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It's not about the drinking, Meredith.

Last week at the doctor, I answered all the normal questions about my health and bodily functions with all the same answers I have every year, because I'm a lucky, healthy person with very few physical ailments. When the nurse got to the family history and behavioral questions, Has anyone in your family ever had a stroke? Or heart disease? Or breast cancer? and all of my answers were basically "nope," she had her hand poised over the "NO" box, happily checking away, and when she got to Do you smoke? and I gave my trusty "nope" she kept her head down while she read the standard list of questions and practically checked "NO" before I even responded. And then she got to the final question, Do you drink?, and let's just say she should use a pencil when filling out that form, and maybe also ear plugs, because as she robotically checked "NO," I busted out a hearty, "UH, YEAH!! I HAVE TWO KIDS, REMEMBER?" I thought this was hilarious, but then immediately felt guilty because her quick sideways look at me and her lack of even the slightest grin clued me in to the fact that she didn't understand that I was joking -- joking about my hedonistic alcoholic lifestyle, and about the poor, neglected children amazingly still in my care after years of being parented by people who drink wine and margaritas IN THEIR PRESENCE. ALMOST DAILY. She didn't ask about cocaine, THANK GOODNESS. Imagine the glare I would have gotten over that one.

It hit me a little at the time, enough that I even mentioned it to John, but I forgot all about it until I saw this setup interview between Slanty McSlantsALot Meredith Vieira and Melissa Summers today.

Here's what I want to say:

Dear Today Show,

You suck.


But that really doesn't do this subject justice, although I'm not sure I ever even could. Furthermore, I normally don't get into subjects that 1.) originated from Blogland (because I don't consider myself part of the crowd, per se, etc. etc. blah blah you don't want to hear this) or 2.) are related to the blommy boars *shudder.* But in this case, I'm loosening my rule reins. How can I not? I know thousands of people will be talking about this and everyone will be so sick of hearing about it, but COME ON. Did you watch the video? The shots of the kids playing behind the large, looming glasses of wine? The clip of the woman saying she'd love to see a mom who doesn't drink while hanging out with her kids 15 hours a day so she could determine whether or not "she's a great mom" (I'm sure this is very indicative of the response you'd get from any parent who drinks...yeah)? The question, "would you let a group of babysitters drink while watching your kids?" and the unbelievably harsh, aggressive, and mostly STUPID follow-up, "well, you don't want THEM drinking, so what's the difference when YOU do it?"?

What is this crap? Is this honestly something we're concerned about? The "growing trend" of "moms who drink at playdates"? Who says it's a growing trend, anyway? It's not a growing trend. I'll tell you what's a growing trend: Playdates, and titling them as such. Socialization between adults who have children at any age has become completely warped. U.S. middle class adults are expected to center their entire lives around their kids. Parties and get-togethers have turned into Playdates and Little Gym classes: regular social outings specifically for and because of the kids - there is no other purpose (so if you meet a new friend who is there with his/her child, just accept the fact that this isn't about you, and focus on your kid, you narcissistic jerk). So extreme is this warped, Puritanical, surreal mentality that now if any adult socialization is ever combined with the Social Life By, For, and Of the Children, it is seen as taboo, selfish, irresponsible - so much so that there are articles written about it and morning show interviews with questions and scenarios and condescending facial expressions from famous TV personalities that reinforce, in case any of us had missed it, that our kids are not the number one priority, OUR IMAGE IS.

So, dads? You don't count. Only moms take care of kids. And they do so with no help from anyone, because moms are super duper amazing people whose abilities you could never master. That's why if you have a beer while watching a game in the same room with your kids, it's not really a big deal - because no one expects anything of you anyway! But moms who get together with some friends and drink a glass of wine while their kids play nearby should be labeled as irresponsible and selfish - not actually because they're drinking, even though that's what we'll make this pathetic argument all about, but because they're daring to have a social function - I'll go so far as to say even that they're daring to do anything at all during waking hours - that isn't 100% centered around the under 18 crowd. This is not part of the acceptable image for a U.S. middle class parent. U.S. middle class parents are all female (dads, see above). U.S. middle class parents are their children's business managers and administrative assistants, "on the job" if you will, where socializing with adults is slacking off and cheating, and drinking is just the straw that breaks the camel's back, that makes this entire argument somehow seem legitimate by playing on the lingering Puritan guilt complex around any pleasurable experience.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go. I'm leaving work to see the father of my children, the one who stays home and cares for them the majority of the time. And we're probably going to go somewhere that WE like for dinner, dragging along the kids who are undoubtedly dirty and cold and thankful to be allowed to whimper quietly in the booth next to the gruel we'll shove distractedly at them while we drink irresponsibly, right before we throw them in the back of the pickup and swerve home in time to pass out. Hopefully they'll figure out how to bathe themselves.

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