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Drinking amongst mothers has exploded 325% since COVID

Moms, what is going on? The RTI International for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism released a study last week that showed mothers of young kids have increased drinking by an astounding 325% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

That’s a lot, to put it mildly. The stress many families feel, and have felt over the past 18 months certainly gives way to finding ways to alleviate tension but that’s a significant increase in alcohol consumption. There are other ways to ease stress.

The “mommy wine culture”

Abby Johnson wrote about the recent uptick in mothers who have embraced the “mommy wine culture” where the answer to every difficult moment involves alcohol. You’ve seen “mommy juice” written on wine glasses and tumblers or have likely heard about 10 am playdates involving frose. This is the normal for thousand of mothers and the way Abby sees it, our kids are noticing:

Just in the last couple years, the infiltration of the Mommy Wine Culture into our society has caught the attention of most media outlets and Facebook memes of teaching kids fractions while homeschooling using wine glasses half full, a quarter full, etc. are going viral on social media. This culture needs to go. It demeans mothers, encouraging them to hit the bottle when they can’t handle their kids, yet it devalues children as well, telling them they are just so burdensome that mom needs to drink to get through motherhood. 

The pandemic and drinking

It’s not just mothers turning to the bottle during the pandemic. That same study showed alcohol consumption was up 39% overall in November 2020 since the pandemic began. writes that “the general recommended drinking guidelines for men allow up to four drinks per day but no more than 14 drinks per week, while for women, it’s no more than three drinks a day or seven drinks per week, according to the study. Americans exceeding those guidelines increased by 27% from February and April of 2020 – and jumped to 39% between February and November, the new study found.”

Carolina Barbosa, a health economist at RTI, the organization who conducted the study, said, “Increases in alcohol consumption have been associated with natural disasters and other large-scale events that induce stress and anxiety, and a pandemic certainly fits that description.” 

It has been an unbelievably stressful time these last eighteen months as anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows. Studies show that mothers have born the brunt of job losses, dealing with school decisions, and arranging healthcare. But moms, we need to find better ways of handling stress than turning to the bottle. We are going to miss out on so much with our kids, our relationships, and even our jobs and marriages.

Ways to help

If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, please get help. One place to do so is through: SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

Talk to a friend. Talk to someone who may be a recovering alcoholic. Don’t let your life slip away through alcoholism. More resources are available through our blog posts on sobriety as well.

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