I feel guilty about what a bad mother I was when I was drinking. I would avoid activities which would encroach on my drinking time and would do anything to engineer lifts so that I would not have to drive to pick up. I could usually arrange it so I would do the drop off and one of the other mums would collect. That way at least I had a clear run at drinking as much as possible once I had driven to whichever party or activity my daughters were going to. I did have to take care not to look as if I had been drinking when the other mum dropped them back but generally I could manage that as long as they weren’t too chatty.
Now I am happy to ferry my own children and all of their friends wherever, whenever. I wonder how many of the other mums will be taking the opportunity to have a glass of wine or too. I have sneaking feeling there are quite a few whose relationship with alcohol is exactly like mine. Only they are still drinking.
Now I am sober I am a better mum. I enjoy reading bedtime stories whereas before this was just a chore I had to get through before I could have another glass of wine. I had to concentrate hard not to slur my words and from time to time my daughter would notice. “Mummy’s just tired, poor Mummy” I would explain. The next day I would hardly be able to remember what we had read. Now I enjoy every gripping instalment of whatever story we are reading so much so that my daughter tells me off for sneakily reading ahead to find out what happens !
I am much better at helping out with homework and I have oodles more patience than before. I actually enjoy the time I spend with my daughters and I think I am more fun than I was before. Still not exactly bursting with fun – that’s Mr So’s domain but more fun nevertheless.
My daughters know I no longer drink alcohol because I was drinking too much and I didnt like how it made me feel. My youngest daughter made me a certificate when I got to 70 days and frequently tells me how much she prefers it now neither Mr So nor I drink.
The problem is now appreciate that I can be a good Mum, I feel sad and ashamed about all those years I wasted just plodding joylessly through motherhood wondering when I would be able to have a drink. Sometimes when I was drinking it crossed my mind that it would have been simpler not to have had children. I had wanted a family so very much and when I was younger had imagined myself with 4 children a wonderful husband and a red Aga – the Aga was very important and it had to be red! Alcohol made me selfish and self-centred in ways I can hardly believe.
I know I need to move on and leave the regrets behind me but at the moment I think I am overcompensating for my failures as a Mum. I am very soft on my girls and I know they are a bit spoilt and overindulged but they are also, kind, thoughtful, bright, lively and spirited. Perhaps I not doing too bad a job after all.