Time Magazine has an article this week called Moms Who Drink: No Joking After the Schuler Tragedy, which discusses the crackdown on some "mommy bloggers" that have traditionally made light of their drinking and parenting. This is coming in the wake of Dianne Schuler's accident that killed her, her 2 year old daughter, 3 nieces and 3 men in the other car (the 5 year old son survived). Dianne had consumed over 10 drinks worth of vodka and had been smoking pot prior to getting in the car with the children.
Is this crackdown warranted or is it a knee-jerk, over-blown reaction to a tragedy?
I see both sides of this issue.
On one hand, consumption of alcohol by parents is a pretty common and socially-accepted behavior. Whether mommy or daddy bloggers, many make light of this. I'm guilty of that. I am a fan of craft beer (or as my wife calls me, a beer snob), as are many other dads that are involved with Dads Inc. Not all are, and that's fine. But beer is a traditional bonding agent for men, so we haven't been shy about participating in beer-related events. However, we do walk a fine line because we do not want to appear to be promoting irresponsible and excessive alcohol consumption, partly because we're not and partly because there are some pretty serious consequences for those dads that choose to be irresponsible (or more accurately, consequences for their families). Most of us would, however, be happy to grab a beer, shoot the bull and talk about Dads Inc and fatherhood. It's just who we are, and who I believe these bloggers are. I don't think they're promoting drinking irresponsible amounts of alcohol and driving you or your kids anywhere. Or trying to care for you kids after doing so. Through trial and error in my younger years, I have developed a pretty good sense of my limits when drinking beer. I would never even consider getting anywhere near my lower limits and trying to drive my kids anywhere, if I even had a drink at all. And let's not forget, alcohol was not the only contributing factor in the impairment of Schuler - she had also been smoking pot. Now 10 drinks of vodka is enough to even get a fat Russian logger well on his way to a bad place, but adding marijuana to the booze dramatically intensifies the effects of drunkeness. And I don't know of anyone that makes light of doing drugs and parenting.
On the other hand, drinking & driving & parenting is no laughing matter. Schuler obviously had problems with drinking, drugs and with making responsible choices, and the aftermath of her choices are heart-wrenching for the families of all of those left in the wake of her destruction. We also know that the probability of violence against women and children skyrocket when dad comes home drinking. Some people simply can't handle any amount of alcohol, and for those "angry drunks", none should ever be consumed. There are many children who do without necessities or even small luxuries like toys, but yet Mom or Dad always have their booze or drugs.
What are your thoughts? Is it ok to joke, or should we be showing complete restraint?