'[...] Happy-hour play dates are here. Between runs to soccer and ballet classes, fund-raisers and homework projects, some stay-at-home mothers are sipping cocktails at afternoon spa parties, drinking bloody marys at play groups and toting wine and wine coolers to parks and friends’ decks while their children frolic nearby.
These women are not out to get drunk, they say. And they insist they are not drinking out of need. Rather, they are looking for a small break from the conventions of mommy-hood — a way to hold on to a part of their lives that existed before they had children and to bond over a shared disdain for the almost sadistically stressful world of modern parenting.
They know they will be criticized. They live, after all, in an age when many parents are so protective, they hire consultants to childproof their homes. Most acknowledge there can be a fine line between social and problem drinking and that the mix of children and alcohol is a dangerous one. And women who are pregnant keep away from the bar.
But some women are almost defiant in their defense of the afternoon group “momtini,” as one blogger calls it, and they speak out on the Web, in books and in interviews. The mothers do not know how many like-minded women are out there — there is no real way to quantify it — but they sense a change.[...]
Suniya S. Luthar, a psychology professor at Columbia University and mother of two, said her research has shown that alcohol and drug use is up among relatively affluent mothers. And there seems to be a reason.
“We are in a position right now where women can feel incredibly disconnected and lonely,” Dr. Luthar said, explaining that the apparent self-medicating she has found in interviews with clinicians and private practitioners and in an online survey could be a dangerous trend. [...]
Dr. Luthar, the psychologist, conceded that drinking together does beat drinking alone, particularly if the women in their groups can “achieve that sense of connectedness, with feelings of being seen, being heard, and of being understood.” Others, though, see alcohol as a risky way to connect. While many of the mothers who defended cocktail play dates claimed that having children underfoot promoted greater restraint, most probably would not tolerate it from hired caregivers. [...]'
Published: November 9, 2006