The Rethink Your Drinking campaign has me thinking. Thinking about standard drink sizes, the long and short term health effects of alcohol use and when zero alcohol is the limit. It also has me thinking about my kids.
When I reflect on alcohol use and parenting; I like to think I have it covered. I’ve had the talk; no drinking and driving, no drinking until legal age, I have a “call us, no questions asked” policy. Check, check, check.
But wait, there is so much more to consider.
My husband arrived home from a weekend across the border with candy for the kids and a bottle of rye for me. A bottle big enough to carry me and 20 friends through until his next year’s weekend away. I jokingly hugged it; which is what I generally do when I am given a gift (okay I will also rub it on my cheek, but I’m sure I didn’t do that this time). Now, fast forward one month. We are at a shopping mall and there is a giant billboard with said bottle clearly displayed… cue my 5 year old (hollering from several feet away) “Hey, Mommy, look! It’s your favourite present!” Gulp. Floor. Swallow. Me. Up. NOW.
How many times have I joked with little ones nearby “Mama needs a drink”? How about the cooler for a day at a backyard picnic; filled to the brim with juice boxes nestled in next to “mommy’s cider” and ‘daddy’s beer”?
Have I made it seem like I use alcohol to manage my stress? Have I romanticised alcohol for my children? Does fun need to be equated with a stocked cooler?
I see it on TV, read it in the media and hear it in my social circles. Alcohol is the reward for getting through another day as a parent.
I try my best to role model healthy eating, an active lifestyle, kindness to others…I think it’s time for me to be more aware about demonstrating a healthy relationship with alcohol.
The low-risk drinking guidelines help to protect you from dependency, the long and short term health effects and yes; it protects your children too. They need you and you have the choice in your hands. Your health, their future, their future health. Ask yourself; what am I teaching the kids in my life? Take some time to check out the Rethink Your Drinking website. What will it get you thinking about? You may be surprised.
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For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.