Part Three – Day Drinking
If you are not privy to suburban life and actually go to an office and work between the hours of eight and six everyday, you are probably questioning what a “Mommy Happy Hour” exactly is. Apparently, at least in Texas, there is a very popular pastime among affluent suburban housewives called “Day Drinking”.
In my previous life, I would have nice, civilized business lunches and enjoy a glass of wine, but overall my livelihood and rent depended on my not getting drunk before five pm. Happy Hour was something you did after work and before dinner.
Not so in the land of the stay-at-home-moms. Texas women love to drink. They drink a lot. And never is that pleasure more indulged in than before their husbands get home from work.
Two and a half years of living in the OP, and I was invited to my first MHH. I was stoked. Great, I thought, just a bunch of like-minded women getting together to bond over a few glasses of wine while the children run around the yard and play with roly-polies. I couldn’t be more far off.
The first group text I received began to arouse my suspicions as to what exactly I was in for. The lady hosting the MHH announced shortly after lunch that the babysitter had arrived and the bouncy house was up, come on over!
Bouncy House?! Looking back, I guess I shouldn’t have been too shocked. Bouncy houses are about as common a fixture in suburbia as hipster slow-pour coffee houses are to trendy San Francisco neighborhoods. There’s one on every corner.
Just your typical backyard bouncy house on any given Sunday.
I arrived at the house and parked outside on the street of their gigantic corner lot. The entire perimeter of the house was surrounded by a fence so it took me a while to locate the entry gate. Once inside, I was welcomed by a very kind older lady who I assumed was the babysitter, since she was the only lady sitting outside next to the bouncy house.
As I made my way to the back door, past the pool with yet another fence around it, fences within fences, I passed a long banquet table all decorated and filled with buckets of sidewalk chalk, toys, cold beverages, and an assortment of treats and refreshments. I was about to reach for a cup when I realized, this was all for the kids.
I continued inside and was greeted by a group of smiling ladies all dressed beautifully and holding what I assumed to be their second glass of wine. Dressed in a chic floral maxi and a small South American quarry of chunky silver and turquoise necklaces hanging from her neck, our hostess was beautiful and gracious. I looked around. Her house was spacious and stylishly decorated. She may have been an accountant, but the girl had some serious style.
I introduced myself and commented on her lovely home. She went on about how her authentic cement tiles on her floor were not quite as shiny as she would like, and how her kitchen needed upgrading. She explained that they had moved in a year ago, but this definitely was NOT her dream home, they just really wanted to get into the school district. All the women standing around in a circle gave sympathetic nods and took a drink in unison.
I assumed we would go sit beneath the fans on the plush outdoor sofas situated on her sprawling porch to watch the kids while we chatted and drank our vino, but they just laughed and said it was way too hot. I nodded as I took a sip and turned toward the expansive window to smile at the sweet lady playing with our children out on the lawn.
As the afternoon progressed and the bottles of wine emptied one by one, I learned more about these women. I uncovered that we shared more than just a zip code and love of turquoise jewelry. These women were accountants, engineers, pediatricians, and educators. To my delight, they also proved to be witty, well traveled, interesting, and very funny Day Drinking partners.
They had chosen to forego their careers for the time being to raise their families. And like me, they too were struggling to find their voices and their grooves, and make the transition from office to home.
Needless to say, I had a blast and stayed till her husband got home.