Project Optimism: Mommy Juice

Do I have a drinking problem? The simple answer is no. But the more complex the-toddlers-are-always-watching answer could be perhaps??

Before we go any further, please note: I am in no way making fun of alcoholism. It’s a disease, one that has punched people I love in the face, so don’t think I’m making light of it. I’m not.

I, am, however, making fun of myself. So let’s continue, shall we?

This weekend, the fam and I attended a party for my BFF’s three-year-old daughter. Unfortunately for my friend, her birthday girl thought 4:30 am was the perfect time to start the party, and by the time her guests arrived, she was in no mood for a celebration. Things were tense. She was angry, frustrated, and on the verge of a meltdown for the majority of her party. And the toddler was in a mood, too.

At one point my pal and I stole away to the kitchen to pour some wine  into nondescript red plastic cups, and, of course, were promptly interrupted by one of the kids. I forget which. They all blend after a while. We whispered some inappropriate things under our breath before returning to the other guests.

The second I put my cup down, my daughter came shooting over demanding she have a sip. I explained that it was Mommy’s and that she could have her juice box. As was expected, she threw herself on the floor, crossed her arms over her chest, and screamed. Whatevs. I had my wine.

Jumping to a different scenario:

When I asked my son which cup he wanted to take to the babysitter’s, the convo went down like this:

Him: Oh, I fink (think) I’ll take a wine glass.

He headed toward the dining room cabinet where we keep our fancy glasses (ones that aren’t chipped, don’t have pictures of 1970s football players, or have come from a McDonalds promotion circa 1984), until I stopped him:

Me: HA!! Not an option. How about your Cars cup?

Him: It’s okay, just take the lid off and I’ll drink from the bottle.

Yes, he meant the wine bottle. WTF?

Mommy Juice

Turns out this is yet another thing to add to the Parenting is Hard list: Little eyes actually pay attention to what’s in our cups! Who woulda thunk it?! Try as we might to mask it in a plastic party cup or pour it into a juice glass at dinner, the kids know wine. Would I be a better parent if I called it Mommy Juice? Would I be the best parent if I didn’t indulge in a glass of red at Sunday family dinners? Is it really that bad that when the Weather Channel mentioned a blue moon my kid informed everyone that Mommy likes her Blue Moon with a piece of orange?


How is this related to Project Optimism? I’ve been wondering that, too. Hmmm…because I refuse to lie to my kids or shelter them to the point where they’ll be tempted to take a swig from the Communion cup at church just to get their buzz on? If Jesus drinks wine, so can I.

Author Signature


  1. Amen sister!

  2. vernette says:

    “If Jesus drinks wine, so can I.” Amen!

  3. Janine Huldie says:

    I see nothing wrong, because if you are wrong then so am I!!

  4. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Hell my gma’s answer for any kind of ailment is a shot of vodka. And it worked; in HS all my friends wanted to try it but between the vodka and manaschevitz wine(sp?) at holidays, it was no big thing for me.

  5. Dani Ryan says:

    I call it “mommy’s happy juice”. :) And NO, you do not need to cut back. Because if YOU do, then I do, and that’s just not good news for anybody!


    (I swear I’m not already drinking…)

  6. Penny Roach says:

    Not sure how old your kids are (I’m guessing pretty young) but my youngest is now almost 14. Trust me…he is glad that Mom likes her glass of wine. As long as I don’t drink it to the point of wearing the lampshade on my head while his friends are over, he has no problem with it. In fact, when we’re out getting groceries, he’ll even remind me to pick some up! Me thinks I’ve taught him well!

    • Penny, my kids are just about 2 and 4, and I can only hope that once they’re your son’s age they’re reminding me to get my drink on ;) (Love the line about wearing the lampshade on your head! BAHAHAHA!)

  7. Stephanie, you have no idea how much I could relate to this post! When my daughter was four, she saw me drinking wine from a nice crystal glass and inquired about the contents. I told her it was “mommy juice.”

    I thought nothing of it, until the other day, when I heard her explaining mom’s special drink to my three year old son. Even so, I don’t believe a glass of wine with dinner is sending kids the wrong message. How else are we supposed to sit through the last meal of the day together?

  8. Carisa Miller says:

    My 3 1/2 year old loves to suggest I have a glass of wine…of course she also loves to serve me imaginary tea and peanut butter sandwhiches made from bristle blocks, but I do think she notices I relax a little if I have a glass and that it is to her advantage.
    I’m with you on letting the kids know what’s what. Telling them what you have in your cup gives you the in to talk about it honestly and build the foundation for future, more serious talks, on the dangers associated with alcohol consumption.

  9. Meredith says:

    Ah! I love this! I was pouring a drink over the weekend and my son asked if it was “my medicine”. I couldn’t lie, so I said yes ;)

  10. littlemisswordy says:

    Okay…I’ll share my funny wine story, and testament to how much my husband and I love our wine. On our recent trip to Bermuda, my in-laws were watching the kids. My son told my mother-in-law that we had bought two bottles of her favorite wine because we didn’t want her to drink the good stuff! LOL!

  11. Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. says:

    OMG, you are hilarious! You are such a funny writer and a captivating storyteller. If I’d been at that party with you, I’d have toasted you with my crappy red cup. There were so many things I loved about that post I lost count. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

  12. So here’s my take on the alcohol thing… My opinon and choice only. I don’t drink much in front of my kids. Here’s why: I drink to get tipsy and sometimes drunk. Not excessively, but on Friday and/or Saturday night I like to get really tipsy, act silly, relax and spend some “quality time” with Hubs. (Please note I don’t need alcohol for quality time;) That is the only reason I don’t drink in front of my kids most of the time. I dont’ like wine so I don’t have it with dinner. I am a margarita or whiskey and diet coke kind of girl. All class, that’s me;) But they do know I drink sometimes at night. I don’t hide it. They see the bottle in the pantry. And I think it’s smart to drink in front of them or at least let them know about it. They will never learn that alcohol is normal and not a big deal and can be enjoyed responsibly. Sometimes I’ll have a margie at dinner when we’re out for Mexican food, by the way;)

    i just think that people who hide it or make it this awful taboo thing are not giving their children a healthy perspective of alcohol. Those are my thoughts- should I mention that I am WASTED right now? Just kidding.
    P.S. please note that most of my friends drink feely in front of their kids and mine and i’m totally cool with it. I’d also like to add that I’m the cheapest date alive. One drink and I can’t stop hugging my kids. That might be one of the reasons why I don’t drink much in front of them;)

    • Good point about WHY we’re drinking. A glass of wine with dinner isn’t going to hurt; doing shooters before bedtime may send the wrong message.

  13. Piper George says:

    I am confused? Why can’t we tell out kids we drink alcohol, making sure from a young age they understand it’s a grown up drink. My 6 year old has sipped my wine, ensuring she thinks it is a disgusting thing to drink (remember kids have much better taste buds and like sweet things) resulting in ‘yuch mummy, I will never drink that’. Fab – job done.
    Which also helps that when they see us drinking sugary drinks like vodka and coke, they believe us when we say they won’t like it and are less likely to try it till they are much older.

Leave a Reply