Spoiler: I did not completely self-destruct… not completely
by Maria Benetos
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Confessions of a Misfit Mom is a weekly series by MINIMODE co-founder Maria Benetos about her (many) mis-adventures in being a mom, recorded and published to make you feel better about your own parenting life. You’re welcome.
Once upon a time I had discipline like no other. Stay away from sugar for an entire month? Not a prob! Hit the gym each evening after work? Sure. Give up alcohol for a week? Piece of cake. So why did it seem like such a Herculean feat to do this now? One word: kids.
I’m by no means saying that my daughters drive me to drink (though I’m not denying that either) but I’ve realized that small luxuries, an evening glass of wine included, mean so much more to me now. After a day that starts pre-sunrise with my seven-year old chatting me up during what used to be my sacred quiet early morning time before I workout and ends with the girls asking me to carry out multiple items from their room one by one because they’re afraid of the shadows they’re making (note: these items change on the regular), sitting down with some Pinot feels like a wonderful extravagance. I’ll be sad to see it go but what’s a week in the grand scheme scheme of things?
Day One: I got this. Like an Olympic athlete I’m visualizing what my life will be after this week is successfully complete: I’ll sleep better, eat less, have fewer cravings, my skin will look luminous and I’ll possibly lose a pound or two. That’s the promise at least. I’m going to choose to believe all this because Elin is currently on the floor screaming due to the fact that I bought bubble gum toothpaste instead of strawberry. I’ve just got to keep my eye on the prize…
Day Two: An email comes through suggesting a girls’ dinner at my favorite restaurant later in the week. Logic tells me to say no just this once to keep myself from temptation but my carefree, social side wins out once again and not only am I in, I’ll take care of the ressie! I go to yoga after work because that seems like the right thing to do when I have no other outlet to drown out all my fears, worries and aggressions. Namaste.
Day Three: I start the day with a kickboxing session and my trainer makes a comment about how high energy I seem. Can it be?? Nah, I just had an extra cup of coffee this morning. I have a seamless and productive day at work then I meet a couple of friends at an Italian restaurant for dinner. I convince myself that the cacio e pepe just won’t taste the same without wine and I’m kind of right. I actually end up eating slightly more than I usually do because I didn’t have the glass in hand to distract me. A definite strike against this no drinking thing.
Day Four: It’s the night of the big girls’ dinner… I try to mentally prepare myself to be strong. I have to admit that sitting at the bar waiting for the entire group to arrive is not as fun without a tequila in hand but I stick to sparkling water nonetheless. Everyone is supportive of my non-drinking game but question my reasons for doing it. A test of will? Some sort of atonement? A quest to get back to summer weight? Or simply just for better health? All of the above. I notice that I’m more present throughout the meal and appreciate both the company and the conversation to a greater extent. I don’t fall asleep as easily when I get home but I stay asleep and for a sometimes insomniac, that’s everything.
Day Five: I take the girls to school in the morning and notice a spring in my step that’s not typically there after an evening out with my girlfriends. I somehow feel lighter and that actually inspires me to eat better as well. I even make conversation with some of the parents at drop off. This is great! We decide to take the girls out for an early dinner at a favorite local spot that evening which turns into a full hour of them arguing with each other, refusing to eat and me trying desperately to negotiate a sibling peace treaty. Breathe. Where’s my f**king wine? This sucks.
The Weekend: In an effort to endlessly torture and tempt myself I agree to a weekend at my parents’ house with friends, aka two days of continuous eating and drinking… only in my case it’s hot water with lemon. It was a thoroughly enjoyable time but I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t enviously eyeing everyone’s mimosas at lunch and wine glasses at dinner. I noticed that I became slightly less social without alcohol, going off to play with the kids while everyone else was sitting around the table drinking and talking. So there’s a win… it makes you a better mother! I exercised a lot more, not only hitting up an SLT class but also going on long walks outside taking in the greenery we so rarely see in the city. I’d often do this while everyone else was having pre-dinner cocktails. Strategic move, I know.
So does that mean I’ll go a few more dry days? Perhaps. I did notice that after a week I indeed had a flatter stomach, probably because I was drinking less sugar. And my skin look slightly brighter due to the fact that I was consuming way more water than I usually do. For me, it won’t be a long term thing because I’m a strong believer in moderation rather than extremes and like I said, it’s a small luxury I enjoy so no need to eliminate it. I would recommend trying it for a week if you’re looking for a post-holiday or pre-summer reset. You just might learn a few things about yourself!