Mommy Wine Culture Belies Underlying Drinking Issues

 

The “Mommy Wine Culture” is the growing trend where mothers turn to wine as a way to manage the stress of parenting. You see it all over social media platforms and you see it branded into gifts, cards, and wine glasses with phrases such as “mommy’s juice.” This is all supposed to be funny, but jokes aside, this light-hearted approach often belies serious drinking issues – or psychological stress, anger, anxiety and depression.

The term “wine mom” generally describes a mother who uses wine to cope with the challenges of raising children. It’s a way to downplay and giggle at her reliance on wine and the way she uses it to bond with other mothers and be one of the crowd. The internet plays an overwhelming role in promoting the wine mom movement as search engines and social media platforms overflow with memes like “the most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink,” as highlighted in an article by The Atlantic.

Simmering beneath the surface of these humorous wine glasses and online articles and jokes, the origins of mommy wine culture might stem from a desire to validate the struggles of mothers and build a sense of community. The message that “mommy needs wine” could be an attempt to convey the difficulties of motherhood in a socially acceptable manner. However, all it does is perpetuate the notion that alcohol offers a solution for overwhelmed and isolated moms – which can then negatively affect moms, their partners and their families.

 

Mommy Juice is a Joke

Examples of mommy wine culture include moms using phrases like “mommy juice” to cope with their children, purchasing items like coffee mugs with the phrase “This is Probably Wine,” organizing or participating in social events centred around drinking, consuming alcohol before their kids return from school, openly discussing alcohol consumption on social media as a coping mechanism, and engaging in heavy drinking to celebrate their children going to bed.

Moms join the mommy wine culture as they believe its promises to relieve the stress, fatigue, and anxiety that go with parenting. Every mom has a unique perspective on motherhood and unique resources at her disposal – and once the baby is born, many dreams change as reality sets in. This transition challenges a mother’s perspective and many new mothers are left alone at home to deal with baby, housework, no money and no social life.

It seems easy then for mommy wine culture to provide an escape route, a way to unwind, socialize, and claim some personal time away from the constant demands of children. This culture offers a light-hearted and “normal” perspective on drinking, rather than portraying it as unhealthy or problematic. Instead of viewing their alcohol use as dangerous, mothers may perceive it as an acceptable way to manage the pressures of parenthood. This is indeed ironic! There is nothing normal about it, it is definitely unhealthy and the start of a problem. It is dangerous and it adds to the pressures of being a mom, instead of doing what moms think it’s doing!

Mommy Does Not Need Wine!

Let’s look at the negative effects of the ‘mommy needs wine’ phenomenon.

  1. It can divert attention from underlying issues like depression or anxiety by promoting alcohol as a coping mechanism.
  2. Excessive drinking can dampen a mom’s ability to be fully present for their children’s emotional and physical needs.
  3. Alcohol-induced blackouts can jeopardize children’s safety.
  4. Children of drinking parents may face increased risks of mental and behavioural disorders and may internalize feelings of guilt and shame.
  5. Seeing how their moms change when they drink can demoralise children’s trust in their first caregiver.

In a nutshell, then, the mommy wine culture may be a humorous way to deal with parenting, to take on the stresses of being a mom with a constantly topped-up glass in hand. But, in reality, it can mask genuine problems faced by mothers. The rise in “mommy’s juice” merchandise and the popularity of related memes might contribute to the increase in alcohol consumption among women, especially those who feel overwhelmed by the pressures of modern motherhood. The COVID-19 pandemic did nothing to assist this issue in society, merely adding fuel to the fire as moms were increasingly isolated and therefore more susceptible to wine and depression. This has led to a surge in heavy drinking among women who tend to justify this as being fun and destressing.

It’s sad that the prime message of mommy wine culture is to normalize as a way to cope with the demands of parenting. Moms need to figure out that relying on alcohol to manage stress can have significant downsides, making their present problems even worse and weakening their self-esteem and self-belief. The media needs to step up to the challenge of promoting healthier coping mechanisms for moms, instead of wine. Social and support networks can address the challenges of motherhood in innovative, fun and active ways.

Mothers can start hobbies together while the kids play, work out at the park while the kids play, play board games, journal, do some forest bathing, bird watch and much more!

Listen to this inspiring podcast to get you started!

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