Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: To Drink In Front of the Kids or Not?
Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, has a busy year ahead of her.
In her latest blog, Röhm admits to enjoying a glass of wine every now and then, and is surprised to learn that daughter Easton August, 3, has noticed.
Do you drink in front of your kids? Do you think it helps them to learn to partake responsibly, or encourages consumption? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Do any of you moms know who Sally Draper is? Well, if you are as obsessed with Mad Men as I am, you know her. She’s the beautiful young daughter of Don Draper and Betty Francis. I mention her because it dawned on me as I was watching an episode of the show recently that she’s probably too young to be mixing a cocktail for her dad. Right?! I’m just saying … what is she, 11?
But it got me thinking about us moms and dads here in this current/non-50s generation. I mean, where are we all at these days on drinking in front of the kids?
In my childhood, it was common that parents and grandparents would have alcoholic drinks at night or on the weekends right out in front of everybody. It just wasn’t an issue. As we turn back the hands of time even further, it really was not a big deal to let the children see you tip it back — as clearly indicated on my favorite show. Like I said, it got me thinking…
It is a much more sober world these days, isn’t it? No smoking. No drinking. It’s the world of DUIs and accountability for substance abuse. How will our kids take us seriously as they get older when we are warning them about the dangers of such things, but are actually partaking ourselves? And yet we know that they more than likely will drink, regardless of what they see at the dinner table or at a family BBQ. So should we be open about it or keep it out of the eyesight of such curious and innocent little people?
I know this seems like an odd subject to be concerned with since I only have a toddler in the house. But I am just curious since even they know the difference between wine and water. I actually know that for a fact because my daughter quite innocently and articulately pointed it out to my father the other day! Plain as day, she said, “My mom drinks wine.”
And that, of course, is true. I do enjoy a glass while I’m making dinner or after the babe is asleep or if we have friends over. Whatever. I don’t drink every day and I drink in moderation. Meaning, I feel that it is a social and controlled partaking.
It wouldn’t have even been a question in my childhood. I think most of us grew up around parents and friend’s parents indulging from time to time, but never to the point of drunken partying. There is always the exception, of course. And I’d like to make the distinction here that some of us suffered due to parents being irresponsible.
But that’s not what I’m getting at. I’m talking about the big shift in what’s accepted in society these days vs. the days of Sally Draper’s childhood. In my personal childhood, drinking was social and handled responsibly, so I don’t have any tragic happenings that have given me reservations on the subject personally. But do you, PEOPLE.com readers, drink in front of the kids? Do you have that single beer or glass of wine while they are still running around or at dinner?
Where do we stand today?
I know for a fact that plenty of my mom friends seriously enjoy that “after the day” drink to smooth out the wrinkles of the hectic day — just like the bygone era where the likes of Don Draper were the rule and not the exception. I know drinking is one of those things people don’t like to talk about, but I’m not quite sure why.
I don’t think that it’s for everyone and certainly I know a handful of moms who simply do not drink and would never consider drinking in front of their kids. I think that’s great too. Different strokes for different folks. Not to mention that if an emergency takes place, they can drive without getting a DUI, which is a huge plus when you’re a parent. Ron and I are always very specific about who the designated driver will be.
So as I was saying, I was thinking about Sally Draper mixing that cocktail for her dad and found myself pondering, “How could he have her do that? Her innocence is going to be gone. Poof!” But see, that’s the thing I love about that show.
It really pushes the envelope and makes us face and question those very things that we like to or are used to keeping secret and hidden. The stuff that we are dying to talk about if only someone would bring up the subject! The subjects that society has somewhat made us feel self-conscious about being open about. Drinking, sex, body issues, eating, politics, religion. You know, the good stuff!
So let’s talk about it, PEOPLE.com! Let’s have a refreshingly honest discussion about drinking at home … just one of the many topics worth our time, don’t you think?
Anyway, Mad Men totally gets me going as you can see! Which also leads me to my dear friend Lyss Stern, who also totally gets me going! She has written a great book called, If You Give a Mom a Martini: 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself.
First off, it is a totally delightful read because it says what we already know is true! It gives us permission to need a little time to ourselves, and she makes it an open subject. Let’s face it, people usually act as if they are perfect parents who need no time to themselves, or have desires outside of their home or also GASP! that they might want a drink to relax at the end of the day. It’s so refreshing when someone tells their truth! And she is perfectly fine with a mom actually having a martini to top it all off!
Still, it was a little startling to hear my daughter say the word “wine” in association with me. And I thought, “Hmm, now what do I do?” You see, I am committed to the idea of Easton growing up in a relaxed and honest household. No hang-ups please! I want to be open with her. I’m sure that’s the only way I’ll gain her respect and trust anyway as the years go by. And since I would never drink and drive or drink in excess, I feel as if my behavior with alcohol in front of her is responsible.
Still, the incident stayed with me. I mean, how can we keep our children from experimenting with alcohol if we are drinking at home? They learn by watching, right? It made me pause and for the first time ponder if maybe I shouldn’t drink in front of her as a rule — just to keep it clear that I don’t promote it.
And so I thought we should run it up the flag pole here ladies, and see where the world is at these days on the subject. You know, as a society, since the days of Mad Men are behind us now. Or are they?
Clearly since she is 3, I have plenty of time to make a decision about it. But I thought that we could get a good discussion going here moms, as we always do. To drink in front of the kids, or not to? You tell me, PEOPLE.com!
— Elisabeth Röhm
Robert Evans has photographed parties for Christina Aguilera and Jim Carrey, and is also known for photographing some of the biggest celebrity weddings in the last 10 years, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and most recently, Shania Twain.