Those of you who regularly read these pages know I have been married more times than Henry VIII, and that not unlike the British Empire, the sun never sets on my various & scattered progeny. An interesting result of this reality is that I’ve lived through a few different Parenting Epochs, and this current one is proving to be quite eye-opening in a specific way.
In the early 2000’s, when my son was only five years old, we’d enjoy frequent trips to the local park, which was walking distance from my coldly expensive and loveless suburban home. At that time – less than twenty years ago – I was pretty much the Pariah of The Park: the lone father among a gaggle of surgically-crafted moms. Obviously, there could only be two reasons I was at a playground at 11:35AM on a Tuesday: 1) I was unemployed; 2) I was a pedophile, and the kid with me was prominently featured on a milk carton. And though one could say that yes, by its very nature, a musician is always unemployed, I was technically neither.
Flash forward barely a decade. I’m taking my daughter to her first day of Kindergarten, and lo and behold, there are dads everywhere. And not just dads who feel it is their obligation to accompany their wives to the kid’s first day of school, but dads whose primary responsibility it is to care for their children. Stay At Home Dads, as it were. And we were welcomed. Smiled at, even. No sign of police, no torch-wielding locals demanding we open the pre-determined dungeons below our mock Eichlers.
All this got me thinking. I’ve always had the deepest respect for stay at home moms. Raising kids and maintaining a household isn’t just hard work, it’s shit work. I mean, literally, it’s the work of cleaning shit from another human being’s body, not to mention all the other equally gross secretions that kids can emanate. It’s no wonder, then, that the whole “Mommy Juice” phenomenon occurred. Moms need a break, too, and why shouldn’t that be the time-honored break that men have always enjoyed: a nice, tall drink or three?
My thinking is that women have always drank the way men do to dull the pain – errr – relieve the stress of their everyday lives. They just had to do it in secret. Pre-feminism, women were not just expected to do it all without complaint, but told to believe their stress was secondary to a man’s, if not simply unfounded. The Mommy Juice movement simply put a name to what was already going on in the privacy of suburban bathrooms & closets nationwide.
So, now that we live in more enlightened times, with couples sharing duties and stay at home dads becoming more prevalent, is there a “Daddy Juice” equivalent? Are dads hitting the sauce harder now, or were they always out in the open, hitting it like a Whack-a-Mole game, because there was never a stigma attached for men? Well, here’s an interesting quote from a 2015 study by Dr. Aaron White of The National Institutes of Health:
“We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males. Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing.”
Equality is an awesome thing, which I’ve spoken of before in these pages. However, it occurs to me that drinking responsibly is perhaps something I haven’t
done in my life talked about enough before. Regardless of our gender, our roles and our responsibilities, we have to understand the difference between recreation and medication. Is there a fine line? Sure. Is it easy to cross? Absolutely. The truth is, none of this is easy: adulting, parenting, working, living. But maybe the key is to ask yourself, next time you’re pouring that 10-ounce glass of chardonnay, am I toasting something, or just getting toasted?
The Emerging Alcoholic Equality Between Men & Women Pairs With: The 2018 Sanford Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills.
Not to come out of the gate like a cheap little bitch, but I bought this bottle for $18 at Ralph’s and the receipt said I saved $22 on my purchase. I don’t know if that was a marketing trick or if the Sanford Rosé normally retails for $40, but I do know I’d never pay $40 for a rosé that didn’t come with a Happy Ending. (It’s $25 on the winery website, BTW). I picked up this particular bottle for its appellation rep and low alcohol, because I wanted to get through the whole bottle and two football games without losing my nachos.
That said, this rosé was just this side of perfection. Dry, but with a strawberry Pop Tart subtlety underlying, I could smell and taste all the Santa Barbara, cool-weather awesomeness that the Santa Rita Hills appellation is known for. And it only got better by the time the NFC Championship came on, developing toasty notes and some of that mushroom funk that’s characteristic of pinot noir.