Mom and Alcohol

Updated on September 10, 2011
C.S. asks from Waterbury, CT
20 answers

Looking for your opinions ... I was at a function with my child. There was another mom there who I have met previously. She disappeared into the bathroom for quiet awhile. When she came out she came right up to me and asked where she knew me from. She reeked of alcohol. My guess is she went in the bathroom for a drink. We had a conversation and she repeated herself a few times, and asked me questions after I already answered them. The worst part? She was DRIVING her children.

I have to see this mom once a week from now until May. What should I do? Part of me thinks its none of my business, but if anything ever happened to those kids .... I would feel so guilty. What to do????

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So What Happened?

It wasnt a school function. I'm going to pay closer attention next week, and I will call the police if I smell it on her again and if she is driving her kids.

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answers from San Francisco on

Next time get her liscense and vehicle description, and call and report a drunk driver. That wakeup may save her kids life or her own. But don't is too short.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you are likely to be seeing this woman again see if there is a pattern. If you see the same things again then contact the police (if she is driving) and CPS.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

I'd call the local police station and say, "Look, I don't know what I should have done but in the future..." and see what they advise you to do. You can also mention it to a principal or guidance counselor that you are concerned about the children.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i'm sorry, i'm sure she loves her kids, but if those same kids aren't enough to keep her sober, then you saying something to her sure isn't going to do it. there's a reason they keep lowering the legal blood alcohol level, because you are IMPAIRED even with just a little alcohol. a call to the police department (next time you SMELL the alcohol on her, and SEE her get ready to leave with her kids in the car - or even without them, really, if she's driving) will hurt no one. she doesn't even have to know who called.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

just came home from a H.S. football game....I was amazed at how many dads reeked of booze! They were going in/out of the park to their a row of ants.

How sad & what a not be able to go 2 hours without a drink. What's this teaching their kids?

As for your situation: what would happen if you said, "wow! Was that tequila or vodka?" Maybe a simple comment like that would draw her attention to the fact that she's not fooling anyone!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jamestown on

Invite her out to lunch. Get to know her and then you will be able to figure out why she drinks. Be a friend to her. Get her number and offer to drive her and her kids the next time to "save money on gas".

People are so quick to call the police without getting all the information first. She could've just found out her husband was leaving her, a family member passed away, she could have issues with social events, etc. I don't drink but if I was in a situation with a room full of disapproving, judgmental, snobby mothers, I would want a shot too!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Go to the woman and tell her point blank what you have told many, many people on this site. If she cares enough about her children and herself, she will take action to get some help.

She may resent you for saying anything, but if you called the police or brought others (school officials) into the picture, she will resent you more.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would call the cops. I was driving home in the middle of the afternoon once, it was like 330pm, anyways this minivan was going side to side, lane to lane on the highway.. I mean this mini van almost took out other drivers, guard rails etc.. so I called 911 and the state police where there in literally 3 minutes to pull the van over. I didnt know if the driver was drunk or sick or what the deal was but the point was that at that point it was putting other people at risk not to mention anyone in that van.. no way would I be comfortable knowing someone was driving drunk with children in the car! Not saying call 911 if you smell alcohol breath but I would let the police investigate if it is ongoing. If she is drinking at functions with families and kids who knows how much she drinks at home! Sad :(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

This Mom might have a drinking problem but I also think everyone is quick to judge. We have to remember that people have the right to choose their behavior. You are making assumptions about her being in the bathroom longer than usual and it might be true she was drinking in there or it might not. Someone can drink and NOT be intoxicated so that's the toughest part is making the judgement call if she was truly drunk or she had a drink or few drinks/it's hard to tell from your post. I would have absolutely offered to give her and kids a ride if I thought she was intoxicated and if she refused, you certainly could have called 911 but do it in a manner where it wouldn't embarass her. Most don't know they have a problem you know...My dad was a functioning alcoholic and most of the time he had a few drinks in him and was 'okay' as sick as that sounds; however, I remember a few times when he absolutely should not have driven when I was a child. Thank the Lord that nothing happened and he didn't even get a DUI amazingly enough. I definitely wish I would have had a parent or neighbor drive me a time or two and even get the police involved if needed because it was scary.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Okay if you really thought she was drunk you should have called the police, why didn't you?

Did you smell her breath before she went into the bathroom?

Here is the thing, I have ADD, everything other than the alcohol breath can be attributed to that. I hate it but the one thing I cannot overcome is the ability to remember people I don't see a lot.

So if you are basing your judgement on just smelling alcohol she may have had a beer or wine with dinner and not be drunk at all. Which is why I asked why you didn't call the police. I have called the police each and every time I thought someone was impaired, I didn't go home and post on a board. Of course before I call the police I always offer to drive the person, you did neither.



answers from Minneapolis on

Next time you see her driving away and she smells of alcohol, get on your cell phone and call the cops. Or, if you are on school property, pass the buck onto a school official. They HAVE to report her.



answers from New York on

Having a drink and being drunk are two different things. Someone who has to hide in the bathroom to drink is usually someone with a problem. You don't mention how you know this woman and it's hard to make judgements based on a one time event. Do you have any friends in common who you could mention this to? That might give you more insight into the situation, or maybe you'll find that they are concerned because they have noticed things too.



answers from Des Moines on

Alert the school counselor to keep ears open. If you know she's driving with the kids call the police and if a police report is made - DHS will be alerted by the police. These kids need protection if mom really is drinking heavily. The role of DHS is to help family make positive changes for the safety and well being of the children.



answers from New York on

This is definitely serious. If I were in your position I would phone the police. I'd give information: License plate #, type of car, color, and the location/time of where she would be at this weekly "function." You could also give a description of her. From that point the police would handle it and you could remain anonymous.



answers from Oklahoma City on

That is ALL you can do. You cannot take her kids and not let them get in the car with her, you cannot tell her she can't have them at all. She can have you arrested for interfering with her and her children. You can however call the police with her tag number, a description of her vehicle, what you suspect, etc...and if they have time they might follow her to see if she is weaving and showing signs of driving under the influence. Even if they do follow her she may not make any mistakes.

In Directors classes for National Recognition training these are things we learn. They are her children and you don't have a legal right to interfere but there are more things you can do. Like call the police. They have to catch her in the act for it to mean anything though.


answers from Redding on

Offer her some gum next time she talks to you and you smell it, and give her the "I know what youre up to" look. It will make her uncomfortably aware. If she's an alcoholic and driving her kids around, I think I'd sneak off to the bathroom to give a quick heads up to the hwy patrol in your area and make them aware...... kids lives are at stake here along with everyone else on the road.



answers from New York on

Are you sure she was drunk? Is it possible someone bumped into her on her way to the bathroom and spilled alcohol on her? Or was it a cough drop or some other smell that resembled alcohol? Repeating herself or not remembering you does not mean she was drunk. The best dectector of being drunk is to watch her eyes. When she looks at you and then to someone else (or for example, if you wave your hand in front of her), her eyes should move straight from you to the the next thing she is looking at (or she should be able to follow your hand normally), if her eyes are bouncing all over the place, she is most likley drunk. Also, it has to be a noticeable difference from how her eyes are normally when she is sober.


answers from Hartford on

Honestly, there aren't enough details. Were you at someone's home? Was it a private party? You said it's not a school function but that's not really narrowing it down. Was alcohol being served? How long after she had her drink did she leave?

That last question is the most important. If she waited an hour to drive after her last drink, then that would mean that her body metabolized the drink. If she drank two drinks worth, then it would take about two hours worth to metabolize. I wouldn't automatically assume that she was drunk, and I wouldn't automatically judge her, although drinking alone in secret trying to hide it isn't a good sign.

If there's another event where it happens again, then I might try to talk to her privately and gently. It's possible it was a one time thing, it's possible it's a habit. But if it does happen again and she were to try to leave while smelling of alcohol I would definitely call the police for that. No need to announce it to her, of course, but the kids are more important than her feelings and embarrassment.


answers from Jacksonville on

I would have went to the school officials. I still would, that way someone can keep an eye on her. Maybe even duck into the bathroom when she goes to find out for sure.


answers from Houston on

I am with you...I would feel the same way. You should for sure alert the school but I would also alert the police, especially if you know that you will be seeing her the same time and place each week. This would make it much easier for the police or school to keep an eye out. It would be sad for the kids if their mother got in trouble at the school infront of people however, it would be so much worse if something happened to those kiddos. :(

Good luck! I hope she gets the help she obviously needs.

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