Family · Just my Thoughts


Almost as if he has been reading my blog, I just received a text from #5.  Just to refresh everyone’s memory – mine included – #5 just turned 19 in October and goes to a state university that is a dry campus.  Also to refresh your memories, this week is the week of the half drunk challenge.  And, just to put your minds at ease, NO I am not drunk or drinking – other than ginger and lemon tea – at 8:45 am.

Anyhow, the text message from #5 – whom I will see on Wednesday as I am traveling to Oneonta with a good friend who has an interview at the other college in town – was could you please bring me a bottle of red wine when you come.

A bit of background here.  I have never allowed – when I was awake – my underaged children to drink in my house.  I do not  condone underage drinking.  I am, though, a realist and know that my kids do drink, not the 15 year old yet but the other five.  I am also a realist in that I know #5 will get the bottle of wine from someone else if I decide to not take it with me.

My older children, numbers 1 through 4, have accused me of getting soft.  I have allowed #6 to do things that I would have let #1 do when he was this age.  I have not yelled and screamed at #5 about bringing alcohol into the house – though I have made him dump out alcohol I have found.  What my older children do not realize is I am not getting soft, I am just plain tired.  I am tired of being the one to be on booze patrol.  I am tired of being the “bitch” mom that no one wants around.  I am tired of trying to parent – though I know I still have decades of parenting ahead of me.  I want to take a break.  I almost feel like I deserve a break.

So, now back to #5.  Do I take him a bottle of red wine?  Do I ignore the fact that campus is a dry campus?  Do I ignore the fact that he is not legally able to drink?

What say you all?

43 thoughts on “#5 AGAIN

  1. As a daughter of another tired mom, my vote is no, don’t do it. It is one thing to to know that the child is doing wrong, but another do give him a free pass. Remind him you are his mom, that it is a dry campus, he is underage, and then leave it at that. Yeah he will get it somewhere, but in the end you are still the mom and you still have your kids respect. They may be mad for a little while but the fun mom is usually not respected in the end.

  2. Such a tricky issue. Although I haven’t had to deal with this one in particular (since my kids are still so little), I feel like challenges like this face all of us so often – and I often find myself getting drawn into “accidental parenting” because I am either too tired or too confused to figure out what the right thing to do is. I think it’s great that you’re taking the time to think through this decision. And I think that Lauri is on to something. I don’t think a 19 year old drinking wine is a major social problem, but – for better or worse – underage drinking is illegal and I’m not sure you want to be sending the message that you will help expedite his choice to do something illegal. I’ll be interested to see what other parents have to say.

    1. Kristen – you are so right – “accidental parenting.” That is just the phrase. I have seen this many times and just did not know what to call it.

      I am still on the fence. I am trying to figure it all out but I will most likely hold to my – nope.

    2. “Accidental Parenting.”
      I love it!
      And it IS a tricky thing. And I HEAR you that you’re tired. Really. I only have three and the oldest is only 7 but I can already tell that I care a whole lot less about what the little one is doing at the age of 18 months than I ever cared about the oldest at that age. Make sense?

      Excuse me, currently half-drunk.

      Will be checking back to see what the others say.

      I have the whole good voice/bad voice going. “Who cares, just buy it” VS “No way in hell, he can figure it out for himself if he REALLY wants to drink!”

      Tough call, Mama. I hear you when you say you know they’ll drink no matter what. And a bottle of red wine sounds so much sweeter than a case of Michelob Ultra, know what I mean?

      1. And who admits they are tired? I know just what you mean, Sarah. It is the time-tested “I know that is a mother of more than one child as she just picked that binky up off the ground and shoved it back in the baby’s mouth” attitude.

        I think I have thought about him drinking enough for one day and am going to go have a glass – or a half bottle – of wine.

  3. God, I hear you. I am always the bad cop and I hate it. Steam is coming out my ears just thinking about it.

    Perhaps you could make a joke of this. Bring the kid one of those sparkling cider thingys that come in wine bottles and then act stunned that it’s not alcoholic.

    College kids drink. It’s a fact. I know I did. But if the campus is dry, I’d say you have a good reason right there not to comply with #5’s request.

    1. TKW – this one made me laugh! He would be so pissed as he knows I know the difference. LMAO! And, to top it all off, I was IM’ing with him as I read this.

  4. Campus is dry–surely he knew this when he enrolled. So alcohol possession could have negative consequences for him. That’s rule breaking/risk taking that is within his control. We want our kids not to be boneheads but they are going to do stuff we don’t love. This is not a big deal.

    The bigger issue, as I see it, is that he’s underage. He is asking you to do something illegal. This could have negative consequences for you. And to my mind, we don’t ask people we love to put themselves at risk for us over something as stupid as a drink. It’s not an ethical way to treat other people. In the words of my own spiritual tradition (Unitarian Universalist), it does not respect the “inherent dignity and worth” of the other person. When I ask someone to do something like this, I am treating them as a means to my own end.

    Of course, that’s how our kids treat us, isn’t it? But that’s not a reason not to ask for better. It’s a great opportunity to express your expectation that he rise to his better self.

    Just my two cents. Let’s see what I do when #1-and-only grows up.

    1. Be assured he knew and is constantly reminded that campus is dry. This was not always the case at this particular campus but it has been this way for, I would guess, five years.

      We do allow our children, it seems, to treat us in ways we do not allow others to treat us. That is a point I had not seen in this! Oh, Lynne Marie, thank you!!!!

    2. This is an absolutely fantastic response in every way. You got me as soon as you used the word “boneheads.” And everything after that? totally well thought out and true, as usual.

      A means to an end.

      Rising to our better selves.

      Oh so perfectly perfect.

  5. We have the occasional glass of wine or beer around our house and in front of our children, ages 9 and 6. We have always told them they need to be of legal age to drink and getting drunk is wrong. I want them to take care of and respect their bodies and getting drunk does neither of those. In this case, to me it’s a very simple NO on the legal grounds (underage + dry campus) if nothing else. And that is an example I would want to set for my child.

    1. You are right, Rebecca to start teaching them young. #5 has seen me enforce my drinking rules and the legal drinking age at home. He also knows that #’s 1-4 accuse me of being much more lenient now.

  6. First question: Did he sign a contract or an honor code of any type?

    I ask that because I attended a dry campus (voted stone sober for 4 years in a row). I had no inclination to drink before, but signing the honor code when I went to school really pushed any urges I may have had away.

    I think most of the comments before me have said it all. Appeal to his sense of honor–to the law and his campus.

    1. Ambrosia – no contract or honor code. He does know my feelings on the whole subject and has seen enforcement in action.

      I am waiting for his response on here as I am sure he will.

  7. Like you, as the “only” cop, I am also the bad cop. But like you, I am a realist. And, although I only have two kids, #1 would say (and has) that I am easier on #2. In his eyes, it’s so; in mine, I’m dealing with a very different personality AND I am so much more tired than I was with #1.

    On point: my kids are half European. When they have been with their cousins in Europe, they have a beer, or a glass of wine – generally with a meal, but not always. #1 also lived for 10 weeks in France (a tiny town in the middle of nowhere) with a French family, when he was 16 (attending french high school). Of course he drank! A lot? No. Why? Because he’d been allowed a beer at home with a meal, or a glass of wine with a meal. (And funny how when they’re “allowed” they don’t take it to excess.)

    This is and always has been a hybrid home (of cultures and other things). That said, I wouldn’t bring the wine. And there have been times my elder has called me a hypocrite when I wouldn’t allow him to go fetch a six pack of beer from someone else’s home even though he knew and I knew that I was going to allow him to have a beer with his dinner if he wanted it. Because it was against the law and had significant consequences should he get stopped. Even driving the one mile from a friend’s house, with no intent to drink the alcohol except here, later, at home, at the kitchen table, with my permission.

    In one’s own home, and no “consequences” or breaking others’ rules, I think it’s a different story. (My #1 was always the designated driver; he said “kids get drunk and there’s nothing more stupid that when kids are drunk.”)

    “Legal” age? I think that’s dumb. But in public, and on other premises, or relative to transporting alcohol, I think we need to respect it – if for no other reason than possible consequences for our kids and legal liability for us.

    Again, my son calls me a hypocrite; I tell him I know kids drink, and as long as they NEVER get behind a wheel while doing it (and they’re 16 or over) – I, personally, have a more European view. But we aren’t in Europe. We’re HERE. So what my children do with my permission as older teens IN OUR HOME is different from what I think they should do under other circumstances.

    Confusing? Maybe. But logical to me. Dry campus. Promise a good bottle of wine for the holidays, when at home.

    1. I understand your point of view, BLW. I was sure that, with your European background and the fact that you have older kids, you would have an interesting opinion.

      Truth is I have gotten use to being the bad cop. I think that almost all of my children have some responsibility now with regards to their drinking. I am not so sure about #1 or #2 or #4 when they went to college.

      And, I am now off to approve #5’s commentary – and with correcting his typing, grammar, etc. I am a controlling mother.

      1. Correcting typing and grammar isn’t controlling, IMO. It’s what mother-writer-editors do. (Have also done it, any time asked, or anytime I see something that is a clear typo.)

  8. Well let’s be honest, I’m doing less wrong than my peers. Being the only person under the age of 21 on my floor who doesn’t have a fake ID, hey isn’t that one a felony. And in all reality this is as much a dry campus as it is a zero tolerance campus both of which it “advertises” it self as.

    When a kid decides to hot box ( his room and his whole hall smells like weed. They go looking for him and say “Oh he must not be here, guess he’s not getting in trouble.”

    When my former roommate, thank God, decided to drink himself into oblivion and then throw up all over the bathroom and the hallway all before 10 PM, guess what happened. A big old helping of nothing. An RA down the hall had his door urinated on by a resident when drunk and he got “a stern talking to.” That’s also known as Hussein saying “Don’t be an idiot.”

    I love my school but Stoneonta is not now nor has it ever been a dry or zero tolerance campus. Let alone the things that they promote. Let’s make it so no one can drink but promote everyone to have so much sex that the free condoms raise tuition, you think I’m kidding! If the school spent less money condoms for people to tack to their doors as decorations, and put on door knobs filled with soap. Then maybe just maybe they could pay people to enforce some of these rules that their employees even say are a joke.

    Don’t have an extension cord (where I can see it). Don’t drink in your room (if you’re going to be immature and dumb about it). Don’t be stupid about sex (don’t shit where you sleep). This is the floor meeting that we had at the beginning of the semester. Oh and don’t forget hide your weed.

    1. First, let’s be honest. You have been raised to be better than just “doing less wrong than my peers.”

      Second, let’s hope this is not too much reality for those parents of young children that visit me, #5.

      Third, I am not bringing wine with me. It has nothing to do with anything you have said. It is just not the right thing to do.

  9. Hey #5! This is cool! It’s like a conversation with my #1 who’s in college! Right down to the Urban Dictionary references! (A fabulous tool for a good laugh and a lot of education for us aging, incomprehensible, but we-really-do-remember-what-it’s-like-to-be-your-age folks.)

    It’s parents doing what parents do – trying to protect you from potentially serious consequences. And following our consciences. You may disagree, but you kinda sorta gotta think it’s preferable to have parents who genuinely care than not, no?

    (OK. I’ll butt out. I miss my pain-in-the-ass kid who’ll be home in 3 weeks and turn my hair silver again in a week’s time of day-night-day parties with bodies asleep all over my teeny tiny house…)

    1. Oh, BLW, I do hope you do not put ideas into #5’s head. My house is probably the same size as yours, maybe smaller, and needs to fit more people in it. LOL!

  10. Well It is true that it’s better to have parents who care than don’t. I also believe that there’s no use in hiding an elephant. Everyone knows and there’s no lying that anyone is going to believe. As for the Urban Dictionary, that’s just to pick on my mom who looks up everything I say on there.

    That being said it’s not like I asked her to bring me up a shotgun to take care of the deer on campus. Or in a less radical situation something actually highly dangerous to myself, like 151, or Admiral Nelson (Barton’s Vodka cheap, Captain taste, sorta)

    As I’ve always stood in policy is the truth may hurt but it’s better to deal with all the pain at once rather than string it out. So playing video games at 4 in the morning over break is not a big deal. O:)

  11. That’s a tough one. My kids aren’t old enough to put me to this test yet, so I can only say what I THINK I’d do, but I think I’d say no to him. Sure, you’re not blind, and you know he drinks underage, but that doesn’t mean you have to outwardly condone it, you know? Because no matter their age, you’re the mom. And they’ll respect that.

    1. Amy – You are right. I am the parent. I will, as much as I would like to not, act like the adult and will not take wine to him at college. I know full well that he has access if he truly wants a bottle of wine. Oh well… now, whether he will respect that or not, not so sure on that one.

    1. Well, that is what he will have to do, unless the other adult I am traveling with is will to face my wrath and buy it for him. My guess is that would maybe be a no.

  12. Holy Shit, Nicki. I haven’t even finished reading the comments between you and #5 but I have to say, BRAVO! I can’t even wait until I finish (half-drunk already, sorry #5) but I will write more after I ACTUALLY FINISH. #5, I think I got something for ya!

  13. Dear #5,

    I think you might want to seek some guidance from one of these peers you speak of who has better luck getting what they want out of their parents. You played this one all wrong.

    Next time, send us an email for counsel. We were rather good at it back in the day.

    Sorry Nicki,

    Your truly,

    Momalom & MomalomsMan

    1. I have to think he didn’t get his alcohol getting abilities from me, Sarah and D(right?). I was only 17 when I went to college so not legally able to drink even though the drinking age was 18 at the time. LOL…

      Oh, and #5 – it is Sarah’s house I stopped to take a picture of when I picked you up sick with the flu.

      1. don’t feel bad, Nicki, i never, ever had any ability to procure alcohol when i was underage. even when i was old enough to legally drink, i STILL got carded. every time. until i was about.. 24.

        i agree with every person on here with the whole “don’t do it” bit. i kind of wonder why he would ask you? to yank your chain, maybe? as if you’re all of a sudden going to totally change your morals and beliefs and start supplying him with booze. w-t-f? (as the youngsters say.) maybe he just wanted a bit of reassurance that Mama is still exactly the same, even if college life is a bit wacky these days. or maybe he thought you would be so wowed with his wine-drinking sophistication that you would totally forget about the UNDERAGE aspect and bring him wine.

        damn kids these days. good for you for not falling for it.

  14. Stone Fox – I had not truly thought maybe he was just trying to push my buttons. I will have to verbally chastise him when I see him tomorrow. I will say that my initial comment when he asked was “Excuse me?” Did you send that text message to the correct person?

    Oh well….decision is done. He will have to procure without me.

  15. Nicki,
    Great post, loved all the comments and I learned a new vocab. word from #5.

    After having just completed R1’s room search this morning, I understand your feeling tired and you’ve been policing a lot longer than I have. It get’s exhausting.

    Like you said, if #5 wants it, he will get it, that’s nothing new! Good decision and the one I would make too. And I think he probably was testing the waters; way to hold your ground!

    1. Believe it or not, anjanette, I have learned a lot from #5 – probably part of the reason I am a tired parent.

      I am actually glad he is going to FL for most of his winter break as I am not sure I could do this day in and day out during his vacation.

  16. Late to this raucous comment party, but I have arrived! This is such an interesting question. And, frankly, a really tough one. Maybe I don’t see this as a black and white issue because I feel almost as close to my college years as I do to my parenting college kids years.

    How do we compromise between being realistic and sending the right message? I flash forward and I fear my girls feeling like they need to lie to me and sneak around… But I also don’t want them to feel like I will facilitate poor decisions.

    Goodness, this is tough. How wonderful that your son chimed in here. Makes this very compelling and REAL.

    Great post.

    1. Thanks, Aidan! I am loving this week as I have explored some areas I wouldn’t have thought of putting out in public.

  17. Haha…college….
    If I asked my dad outright, he’d give me what he had on hand but he would never deliberately buy me something.
    My mom pretended I was a nun. Right until I started popping out the first of four kids.

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