Bottle Feeders: Should Procreation Necessitate a Personal Prohibition?

Seconds later, a reply came from one of the other members: “So glad you said it—I’ve been dying to suggest a little boozy playgroup but didn’t want to sound like the alchy mom!!”

That Wednesday we cheered impishly as we popped a bottle of Prosecco. If David Attenborough had been narrating the scene, he might have observed, “The American stay-at-home mother, shamed out of consuming alcohol under cover of darkness at the local pub, is now content to tipple away during daylight hours with others of her species.” In my pre-baby life, daytime drinking might have signaled a problem; now, it seemed the only socially acceptable time.

But though I’ve found a tribe, I do confess to sometimes feeling irresponsible. The old, wine-soaked me who worried about being too hungover to go to the gym and the new, spit-up-soaked me who worries about the frequency and consistency of someone else’s feces seem somehow at odds. It’s as if, upon conceiving, my motherboard should have been replaced, deleting my appetite for mood-altering substances and increasing my tolerance of insipid cartoons—but it doesn’t have to be a complete reprogramming.

I know that there is a line between someone like Lucille Bluth, the comically negligent, perpetually soused matriarch on Arrested Development, and a self-sacrificing teetotaler like June Cleaver (what a scold!)—and that I remain, as ever, appropriately in between. I also know that less than 2% of what I imbibe reaches my breastmilk, and that if I am sober enough to drive I am sober enough to nurse, not to mention operate the heavy machinery that is my stroller.

Finally, I know that my husband feels free to drink wherever and whenever he so chooses without fear of societal scorn. So, as long as one of us remains sober enough to be the alpha parent, the other is free to dabble, ever so often, as the alchy.