This was in the Daily Mail in September and had one of it’s usual alarmist headlines but with a valid point to make in the body of the article. It’s about women drinking earlier in the day and trading a cup of tea for a glass of wine once the school run is complete. Did I do this when I was drinking? Absolutely, if given the opportunity ….
They say there is an emerging drinking culture among women who pour their first glass at around 3.30pm and then continue with their husbands into the evening.
Medical specialists say some women rely on alcohol as a form of escape, and now open a bottle of wine when once they would have made a cup of tea.
But there are concerns their bad habits will be passed on to children who think it normal to be drunk or to relax by ‘collapsing’ in front of the TV with a drink.
Research involving 1,250 adults by charity Alcohol Concern shows that parents are twice as likely to be ‘dependent’ drinkers than those without children.
Experts involved in the study say there is a ‘real problem’ among women.
Alison Wheeler, of Drink Wise, which aims to reduce alcohol harm, said: ‘We are seeing an emerging culture among some mothers who see it as a way to socialise and relax after the school day.
‘There is a real problem with drinking that starts after school. It used to be a cup of tea, now it’s a glass of wine at 3.30pm instead.’
Jackie Ballard, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said ‘wine o’clock’ – usually once the children were in bed – was a regular thread of conversation on the Mumsnet website. However, she added that worries over drinking levels were also frequently discussed.
She said: ‘There are a lot people talking about their concerns about drinking, that they are doing it too regularly, that they are too much looking forward to wine o’clock.
‘The main concern for us is children modelling parents’ behaviour and thinking it is normal – the way you relax is to get out a bottle.’
The survey asked men and women about their drinking habits before classifying them into groups.
The findings revealed the chances of drinking heavily increased directly in line with having children.
While just 26 per cent of the ‘low risk’ drinkers had children, this rose to 29 per cent of the ‘hazardous’ group, 44 per cent of the ‘harmful’ group and 54 per cent of the ‘possibly dependent’ group.
Nearly half of the dependent drinkers were also found to have been educated to degree level.
Dr Niall Campbell, an alcohol addiction specialist at the Priory Hospital in south-west London, said: ‘We are seeing an increasing number of young mothers who are drinking more heavily.
‘We’re worried about their alcohol levels in the morning if they drink the night before, and also in the afternoon after the school run.’
He added that while alcohol can be a harmless antidote to anxiety, ‘wine time after the school run’ can spiral out of control if it turns into three or four glasses a night.
Katherine Brown, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said that there has been a ‘surge in female alcohol consumption’ in recent decades.
She added: ‘Sweet products, alcohol-sponsored female TV shows and offers in supermarkets create an environment where it seems more normal for women to open a bottle than put the kettle on.’
Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies is due to review the safe alcohol limits this autumn over concerns they are too high.
Women are currently advised not to exceed three units a day – roughly one-and-a-half glasses of wine.
THREE TIMES OVER DRINK-DRIVE LIMIT ON PIMM’S
DUI: Henrietta Fearon
Henrietta Fearon drove home with her four-year-old son while nearly three times the drink-drive limit.
She had been drinking Pimm’s and wine during an afternoon birthday party at a pub near her home in Fulham, south-west London.
Although she drove the 1.5 miles without incident, a member of the public had dialled 999 after spotting her getting into her Mini.
The personal assistant, who at the time worked for a chartered surveyor, then ‘rambled’ to police when they arrived at her home.
She was fined £625 and disqualified from driving for two years after pleading guilty to driving with excess alcohol in August 2013. Her breathalyser reading was 95mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 35mcg.
Tom Gill, prosecuting, told Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court: ‘Police visited her and she answered the door while unsteady on her feet and rambled on about being at a friend’s birthday.’
Naomi Alcendor, defending, said: ‘It is a family venue and she did consume alcohol and decided to drive the short distance to her home.
‘She is devastated to find herself in this position because she had her son with her that day.’
This is something I never did so remains one of my ‘yets’. I can see how easy it would be though and I was just lucky that I never needed to get in the car and go anywhere after those occasions when I did drink earlier in the day …..