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The Mommy Wine Culture Needs to Go

When does a joke about moms drinking to get through motherhood – and the current coronavirus pandemic – cross the line? Is it when her friends are on the verge of alcoholism? Or maybe when the tumblers engraved with the words “mommy juice” just aren’t that entertaining any longer when it takes more than a few of those to get through the day? 

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. 

I’m not against the occasional glass of wine, which is different from downing a bottle a night just to relax. High-risk drinking, defined as drinking four or more drinks a day for women and exceeding that amount weekly for a year, is up by 58% among women according to a 2017 study by JAMA Psychiatry that compared drinking habits between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. A study released this year from the same organization is alarming, showing the “the steepest increases in the rates of alcohol-induced deaths among white individuals in our study population occurred among younger adults [ages 25-34], particularly women.”

There are other ways to cope with this insane pandemic and the inevitable challenges of motherhood that don’t involve alcohol. When the culture tells mothers that imbibing daily is an acceptable way to handle the difficulties that children present, it enables them to miss out on the lives of their kids because they are too buzzed or drunk.

Children are noticing

Children don’t miss much when it comes to watching and listening to their parents. They notice when mom has a glass, or several, of wine every night. They notice when she wears a t-shirt that says “mama needs some wine”. And they notice when her attention is focused on just getting through the day, or through all of motherhood, instead of finding more constructive ways to handle her vocation. What message are children getting from mothers who proudly proclaim their love of drinking to get through a tough day with their kids – and encourage other moms to do the same?

It tells kids they are burdensome, that they are just too hard, just too challenging, too difficult. Motherhood is a blessing. Our children are blessings. Yes, they can be difficult. Yes, they can absolutely push us to our limits. Yet parenthood is the most self-sacrificial way of life we can choose. And receiving the gift of a child is a beautiful, unrepeatable blessing. 

It’s okay to have bad days as a mother, to be frustrated, to not have it all together. Dealing with whiny, ungrateful children is a part of the self-sacrificial journey of parenthood. It’s the choice to turn to alcohol on a daily basis to take the edge off and numb those feelings of anger and frustration where motherhood takes a wrong turn. 

Frustration over judgement for staying sober

I have friends who are more frustrated by the fact that they have to defend their choice not to drink during playdates than they are with the constant demands of their little ones. One mom wrote not long ago in the Washington Post how isolating it is to be sober, wondering if her kid would get any playdates, if other moms would think she was boring. Why should a mom feel any shame whatsoever for turning down a mimosa at a 10 am playdate with friends? Turning to friends who share the same challenges of raising children should be self-care. Drinking daily as a mother is not self-care; it’s functional alcoholism. 

Again, motherhood is hard but it’s also a blessing. I don’t like the idea that we have to be drunk to get through it, that we need some kind of relaxant or sedative to get through parenthood. Tumblers filled with alcohol that bear the words “mommy’s sippy cup” aren’t funny. Neither are ridiculous t-shirts that try to joke about moms needing wine just to get through the day. Children see this kind of behavior whether we realize it or not.

Society needs to stop encouraging alcoholism

When society encourages functional alcoholism among mothers because it’s the cool thing to do, it’s not only mothers who will suffer the physical, mental, and spiritual consequences – it’s our children who will feel devalued and feel like they are a burden to their parents. 

We aren’t seeing our children as our heritage, as the gift they are to us when we encourage the Mommy Wine Culture. It needs to stop before mothers risk missing out on the lives of their children because they are too drunk to notice them.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Cathie Mazeika

    I agree 100%. What we need are other forms of support for these women who feel that need. I know I did when my children were young. My husband pointed out my nightly glass of wine and I needed to hear it; I knew he was right. Our children are precious and deserve healthy modeling from unbuzzed mothers (and fathers). Alcoholism is a real thing and yes our children are watching. Th so you for writing!

  2. Cory

    Our children are totally watching. My 8 year old son drew a picture the other day for another mom and wrote something like coffee is great but wine is better. They notice. our ways of coping whether healthy or unhealthy.

  3. Jennifer

    You make a really good point. But at the same time, what suggestions do you have to combat the crazy stress of parenting during this pandemic? The stress and pressure is unreal!

    I think we need to also focus on mom’s mental health and give her grace, because she can’t give from a cup that’s empty! I think a good dose of Jesus and love is more what they need.

    1. Susan

      God is always present. Spiritual communions throughout the day can transform the “hectic” into a craving for more of I it so as to have something to offer up to the Father through Christ.! Get up early and pray. Have a daily early morning commitment to prayer before you begging your day. This is the only life we have to offer to God, don’t let the Devil ensnare the moments of truth (hectic times) away from you (by giving in to alcohol or any other worthless entertainment), be a WOMAN!

    2. Baba

      How about getting some exercise or fresh air. Take the kids to the park and let them go crazy there! I am not negating Jesus…I prayed a Rosary daily when my kids were growing up (and still do), but just letting kids go crazy…outside…is the best medicine.

    3. Patricia Hefferan

      My children are more than grown. When they were young parenting was not the stressful event it is today. I breastfed my babies, sent them to kindergarten where I did not have to worry about them being taught Critical Race Theory and largely enjoyed their childhood. Now I am a senior and I am struggling with the burdensome legislation enacted by the Radical Left and that mad man Fauci. All my activities have been taken from me. I am largely isolated at home. I have gotten to the point where I loathe leaving home. I hate the masks and become enraged whenever I am out and am forced to wear one. Thus my home becomes my solace and the outside world angers me beyond imagination. Do I drink? Is it a problem? Yes. I have turned to vodka and cranberry juice. My stomach is upset and so are my bowels. I have heartburn. I am aware of the problem and I am slowly leaving alcohol alone. I am not an alcoholic in the classic sense but where is the difference? Depending on alcohol is alcohol dependence. It is a huge, huge problem. My heart goes to my children whose children have been out of school for almost 2 years. Do they drink? Indeed they do. Our government is crushing us with unwanted laws and legislation and ruling our lives like Czars. Our worship practices have been curtailed. It must stop. The candy ass coping mechanisms offered by social workers and others in the field is of no help. It is feel-good band aid.

    4. Courtney Cable

      Totally agree we need to give grace but overindulgence in alcohol is not self care. Coming from a recovered addict. You don’t realize where the line between casual and addicted is until you are on the far side of it

    5. Jennifer S

      Not to sound trite, but ANYTHING you can find would be a better alternative. Reading, writing, painting, knitting, exercise, cooking, coding, woodworking, embroidery, PX90, horseback riding, learning a musical instrument, learning Gregorian chant, candlemaking, making love with your husband, gardening, raising chickens, star gazing, botany, bird watching… you get the picture. 🙂 Whatever it is that makes you less stressed. We’ll all have different things.

      But definitely, best to do sober. 🙂

  4. Katelyn

    As a girl back in highschool, I missed out on a relationship with my mom when I needed her the most because she was too buzzed to be there. This culture is so toxic and hurting so many moms and their children. I also have no idea how to drink in a healthy way. I’m too scared to have even one glass of anything because I don’t want to turn out like my mom. This article was so helpful. Thankful to know I’m not alone.

    1. Angey

      You are definitely not alone. I had the same experience as a teen and share the same views now as an adult. I have rarely drank alcohol for fear it would consume me…

  5. Teresa

    I have never read or seen anything that defended my choice to not drink when my children were little. I know all too well not only peers but family members who looked down on me for not “day drinking” with them and at family gatherings. I now see my son and wife with glasses in had before dinner because “ it’s five o’clock somewhere”. Breaks my heart!

  6. Melissa

    Thank you for this article! As a wife of a recovering alcoholic, I have seen how damaging an addiction can be to family life and how easily it can be hidden from people who are concerned and celebrated by others with similar issues. I agree with another reader that in times of stress, faith needs to be our anchor. Our female ancestors went through times of war, an economic depression and a period of prohibition. How did they deal with the daily mom challenges while worrying if their husbands or sons were still alive? We are stronger than we think when that strength comes from God. I hope more Moms will come together to offer support for each other through service and prayer.

  7. Colleen

    Spot on! Great article! So glad to know I’m not alone. Moms supporting moms in healthy ways is vital to help each other through tough spots in parenting. Supporting each other and being there for others is vital. I’m so thankful for my MOMS Club, offering that support and connection with other moms who understand.

  8. Laura

    I am so grateful for you and your stand for truth, dear Abby. Thank you for this article.

    One reason I have never touched alcohol is because I have seen how it becomes easily abused and accepted as an okay social and/or coping mechanism. I have seen many dear ones caught in its trap 😞.

    We are in our 12th year of homeschool. Has it always been easy? No. I had very little support for many years. I have struggled with physical issues during the many years. Do I know God called me to be a mom? Absolutely 🙂. Do I know God called me to homeschool? Absolutely. Therefore, from Him is my strength and help, even on the hardest of days. He is absolutely faithful. My children are such a gift, and I’m so thankful for every day I get to be with them, even on the hardest of days.

    I was on an online store last night and I couldn’t believe how many demeaning graphic “mom” and “homeschool mom” T-shirts there were. It made me sad. Moms get to have one of the most amazingly wonderful, challenging, joyful, heart-rending, difficult, and treasured jobs on the planet. It should be a celebration! That’s my two cents 🙂.

    Again. thank you for all you do. Thank you for your example. Thank you for speaking up and out and encouraging moms to enjoy, cherish, and be blessed by the journey! I admire you. I thank God for the wisdom He’s given to you. I am praying for you ❤️!

  9. Jennifer S

    THANK YOU for writing this.

    I suggest the book “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace.

    Yes, this has absolutely crept into our culture. A few years ago, I was stuck on the couch with a broken ankle and from sheer boredom watched a few episodes of “Real Housewives” (Yes, I was desperate!) It struck me that those women drank constantly, in every situation, at all hours of the day and night. I couldn’t believe it. Then, I started to notice the t-shirts, the memes, etc. You are so right, Abby. This hurts women, of course, but hurts their children and husband much more.

    I pray many women read this and turn away from this horrible crutch. Our children will only be little for a blink of an eye and we shouldn’t miss a second of it.

  10. E

    Great article. Way to speak up. 👍🏻

  11. Denise

    The article is great and the comments are all good. As a grandmother, the other thing I see besides the children feeling like they are such a burden is that they are learning that when Mommy/Daddy get “stressed” and can’t cope without taking a drink or two, that will also become their way of coping. Not healthy at all! The eyes/hearts of our children see so much more than we realize.

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