This post was sponsored by FAAR in collaboration with the Talk Early campaign, an initiative to empower parents to talk with their kids about alcohol.It was just one of those random, unplanned instagram posts. A sunny morning in early April. Our dining room table was buried beneath a year's worth of receipts, forms, and other financial residue. The kids were at school. Mark and I were doing our taxes, and there was an open bottle of Kingfisher on the table. One of us had opened it. I'm not saying who.
My caption—which posted on instagram and then distributed to other social media channels like Facebook and Twitter—was this: "Doing taxes is a legit excuse for day drinking, right @markhowerton?"
Just a little harmless, alcohol-and-taxes-related humor, right?
But then I thought about this #TalkEarly campaign I’m a part of, and how we’ve been trying to broaden the conversation around kids and drinking. And I started filling convicted. Especially as I was reminded of this video from Haley Kilpatrick at the summit:
She makes a point that gave me a fleeting twinge of guilt, even though I'm neither a huge drinker nor one of those people who posts photos of every beverage I've ever consumed.
She asked "What messages are we sending our kids when we joke about drinking?"
My kids aren't on instagram. They don't get to scroll through my facebook feed. But someday they WILL have access to those things, and some of their friends are already on there. Some of my nieces and nephews are, too. What will they think if I'm telling them to make good choices about alcohol on a Monday and then on Tuesday they dig into my way-back instagram archive and find this "day drinking" pic?
Mixed messages, dangit.
My kids know I'm a lot of things. To them, I'm a mom. But in a separate realm, I'm also a blogger, a speaker, a professor. They know the mom part, but they've only had tiny, controlled glimpses of the other stuff. What happens when they ARE introduced to my online personality and discover that it's not exactly identical to the image I've given them?
Haley says it straight in the above video: "You're not who you say you are to me, and that angers me."
The mixed messages I may be sending on social media about drinking might get a laugh or two out of my instagram followers or my friends on facebook, but what's the potential impact it might have on my kids' trust?
That's something I need to think about, and that's the key message behind #RefreshYourFunny, a hashtag campaign to get parents to rethink the easy, ubiquitous social media jokes we make about drinking.
Which we do. All the time.
I'm not about to go all "think of THE CHILDREN" and scold anyone who posts a margarita photo on instagram or mentions happy hour on facebook. But I am going to be more mindful.
What conversations am I having with my kids about good choices?
What am I telling them about alcohol?
Does the “Mom-Me: during these conversations conflict with the “Online-Me” who occasionally uses alcohol to get a laugh?
Those questions are worth asking. Talk Early is holding a #RefreshYourFunny challenge to, at least for the next few weeks, stop joking about alcohol.
I'm gonna try it. FOR THE CHILDREN.