Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Hurrah for Gin

Finally, after eight whole weeks of summer madness, the kids go back to school today.

I'm up stupidly early in anticipation.

The uniforms are laid out and labelled. Pencil cases are stocked with newly sharpened pencils, pristine erasers and unblemished protractors.

I've shaken the sand out of their ears, blasted stubborn verruccas (my spell check thinks this should be verrucae) off their feet and had their hair cut.

We are good to go.

When I quit work after #3 was born, nearly eight years ago, I thought I'd be the perfect Mum.

The house would be filled with fresh flowers and the aroma of cup cakes baking. It'd be craft tables, not TV, laughter filled outings to museums and perfectly delivered introductions with eye contact.

How the Gods must have chuckled.

Instead, I was sucked into an exhausting Groundhog day of wiping orifices, peeling dried spaghetti and Rice Krispies off floors and ceilings and dealing with tantrums, all set to the soundtrack of The Wiggles and punctuated with endless re-readings of the Gruffalo.

So I totally get the latest trend (spearheaded by the movie Bad Moms) for tales of 'imperfect mothers.'

According to the Sunday Times, this Christmas's bestseller is going to be one of these, titled Hurrah for Gin.

Hurrah for Gin is based on a blog written by a 26 year old Mum of two who's on maternity leave from her job in advertising.

It's exactly the book I would have written ten years ago (when I was also in advertising and on maternity leave with a toddler and a baby). And it struck me that it's like the prequel to this blog.

(Except my book would be titled Hurrah for Chablis. My only saving grace was not having developed a taste for spirits).

And the title is perfect. Because when you're in the trenches of motherhood, alcohol provides those much needed oases of calm.

For me, a glass of wine could put the zing into a late afternoon playdate with a girlfriend, and the zen into post children's bed time. At the end of a long, frazzled day I could pour a glass of wine, dance around the kitchen and think yeah, baby, she's still got it.

But the problem with relying on vino, or gin, to relax, to de-stress, to feel adult, is that one day - maybe a decade down the line - you find that you can't relax, de-stress or feel adult without it.

And that's when you stop reading Hurrah for Gin! and start reading Mummy was a Secret Drinker.

So I do rather worry about yet another book which normalises relying on an addictive drug to get through the realities of everyday life. After all, I am the cautionary tale.

Love SM.

P.S. If you'd like a male perspective on all of this, then click here to check out my new friend, Makeittea.

And thank you, Makeittea, for your incredibly generous donation to my Justgiving page for breast cancer support (www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sober-mummy).


  1. Thanks SM,

    Your blog is an inspiration to anyone setting off on this journey.



    1. Just read your new blog. Tried to post a comment, but don't think it 'took''....some kind of conflict between blogspot and wordpress, seems like.

      Anyway, welcome to the dry fold and continued success to you!

    2. Thanks for the welcome, and the comment. The flurry of activity today showed me that I had Wordpress set to moderate each new poster's first message (or something like that) - which I did as soon as I realised there were comments waiting for moderation. I've changed that now so comments are posted immediately without my intervention!

  2. On the 4th July every year we used to celebrate the National day of 'Gin-dependence' thank goodness ten years later I did find mummywasasecretdrinker, eight and a half months sober now x thanks sm

  3. Had to laugh about your idea of being a stay home mom and the reality...but something we wouldn't want to give up for a million bucks, right?? I am down to getting just one kid off to school, my twenty year old daughter and this year it's a doozy, sending her off your way to the University of Westminster! I hope all goes well, I have cautioned her about the drinking culture, and her being able to legally drink in Europe, but wow, who am I kidding?? Drinking is pervasive most anywhere and especially with the kids. And I know my daughter can find a way to drink in the States when she wants to, legal or not. The one thing my daughters do have is sadly an example what alcohol can do to a person, namely their own mother. Well, to end on a good note, hope your children have a fabulous first day at school and thanks for the male perspective tip...shout out to Mr. Makeittea, loved your blog! P.S. At 6:00 am I first thought you were going by some exotic blog name...then put two and two together!

  4. Hurrah for coffee! Actually Hurrah for school more like it! I've been feeling like this about an amazing woman I follow on Facebook. She is an inspiration to me but I always feel a bit uncomfortable about the whole wine adoration that she and so many more of her followers have. Uncomfortable because I know there are some people out there normalising how they drink because of it. I mean this in a very non-judgy way!

  5. I do worry about the whole 'time for a gin / hurrah for gin / pour a gin' thing around parenting at the moment - I don't know if it is lazy shorthand for 'give yourself a break' but if someone was only in need of a nudge to go from in control to out of control perhaps thinking that everyone else is knocking it back at 11am isn't a great idea (and I don't think everyone REALLY is hitting the gin before bathtime?)

    Love this blog

  6. I loved gin! Until I didn't! I sometimes wish someone, anyone, had told me it wasn't ok or normal to drink a whole bottle of wine. It was/is such the norm and that really really bugs me now!!! But noone ever did and now I dont/can't drink any more. So it's important that things change and drinking to cope with having kids stops being ok and normal. However, I am happy that I don't drink any more. Very happy xxx

  7. A few years ago there was a book called Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay.
    Stephanie wilder-taylor. Wrote this book- how to be a fun boozy mom.

    She's sober now. Of course. That's the sad truth of addictive substances. They suck us in.

    Motherhood is an amazing thing. But it's also hard, boring, frustrating and shitty.

    Somehow all those things have to be ok.