This recent news article on the BBC website sparked a debate, although it’s not really news and isn’t so much an article but rather a photo. The photo is of Australia’s PM at a sports match with his grandson. The problem? Whilst he comforts his grandchild in one arm, he holds a pint of beer with the other. But is it a problem? Well it seems to have divided commentators on the subject, with many stating a firm stance of abstinence from drinking alcohol whilst raising a child, such as this comment, (quoted in the article linked to above), “Disgraceful holding a child with alcohol in hand!”.
As both a beer blogger and a new parent to a beautiful ten week old boy this has had me thinking. My whole world has been turned upside down and my priorities have changed. A spontaneous trip to the pub is now not a given thing, in fact a spontaneous trip anywhere isn’t a thing, it’s a job just to get out of the door at times and whilst popping out has turned into a military operation a trip to the pub is still very much on the cards, I’ve not stopped drinking just because I’m a new mum and my baby boy has been to the pub twice already. Now this is where I need to state that there is a big difference between having a drink and getting drunk.
I will never be drunk around my child. I know my limits and I don’t get anywhere close to them. That’s because I know that I’m responsible for a baby. And that’s the key word here; responsible. I’m not going to completely change who I am and what I enjoy; it’s important for my child to grow up knowing the things that I like, what my hobbies are and what makes me me. Writing about beer happens to be one of those hobbies, and the culture around (craft) beer, brewing and pubs happens to be a big part what makes me tick. I like the culture and the scene around it because it’s a celebration of quality, a showcase for a craft, a platform for inspired artisans and it’s inclusive. I approach drinking alcohol responsibly; I choose quality over quantity. I’m also mindful of why I choose a beer instead of a soft drink, mindful of why I choose the beer I do, what mood I’m in when I have a drink, the flavours that the drink imparts, the memories it may stir up. Mindfulness plays a big part in how I approach alcohol and if indeed it’s an alcoholic beverage at all. With all of this in mind I can raise my child to be aware of what it is to be responsible around alcohol as opposed to being naive to it.
To raise a child aware of and to appreciate quality over quantity brings with it an awareness and appreciation of a craft, that this product has been created from a passion, designed and produced by dedicated artisans with knowledge, skill, flare and integrity, using the very best ingredients available to them. This understanding can only be a good thing, it means that there is no more mystery to be explored, drinking alcohol doesn’t become a curious itch to be scratched at and maybe that knowledge of a quality, crafted product and what it takes to produce something of a fine standard becomes inspiration for their own project, whatever it may be. So I’m going to stick to my one drink with dinner or afternoon pint because there’s more to beer than just alcohol, there’s more to drinking than just getting drunk and there’s definitely more in having less as opposed to having nothing at all.