Drinking and parenting

I have not read The Three Martini Playdate, but the title cracks me up. Even though it makes me laugh, drinking and parenting don’t work for me.

In Nora Ephron’s last book, I Feel Bad About My Neck there’s  a piece called “What I Wish I’d Known.” I just reread her hilarious list, reprinted in an anthology called  I Found This Funny edited by Judd Apatow. One of Ephron’s maxims: “The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine.”

My last blog post was about sleeping. I love sleeping. Love it. I think it’s the best thing ever. I love my bed, I love being in my bed. I think a lot of parents fetishize sleep. Ephron is right, alcohol messes with my sleep, even just a little bit of it. When I don’t sleep, I get cranky. Then I yell at my kids and feel guilty and horrible.

Not only am I meaner when I’m sleepless, I’m less productive. I’m self-employed, and I need to be highly motivated  to get anything done. I started a non-profit, and I can’t just show up for work and slog through. I’m also a writer, and I have little desire to write when I’m sleepless or hungover. I know lots of writers, incredibly famous and successful ones, have managed it: Hemingway (though he shot himself in the head) Faulkner, Mary Karr (though she got sober) But not me. Not with three little kids. Of course, lots of factors contribute to exhaustion. Some are just very easy to eliminate.

I’m sure lots of people can handle drinking a glass of wine or two–jeez– and many parents probably find kids less tiring than I do. I can’t imagine being a preschool teacher or kindergarten teacher, for example. I think I’d last about one hour. I adore my children,  but they’re energy suckers. Or maybe something more symbiotic, less parasite sounding. My kids make me incredibly happy, but I need to choose very carefully what else I allow in my life or I wouldn’t be able to do much else but amble through the day.

Not drinking makes me happier, nicer, more patient, and more motivated. It’s very possible I won’t always feel this way, but right now it’s working for me.

Interview with www.fitwoman.com

Margot Magowan on Dieting, Blogs, and Raising Healthy Kids

by Emily on June 1, 2010

We recently discovered ReelGirl, a blog by writer and commentator Margot Magowan. She also co-founded the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, which provides professional training for young women. We decided to pick her brain about raising three daughters, her favorite blogs, and why dieting bored her to tears.

How do you instill a healthy body image in your daughters?

I tell my daughters they’re beautiful “on the inside and the outside,” all the time. It’s kind of cheesy but I think it works, and it’s true! I also tell them how smart and strong they are. When I hear them ask each other what pet, animal or creature in a book illustration is the “cutest” or “prettiest” I interrupt and say, “But what does she do? Is she smart? Is she strong? Does she have fun? Is she happy?” Whenever possible, I try to take the emphasis off of appearances. I try not to say disparaging things about how I look or the way other women look, even positive stuff, actually, like comment on the hair or make up or outfits of women on TV or in magazines. I hide my Us Weekly!

You wear a lot of hats–writer, speaker, mom, wife–what do you do when you need to recharge?

My kids go to bed at 7 p.m. I get dates confused, I’m often late for appointments, but those kids are on a schedule and that schedule hardly changes! That way, I know when it’s my time. I love spending that time with my husband, reading, hanging out with friends, or seeing a movie. I love to walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. I’d love to say I wake up at five a.m. and meditate, but I don’t. It’s on my list.

What do you see as some of the greatest internal or self imposed barriers that keep women from succeeding professionally?

I think a lot of women for one reason or another have bought into a split (that men aren’t subject to at all) that they have to choose between being a “good mom” or being successful professionally. I don’t feel that division emotionally. Having kids has made me more ambitious and much more financially responsible. I’m a better mother and more present for my kids when I spend time away from them in other ways that fulfill me.

For the rest of the interview see www.fitwoman.com