You might not actually be a parent. You might be a step-parent, a Godparent, or planning to be a parent someday. Maybe you're looking after your own aged parents. The principle is the same.
Drinking (a lot) makes us rubbish parents.
For a start, there's the physical stuff. Good parenting requires really high energy. Which is not at all compatible with several hours a day spent hungover. Or drunk.
Also, you really need to be present. And I don't mean just in the room (although that helps too, obviously), I mean paying attention.
Even sober I have to confess to frequently checking my mobile in mid conversation with my children, and answering uh huh to any question they ask (which doesn't fool them for a instant).
But when I was drinking I was a lot worse.
Far too much of my head space was taken up with thinking about booze.
In the morning I'd be thinking about how much I (shouldn't have) drunk the night before, and how to get through the day feeing under par.
In the afternoon I'd move onto when I could poor the next glass of wine, which shop I could duck into on the way to the school run, and so on.
(See my post: The Wine Witch for more on those infernal internal dialogues)
Plus, alcohol makes us miserable (if you don't believe me, read my post: Reasons to Quit #4). It leaches the colour out of life, and makes it difficult to appreciate the little things.
And being with children is all about the little things: discussing the smell of PlayDoh, playing Pooh Sticks, kicking leaves, drawing smiley faces in the fog on the car windows - you know what I mean.
Once you quit, you'll find yourself much more able to be in the moment, and to see things through the eyes of your children.
(See my post: 7 Months Sober, for more on this).
And, you know what? Our drinking doesn't just affect their childhoods - it affects their adulthood too.
I'm sure that part of the reason I was so comfortable with drinking every day, was that I grew up in a family where drinking gin and tonic before dinner and wine with dinner every night was normal. I never questioned it. It was just what (sophisticated) adults did.
Christmas 2014 I realised that all my Christmas presents from my children were wine related! A bottle stopper (as if there'd ever be anything left in the bottle!), a corkscrew, and a mug with the caption I wish it were wine o'clock.
Now my kids LOVE the fact that 'Mummy doesn't drink.' They boast about it. And, I hope, I'm showing them that you can be a normal, fun, sociable adult without the constant prop of booze.
BUT, for me, the biggie, the main reason why quitting drinking is a no brainer if you are a parent is this:
What happens when the s**t hits the fan?
We may not have been brilliant parents when we drank, but we kept it all together, didn't we? Our kids were happy, well adjusted, well turned out, achieving..... Because we put them first. Always.
Well, sure. And that's all fine when life is going okay. But, here's the bad news: it doesn't always go okay.
Sometimes kids get dangerously ill in the middle of the night. Someone (capable) has to take them to A&E.
Sometimes parents get divorced and someone needs to hold it all together, and be civil to the utter bastard (their father).
Or....as happened to me.... sometimes Mummy gets cancer and has to put her children first when her world is falling apart.
If those things happen when you're drinking, all the wheels come off.
(See my post: When Life Throws You Lemons).
Stop drinking now and, baby step by baby step, you'll find yourself being a better and better Mum (Dad). Without faking it!
And, if life does throw you lemons, you won't be running and ducking, you'll be running a lemonade stand, baby.
Love to you all,