When we become parents, a certain amount of our identity is lost. We become someone’s mom or dad instead of the carefree individuals we once were. And it seems to me that moms are especially immune to this: boys will be boys but moms can’t be anything but moms. Why is that? Why do women feel like they have to give up their moments of letting loose? Last August, I went to Las Vegas with my best friend Tiffany for three nights. When I told people I was going, every single person inevitably asked, “Oh, what about the kids?” As if they didn’t have a father, a fully-functional parent, to stay home with them. But on the occasions when Trevor has had to be out of town, no one has ever worried about me staying home alone with the kids. Ah, the joy of double standards.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. The new book Make Mine a Double: Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not) explores women’s relationship with alcohol (or not) and sense of self. I was lucky enough to get an excerpt of the book, an essay entitled “Moms’ Club” by fellow blogger Laura Rossi Totten. (Gorgeous and talented, no?!?!?!)
Laura has over twenty years of experience as a book publishing and public relations professional. In New York City, she ran publicity campaigns for many celebrity and bestselling authors at such prestigious publishing houses as Random House / Bantam Doubleday Dell, The Dial Press, Viking Penguin and W.W. Norton & Company.
Laura’s book publicity experience includes working with Terry McMillan, Stephen King, Nicholas Evans, Danielle Steel, Elmore Leonard, Sara Paretsky, Elizabeth McCracken, Gina Barreca, Wynton Marsalis, John Cleese, Walter Mosley, Jane Brody, John Grisham, Dennis Rodman, John Lescroart, Paul Krugman, Garrison Keillor, T.C.Boyle, Chuck D and Fay Weldon among many others. (I'm seriously hyperventilating looking at that list, y'all!)
Laura’s public relations agency experience includes leading media initiatives for national clients in the fashion, food, home, nonprofit and design industries including The TJX Companies (T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods), Chadwick’s, Bread & Circus/Whole Foods, Bertucci’s, Backyard Farms, Fidelity Capital/Devonshire Investors, Easter Seals, World Trade Center Boston, Altitude Inc., Shoebuy.com, The Seaport Hotel, Amica Insurance and Ross-Simons among others.
In September 2011, Laura Rossi Totten makes her publishing debut as a contributor to MAKE MINE A DOUBLE edited by Gina Barreca (University of New England Press). The book is a collection of witty, intelligent, and provocative pieces from a diverse community of voices including such luminaries as Fay Weldon, Wendy Liebman, Amy Bloom, Liza Donnelly, Nicole Hollander, Beth Jones, and Dawn Lundy Martin.
Over the course of her accomplished p.r. career, Laura has booked guests and products on nearly every major national television, radio, and print media outlet. A leader in social media, Laura brings a fresh, current approach to all of her campaigns and clients.
Laura majored in English and Communications, is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Connecticut.
Mom's Club by Laura Rossi Totten
The New Happy Hour
Recipe: The Momtini
Prep time: 20 minutes (2 minutes to pour, 18 to drink)
Mix equal parts friends, fun, and your favorite alcoholic
Serve immediately and, if possible, without children.
When we exchange our Prada bags for BabyBjörns, we also unwittingly check off the box that says “mothers don’t drink.” But just because we popped out a baby does not mean we still don’t want to pop the Veuve Clicquot!
Why is it that as soon as we become mothers, we are expected to leave our cosmos at the bar and settle for reruns of Sex and the City? Are all mothers who crave a glass or two of wine regarded as closet alcoholics like Stefanie Wilder-Taylor1 or Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman?
When I was single and living in New York City, I regularly went out for a drink with the girls. I loved these evenings (or Saturday afternoons or Sunday brunches)—they were a fabulous mix of fun, laughter, and group therapy with smart, funny, like-minded women. After I married and moved to Providence, Rhode Island, I continued the tradition with new friends, sharing a glass of wine with a gal pal after work or on the weekends in my new city. My friends and I always referred to these nights as “going out for drinks” or “cocktails with the girls.”
1. See Jan Hoffman, “A Heroine of Cocktail Moms Sobers Up,” New York Times, August 14, 2009.
So you can imagine my surprise when, after having my twins, the happy hour invites stopped and were suddenly replaced by e-mails and evites for Moms’ Book Club, Mommy Spa Day, Make Your Own Purse Night, Mother of Twins Club, and— well, you get the idea. In my sleep-deprived, housebound-new- mommy state of mind (did I mention that I was socially starved after weeks of pink and blue onesies?), I dusted off my English major literary prowess and drove to suburbia to my first Moms’ Book Club.
Once there, I quickly learned that you cannot judge a book club by its cover. When I arrived at my first “meeting,” instead of the provocative book discussion I had expected, I was greeted with a formal wine tasting, followed by a gourmet dinner and after-dinner drinks that lasted well past midnight—on a week- night! And then the same thing began to happen again and again: Make Your Own Purse night offered pitchers of sangria, Mother of Twins Club was drinks and appetizers at a local pub, Mommy Spa Day featured mini-spa treatments accompanied by perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio and finger food at the country club. Soon I saw a trend in all these mommy events—they were our respect- able, socially acceptable alibis for drinking. This got me thinking (and talking) about the strange double standard between the non-moms and the new moms. What to Expect When You’re Expecting didn’t have a chapter titled: “Top 10 Cute Ways for New Mothers to Secretly Steal a Cocktail.” What happened to just saying (or even shouting) “I need a drink!”?
As I talked with other moms about this (over an Irish coffee during Knitting Club, of course), a common thread emerged: even when they try to hide it, all mothers (single or married, first-time or veteran) regularly celebrate, relax, and—yes—escape with a cocktail, all in the spirit of being a better mommy. A glass of Pinot Noir, or a chocolate martini or a pomegranate margarita — the cocktail does not matter, but the escape and the ability to temporarily blur reality does. Once, on a plane ride back from Las Vegas, another mother told me in a hushed voice that
her nightly cocktail was her “mother’s little helper,” filling that time we all call the witching hour (just after the children’s dinner and before Daddy returns home). The more I talked about this to friends and relatives, the more confessions I heard. One mom always jokes, “it’s 5:00 p.m. somewhere” while pouring a glass of Chardonnay and calling her sister for a virtual drink date. Others have a weekly or monthly Moms’ Club meeting that is never canceled. More attend Moms’ Shopping Nights that involve strolling along quaint New England streets where each boutique offers sips of their favorite libations (one store owner and mother told me that these shopping nights can turn into shoplifting nights if the ladies get too tipsy).
Sitting at the computer with a glass of my favorite port, I have a realization: we really aren’t any different than our single sisters. Sure, we are moms now. Okay, we left the city for the suburbs. Yes, we have children. Yes, some of us drive minivans, and many of us now call happy hours “moms’ nights.” But we will never pack away the Prada. We still have shrines to our Jimmy Choos. We will never, ever don mom jeans or need a tlc make- over. Regardless of labels and outdated stereotypes, we will always love and crave our cocktails with the girls. We are still as complicated and delicious as the perfect martini.
As I finish my drink before heading out to the Go Green Trunk Show at a nearby mom’s house, I think that maybe I’ll host the next event: a cocktail party.
Okay, Laura Rossi Totten is all up in my dome. So brilliant! Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean that I’m a completely different person from when I was a swingin’ single. I have grown and matured, and now I wear my heart outside of my body for my children. But I still love to laugh and have fun and, yes, have the occasional drink. And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that. When Mama’s happy, everyone is happy. For real. To read more insightful essays like Laura's, check out Make Mine a Double: Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not) at amazon.com. While you're at it, check out Laura's websites: mysocalledsensorylife.com and laurarossipublicrelations.com.
“Moms’ Club” by Laura Rossi Totten from
Make Mine a Double:
Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not)
Edited by Gina Barreca
Copyright © 2011 University Press of New England
Used with permission from University Press of New England