“Mommy, what are you writing about?”
“I’m writing about joking around about serious things.”
“Oh yeah. You shouldn’t do that. Like about fire and death. Those are super serious. One time we played school during recess and I was the teacher and we pretended the kids ran away, but they came back and we each sat on a ball to listen to the teacher. That was serious, but it was okay I think.”
“Yeah, that sounds okay. I’m glad the kids came back.”
We joke a lot around here. We are silly and we laugh and then we laugh some more. We’re pretty terrible about being serious, but there are times when we set the silly aside. For us, alcohol responsibility is one of the serious times. Because around here, even when we’re being silly and ridiculous, we try really hard to say what we mean.
Before becoming a parent, I can’t count how many times I’ve had a bad day or hard day or busy day or was just tired and came home to announce, “I need a beer!” But with parenting a very attentive kid (Roozle alert) and writing more, I started to pay more attention to the words I choose. Do I need a beer or do I just want a beer? Am I saying what I mean? Am I just saying I want a little break? Why doesn’t anyone ever say that anymore?
Now that Roozle’s other mom doesn’t drink at all, I’ve given much more thought to how we joke about alcohol. Mostly because I became more sensitive to hearing it, and when you’re sensitive to anything, it just shows up in all the places. It’s like when you buy a certain car and then suddenly you see that car everywhere. Everyone bought the same car! Everyone is joking about alcohol! Make it stop!
I don’t want my kid to hear me saying I had a bad day so I need a drink. More than that, I want her to know it’s okay for me to take a break, to want a break, and to know that breaks don’t have to include drinking. I want her to be able to read what I write on social media (she already follows me on Instagram!) and here on this blog without sending mixed messages. I want to say what I mean. I want you to say what you mean, too.
What if we stopped joking about alcohol on social media? What if we found other ways to talk about relaxing or feeling frustrated or other ways to joke around?
This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. I am working with them as a #TalkEarly blogger this year to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” Let’s all do that. Because that totally rules.