When I was of drinking age without a spouse or children, I never thought about the correlation between wine and whining. Why would I ponder one of life’s biggest mysteries while I was young and free? Mostly I spent a great amount of time opening children’s book rejection letters from publishers. But I’m not bitter.
When I started a family, the idea of excess whining causing increased wine consumption became relevant. Is it a coincidence that more mothers are partaking in cocktails at the end of the day, or is it something that has been happening for years but was hush-hush? After several years of diligently studying my theory and bar graphing my habits, my hypothesis was conclusive. Whining kids drive you to drink.
This is one scenario taken from my meticulous studies:
When it’s 4:30 p.m., the witching hour for children — a time when they get tired and hungry but you have to stop paying attention to them in order to prepare dinner — it’s inevitable that said lack of supervision most likely leads to wild chaos and whining.
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So you pour yourself a glass of wine.
You’re confident you won’t finish that glass because the recipe you are following calls for a half cup of Chardonnay, and you’ll be sure to use the wine from your glass for the recipe.
When the phone rings and it’s Aunt Lorraine, who has a propensity for rambling and repeating stories, and since you’re never able to get a word in edgewise and aren’t able to hang up the call, you lose focus since your kids’ whining is entering one ear and your aunt’s craziness is screeching in the other.
So your aunt starts to guffaw about the time Uncle Morty swiped your grandmother’s wig off her head at the family Christmas party, and you blank out. Before you know it, you’re pouring a large glug of wine into your recipe, then taking a swig off the bottle.
When you unknowingly finish your glass as your toddler tugs on your mommy T-shirt, begging for you to get off the phone so you can turn the TV channel because the Big Red Chicken on “Dora the Explorer” is “Skeery,” you head to the family room to assist.
So now you’re afraid your child will have nightmares because that blasted, squawking chicken has entered her psyche, which means she will be climbing into your bed at midnight and sleeping on your side of the bed, pushing you over to the last two inches of the mattress and waking you every six minutes with her toddler foot boxing your sternum; therefore, you decide it’s best for you to go to bed early so you’ll get at least a few hours of rest before the bed wrestling smack-down.
When you were folding the laundry earlier, you unfortunately ate a stale bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans you purchased last year for your closest friend, but since you haven’t seen her in person for four months and keep forgetting to give them to her, you scarfed the belated present because your baby refused his nap and your eyelids feel like five-pound hand weights. Now you are wired and don’t know how you will ever fall asleep in the next 24 hours.
So you realize it would be smart to counteract the caffeine rush with something relaxing, but since your husband took your iPod to the office and all of your Zen music is 30 minutes away, plus you lent your yoga DVDs to your neighbor when you were pregnant with your first child eight years ago, you have to find another means to tone down your racing thoughts.
When you cross back into the family room to find out why the house is startlingly quiet, you see the kids are snuggled up on the couch with their stuffed animals and are peacefully watching a new cartoon on Nickelodeon.
So you tiptoe back to the kitchen so as not to disturb the silence because the last time you were able to exhale and enjoy a quiet moment was on your honeymoon —or was it that one Mother’s Day when your in-laws came and took the kids?
Then you notice the bottle of wine on the counter and your empty glass, and you thank your blessings your children are intact and not plotting to destroy another room or each other for once. What a celebration!
So you pour yourself a glass of wine.