My son’s third-grade homework assignment: present a “how to” project. He was supposed to come up with an idea for something he knew how to do and share it with his class — say, how to make chocolate chip cookies or how to make an origami frog. Fun, right?
After a lengthy brainstorming session that consisted mainly of me pitching ideas and him shooting them down, we finally settled on a project: cork boats. Cute, easy “sailboats” made out of 3 wine corks, a toothpick, and a scrap of paper? Done. Thanks, Pinterest!
My son started working on the written part of his presentation while I hauled out my considerable collection of wine corks. For a couple years now, whenever I open a bottle of wine, I save the cork. I am incapable of throwing them away. I always think I will do something crafty with them some day. And I have. Once, anyway. Never mind that the cork wreath turned out to be a long, frustrating ordeal that resulted in hot-glue burns and tears. (Thanks a lot, Pinterest.)
So my son takes one look at my enormous pile of corks and says, “Wow, Mom. How is it humanly possible for someone to drink that much wine?” I burst out laughing. It DID look pretty bad. Even though I knew that one or two $10 bottles of wine a week did not make me a candidate for rehab.
But the precedent had been set: my son made a joke about wine, and I laughed. Just like I did the time my kindergartner drew a picture of our family going on a road trip and explained, “Look, I drew Gatorade for me, Diet Coke for Dad, and wine for Mom!” (Let the record show that I have never drunk wine on a family road trip. AFTER the road trip is another story.)
Fast-forward to a blog conference I attended last month. One evening’s festivities were brought to us by Responsibility.org, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. A representative stood up and gave a speech about a new campaign the organization was launching, called #RefreshYourFunny.
Here’s the gist: Our kids are aware of what we do online, and in some circles (cough, mom bloggers, cough!) alcohol has become a punchline on social media. You’ve seen it: “Bedtime was rough. Is it wine o’clock yet?” “My kid threw an epic tantrum in the checkout line. #BeerMe” I’ve done it myself, and never thought twice.
But that night, the Responsibility.org rep did ask us bloggers to think about it: Have your kids asked you about alcohol, and do you make deliberate choices about what you share on social media? Will you join us for just one month and refrain from sharing alcohol-related memes on social and ask your readers to do the same? They also invited us to write about our reaction to the campaign. Hence this blog post.
So here are my thoughts: first, I will admit that I do find most mom-related wine jokes funny. See: every e-card in this video. Second, I did think it was a slightly mixed message to launch this campaign at an event with an open bar. However, I also get their point about how a Facebook feed full of alcohol jokes might be a bad example for our kids. I mean, the occasional crayon drawing of me sipping “mommy juice” is one thing. But sending the message that getting drunk is funny is quite another. My kids and I have talked about alcohol, and they know that it is just for adults and that too much is bad for your body and your decision-making.
And lastly, let’s be honest: coffee and wine jokes are just plain lazy for moms. I know, blasphemy! But think about it: a mom making a crack about not being able to function pre-coffee or needing pinot noir to get through potty training is the equivalent of a guy making a “that’s what she said” joke. Unoriginal, not that funny, and mildly inappropriate. We can do better. *I* can do better.
So back to the “how to” project. The cork boats were a huge success. I finally unloaded my stash of Apothic Red stoppers. My son’s teacher gave him an A and said she’d never have to buy another bath toy for her kids again. And I took a good hard look at my drinking habits… and vowed to buy my wine in a box from now on. (Nobody tweet that, OK?!)
Disclaimer: This blog post will be entered in a writing contest sponsored by Responsibility.org, however, no compensation was received. All opinions are my own.