Drink and Drugs News DDN 1806 | Page 30


WHY MUMMY DRINKS – The diary of an exhausted mum

I spent much of this book wondering if the answer to the title is ‘ because she is an alcoholic ’.
Has Ellen , 39-year-old mum of two , lost the ability to control her drinking ? Mummy is at the stage when , increas - ingly , everything she has to do is better with alcohol – afterwards , and then , during : ‘ stashing a large bottle of Pimm ’ s in my bag … made the intermin able hell of sport ’ s day pass much faster ’.
Mummy says she drinks because other people are too much . Especially her young children , Peter and Jane . Like when Jane picks a paperclip off a hospital floor , and it later gets stuck between her teeth . So it ’ s back to the hospital to have it removed . This leaves mummy ‘ beyond the aid of mere wine and having to resort to gin ’.
Then there are other people ’ s mummies ; the ‘ Bloody Perfect Coven ’ and their obligatory middle-class extracurricular activities : ‘ take children to swimming / music / tennis / dance / Jiu Jitsu ’. ‘ So much to do , there is never enough time to do anything ’. ‘ It ’ s a wonder I don ’ t drink more ’ listening to ‘ Perfect Lucy Atkinson ’ s Perfect Mummy ’ say things such as ‘ you still eat quinoa ? You should give Camargue red rice a try ’. ‘ 3.45pm : ‘ wonder how soon I can have wine ?’.
These resent ments are among many unhelpful ways in which Ellen thinks . She doesn ’ t come across as being sustainably comfortable in herself or nice to be around – except to her friends , Hannah and Sam , when they are drinking . Together they sneer at the dysfunctional relationships of other adults ; splitup couples arguing
Ellen thinks she is ‘ a terrible parent ’ and all aspects of parenting are an ordeal
about money or who sees the kids when . Mummy is prone to doing other people ’ s thinking and fuelling her selfdoubt by comparing herself unfavour - ably to everyone else . She sits on the top deck of buses , peering into people ’ s homes . ‘ What I see through all those windows are the good stories . Do people think the same when they pass my house ? A nice house , a woman who has everything she could want , two beautiful children and a husband who loves her ?’
In fact Ellen thinks she is ‘ a terrible parent ’ and all aspects of parenting are an ordeal . An afternoon at a soft play centre is an event for which ‘ there is not enough wine in the world to ease the pain ’.
Her thinking jumps to conclusions , crystal-ball gazes or strives for perfection . She expects too much from everything – so a firework display , which might be exciting , is just ‘ being jostled in a muddy park ’.
The alcohol , on almost every page , is a symptom of Mummy ’ s sedation of all this over-thinking . What she idealises is control : ‘ 7.40 pm : enjoy a civilised gin and tonic with my loving husband as we discuss each other ’ s days and make supportive remarks ’.
This is never the reality and Ellen ’ s conclusion is that she ’ s ‘ a bored borderline alcoholic trying to pass herself off as a semi-functioning adult ’.
So is the sequel going to be ‘ Why Mummy Goes To AA ’? It ’ s much more likely to be ‘ Why Mummy Swears ’, which she does – a lot .
Review by Mark Reid
WHY MUMMY DRINKS – The diary of an exhausted mum . By Gill Sims ISBN : 9780008237493 HarperCollins £ 14.99


The news , and the skews , in the national media
WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS CALL FOR DRUGS TO BE LEGALISED , we have to listen . So too when doctors speak up . Last month the Royal College of Physicians took the important step of coming out in favour of decriminalisation , joining the BMA , the Faculty of Public Health , and the Royal Society of Public
Health in supporting drug policy reform … The BMJ is firmly behind efforts to legalise , regulate , and tax the sale of drugs for recreational and medicinal use . This is an issue on which doctors can and should make their voices heard . BMJ editorial , 10 May
LEGALISING DRUGS WOULD HALVE THE NUMBER OF PRISONERS , lead to fewer murders and overdoses , and result in safer inner cities . Only one question remains : when will a politician muster the courage and admit that legalisation would work ? Jack Powell , Telegraph , 11 May
WE ' RE HOOKED ON A BIG LIE . How can the stupid concept of ‘ addiction ’
survive , if people such as the Relate organisation can seriously suggest that anyone is ‘ addicted ’ to sex ? People pursue pleasures at the expense of others , because they enjoy them . Why do doctors , and the criminal justice system , too , help them to do this ? Peter Hitchens , Mail on Sunday , 6 May
NOTHING FIRES UP WE SCOTS QUITE LIKE SOMEONE THREATENING TO LENGTHEN OUR LIFE EXPECTANCY . And now , thanks to legislation that puts a floor on the price of alcohol , many of us have a reason to get upset … Yet there remains an elusive force at play in the public conversation about alcohol . Namely , the fact that so many of us who drink too much are either unaware of it or are in some form of denial . We tend to downplay or underestimate both
how much we drink and the impact it has on our finances and mental health – which is why facts are useful when creating policies that are designed to tackle the issue . Darren McGarvey , Guardian , 3 May
BY SOME MALIGN ALCHEMY the problem has been reconceived in recent years as harm done not by drugs but by the law . So there ’ s been an ever-more explicit push to decriminalise all drugs , coming not just from legalisation charities but from an establishment which is increasingly in their pocket … To double down on calls for policy changes that will increase the number of drug users still farther is not to promote reform . It is a social death wish . Melanie Phillips , Times , 29 May
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