Monday, November 20, 2017

I’m the opposite of Shonda Rimes.

 I read Shonda Rimes’ The Year of Yes when it first came out. It made the bookshelf cut, reserved for books that moved me (I say YES to purging, whenever possible). As much as I related to it at the time, I must’ve forgotten the key messages. When Carolyn suggested Oprah’s podcast with Shonda,  I gave it a listen. Shonda’s book and transformation were inspired by her sister calling her out. Her sister pointed out the number of invitations Shonda turned down. In the interview, Shonda explained that she turned down many of these due to anxiety or fear.
This is a pattern I recognize in myself. I’ll give you a recent example. I was to do a live segment on one of the big morning shows today. The timing was far from ideal as I was in Maryland for the weekend. Both boys had soccer tournaments and so our return time last night was uncertain. I secured hair and makeup magicians for this morning. 
Thursday, I had alerted the show’s producer I’d be out of town for the weekend and not at a computer. I got her the necessary information prior to getting in the car at 7am Friday. On the way down to Bethesda, I received a few frantic emails from her. I answered the best I could from my phone. I was pissed to be putting out fires for her when I wanted to be focused on the kids. I told her I’d be back at my computer late afternoon. Dissatisfied, she called my office. Grace explained my situation, reminded her I had told her I’d be unreachable. Instead of understanding, she took her frustrations out and yelled at Grace.
I told the producer this crossed the line. I am territorial when it comes to anyone close to me.
This was supposed to be a lighthearted Thanksgiving segment; I’m a nutritionist not a neurosurgeon! And I backed out. As soon as I did this, I had two feelings. First, I was relieved. I no longer had my head back in NYC. I could focus on passes and goals and my two soccer players. This was legit. But a part of me didn’t want the pressure of showing up first thing Monday morning, for a segment that wasn’t 100 percent in my wheelhouse. I could make a case this was the correct decision, as a mother. But I know myself and can try to weasel out of certain opportunities.

I’m sharing this to call myself out. Perhaps you have similar situation avoidance. Or, maybe this goes back to another of Shonda’s observations. You can’t have it all. If you are getting an A in mothering, you’re likely passing up something elsewhere. Shonda, you’re so smart. So that’s that, I promise to fill you in on the Thanksgiving nutrition specifics later in the week. Oh, one last point the producer above the scattered producer called to apologize. She was lovely and said this wasn’t a reflection on the network or Megyn J

Friday, November 10, 2017

Bad moms and wine moms

 There’s a bit of a brouhaha over the recent Bad Mom’s Christmas movie. I haven’t seen the movie, though I watched the first one. The issue being debated is this concept of a “wine mom” and the coupling of motherhood and alcohol. Is this an innocuous combination?  Or is it concerning, something not to be joked about?

When my younger son was in preschool, we had a playgroup. We referred to ourselves as the Winos. I’m not even a wine lover but cherished these gatherings. Thursdays, late afternoon, we’d meet at one of our apartments. There was wine and cheese (I am a cheese lover for sure). We’d hang out and catch up and the toddlers would do their thing. There were more than a couple of times we pushed strollers home or got in taxis feeling a little buzzed. In the city, none of us were driving, this wouldn’t have been a good idea. As your kids get older, you don’t have parents over as much as kids are independent so I miss those get-togethers.

I had no negative associations between booze and babies for a long time. I started to question things when I attended a discussion of Elizabeth Vargas’s memoir. Elizabeth has discussed her alcoholism candidly. What was eye-opening for me, at this event, were the comments in the audience. One person strongly objected to the “wine o’clock” concept and all the humor surrounding drinking. Another found it difficult to navigate motherhood with so many events centered upon alcohol. I am definitely someone who makes these jokes, posts alcohol-centric items on Instagram and has had wine at some of my children’s birthday parties. I would never like to be insensitive and so it got me thinking.

Despite coming from a family of cocktail lovers, attending Tulane and making a mean martini, I am someone who has never had a problem with drinking. I have always been the person who enjoyed the social aspect of drinking but could also go a week or two without a drink. I am providing this information as I think it’s one end of the spectrum. Healthy drinking is considered a drink a day (less if you look at some of the cancer research) and except on vacation, I'm always well below that. Again- this doesn’t make me superior, it just says something about my physiology.

On the other end of the spectrum, this article shows that there is a huge rise in high risk drinking, defined here as up to 4 drinks a day. From 2002 (coincidentally when my first child was born) until 2013 there was a 58% increase in high risk drinking. In my experience with clients, many women fall somewhere between drinking being a non-issue and alcoholism.  And there’s a lot of guilt and questions surrounding drinking. I am not an alcohol expert but I think one drink a day is a good litmus test. If you can have one drink and stop there, I’d say there’s likely not a problem. When that’s impossible, it’s worth looking into it further. Scratch that, I think it’s worth looking into further for all of us. Why we drink, when we drink and how we feel after drinking is an important piece of the wellness puzzle.
Should I not say “cheers” to the weekend?