I realized what message it could be sending them and also the message it could be sending new parents who read my blog and follow me on social.
Parenthood does not require alcohol to survive and thrive. Moms and dads don’t NEED a drink to make it through colic or teething. And normalizing over-use of alcohol as a coping technique is not only cliche, it’s dangerous.
Again, I’m not saying that stuff doesn’t make you want to have a drink, but there’s a difference between needs and wants.
April is Alcohol Responsibility Month, and you may think your baby or child is too young for this to matter to you just yet, but I encourage you to start thinking about your language surrounding your own alcohol use. The whole premise of the Talk Early program is that talking about alcohol around and with your children from early ages makes a big difference when it comes to how and when they will responsibly choose to drink. Responsibility.org has so many fantastic resources if you are wondering what to say.
They don’t need to hear that their tantrums are the reason you NEED a drink. They DO need to hear you talking about how and when you choose to responsibly drink, if you do.
And while we’re at it, can we get rid of the rest of these awful cliches? Which one of these is the most annoying to you? Or did we miss the parenting cliche you are most tired of?
I am a paid ambassador for #TalkEarly. This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org.