Half term hell to half term happiness

It is half term here in the UK which means my two are at home for the week taking a well earned rest from school.  They are both at primary school and are normally struggling with tiredness at this point in the term.

Now in my old drinking life and if I was moderating in a ‘no drinking on a school night’ way then this was carte blanche to up the ante.  No work for me, no school for them, Bingo!  To be honest even if I wasn’t moderating and was on a ‘I deserve the reward of a glass or bottle every night for getting through the day’ stage we were all officially on holiday so holiday means ‘holiday drinking!’  Yep I could always find a bona fide reason to drink MORE.

As you can imagine I used to be pretty cranky and not really very good company for them.  I  would endeavour to keep them in bed for as long as possible, so I didn’t have to get up, and would hustle them to bed as quickly as possible come evening time so that I could get ‘my’ holiday thing on.

Drinking made me a really selfish parent because I grew up around daily drinking and knew the havoc it wrecked so never wanted my kids to see me drinking or drunk.  Never wanted to role-model that behaviour so tried to hide it from them.  That’s when you know you have a disconnect because if it wasn’t a problem then why was I so worried about them seeing me drinking?

The belief that because they didn’t see me drinking somehow protected them also underestimates their intelligence and the impact of drinking even when you don’t  have a glass in your hand.  Who was I kidding that because they didn’t see it – it wasn’t a problem for our family?  I was hiding my drinking from them – that made it a problem.

Fast forward to today and I am awake and up before them, greet them with a smile not a sigh and I genuinely want to spend time with them.  Before I would struggle through the day, wanting to be left alone in a quiet darkened room nursing a hangover waiting for the clock to strike wine o’clock for the hair of the dog to bring some alcohol first aid.

It feels like I have become a better parent but that makes it sound like I was not a ‘good enough’ parent before and that isn’t true.  I was good enough but much of the time I wasn’t as present as I could have been with them.  I missed a lot of the cues and moments because I was too distracted with either a hangover or planning my next supermarket run for booze or thinking about drinking.  I feel like an ‘enhanced’ good enough parent now and long may it continue 🙂

11 thoughts on “Half term hell to half term happiness

  1. I can relate to all of this. I know that everyone is reaping the benefits of my not drinking and if I was to go back now I would be taking away not just from myself but from them.It’s win/win or lose/lose.
    Happy Half Term x

    1. Yep we forget the ripple effects of our behaviour when we are caught in the vortex of drinking. Happy half term to you too xx

  2. I can relate to this as well. Even in the 11 days I have not been drinking, I see myself being a much more attentive parent. And I used to try to hide it from my kids as well– it doesn’t work! They are too perceptive for those tricks.

    1. Our kids are waaay smarter than we give them credit for! As Carrie says all the family benefit from us not boozing 🙂

  3. I really like how you point out how you’re more attentive now while being careful not to beat yourself up about what’s past. I think that’s really important. You and your family benefit heaps from you not drinking now, but no one benefits from a big old guilt-fest about what’s done and gone. Lucky kids you have there! I hope you’re all enjoying your week together.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I wasn’t proud of my drinking behaviour but that didn’t make me a bad person per se. We’re having a lovely week and made chocolate brownies today – yum yum xx

  4. Ooh – I recognise that feeling – I have permission do drink more just because the kids are off. Why is that? It’s not logical, yet this is my first sober kids holiday for … hmm… since I’ve had kids having holidays. Get them to bed and it’s “my time”, ie. glass of wine. This week I’m discovering I can still find a few quiet minutes to myself at the end of the day without opening a bottle, and I’m OK. Evenings are still tough for me, but I am loving bouncing out of bed in the morning with the little one – and before the older two! – and not feeling tired / ill / grouchy. Loved your post. Getting my evening off on the right track. I will stop sulking now.
    MTM (day 10!). x

  5. What an awesome post! Everything you describe here is exactly how I used to live my life. My kids were always in bed no later than 8 because I just HAD to get to my wine. I used to plan everything around my drinking, and while my kids very rarely saw me drink, I am sure they knew more than I thought they did. It feels good to be present and to know in your heart that you are a good parent. I used to ask myself all the time if I were good enough, and I never do that anymore. I spend more time with my kids now and things have changed so dramatically that bedtime sneaks past me several nights a week now. It will be 9 o’clock most evenings before they are tucked in-and that makes me smile 🙂

    1. Thanks 🙂 Same in our house – would have been tucked up by now before but they’re both still up tonight 😉

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