Mummy, are you evil?
I’ll never forget the devastation I felt as Spike, my then 3-year old, asked: “Mummy are you evil?”.
“Why on earth would you ask that?!” I shrieked.
He looked at me sadly and whispered, “Because you’re always shouting”.
My heart shattered into a thousand tiny pieces, along with any shred of self-respect and self-esteem I had at that point. Mortified doesn’t even begin to describe the deep shame I felt in that moment.
I’d started drinking again a few months prior and had convinced myself that wine was helping me cope with motherhood. But this painful interchange made it blatantly clear… I wasn’t coping and it wasn’t helping. The restorative sleep I’d experienced in sobriety was long gone. Now, my sleep was crappy, and I was tired and snappy with my kids.
The sense of calm I’d experienced in sobriety had been replaced by anxiety. Small things sent me spinning into panic-mode, where I’d scramble to regain control by trying to control everything and everyone. I had zero patience or tolerance for anything I considered “bad behaviour” from my kids. My silent intolerance for myself being loudly projected onto them.
Soon after this painful conversation, I quit drinking again.
The reason I’m sharing this is to show you how much can change in two years of sobriety. That’s two years of showing up as a vastly better version of myself for my family.
This morning the whole family was in the kitchen, eating brekkie, chatting, and getting ready for the day. Spike warmly announced to the room, “We’re so lucky to have such a nice mum!”. Scout, my second son, agreed and added “Mummy, I love you, you’re such a good mum, and I will never stop cuddling you!”.
Tears streamed down my face as I hugged my boys. They have NO IDEA how healing it was for me to hear their words.
By removing alcohol from my life, I’ve been able to show up as the mum these beautiful kids deserve.
It’s taken work. A lot of work, and courage to change. It’s not easy looking at your ‘stuff’ or acknowledging the behaviour patterns that are holding you back. It’s not easy to act in emotionally healthier ways that are outside your familiar (but unhelpful) comfort zone. But sobriety has given me the clarity and the confidence to look, to acknowledge, to accept, and to change for the better.
One of the greatest gifts of sobriety for me has been the quality of the relationships I now have with my kids. I’m much more present with them now. Bedtime stories are no longer rushed through so I can get back to my wine. I no longer shove them in front of a screen so I can attempt to sleep off a hangover. Our weekends are more wholesome and connected. I have the patience and tolerance now to support them through a tantrum, rather than throwing a tantrum myself (most of the time anyway! I’m far from perfect!).
Any time a dewy bottle of Sauvignon Blanc calls my name, I ask myself: is it worth it? Is it really worth the risk of losing the quality of the relationships I now have with my kids?
Unsurprisingly, the answer is always no.