Over the past couple years, “wine mom culture” has become quite trendy. You may have seen it on display while shopping at major retail stores, plastered across your social media feed or even picking up your kids from school. Graphic t-shirt with witty phrases and internet memes that pair the daily ins and outs of motherhood and alcohol.
Popular phrases you may have come across include “mommy juice” or “mama needs her wine” or even coffee mugs with bold lettering warning “this could be vodka”. Internet memes push the narrative in hopes of being relatable to their followers. Although meant to be cheeky, many are calling “wine mom culture” less cute and more problematic.
Underneath the glitter fonts and Instagram likes is the promotion of alcohol abuse and functional alcoholism. One cannot help but get the overbearing message that parenthood, particularly motherhood, cannot be done without a little help from an alcoholic beverage on the regular. Numbing yourself through the ups and downs of raising a child is encouraged amongst this community. Some mothers push the mantra that every tantrum calls for a well-deserved cocktail. But at the same time “reward” themselves for a smooth day with even more booze.
Being a mom no doubt has its challenges and mothers report having high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. However, self-medicating with alcohol is not a healthy coping mechanism. Or necessarily a practice of self-care as its portrayed. Using alcohol as a crutch every time things get rough is not sustainable nor a good example. Children can grow up believing when they feel overwhelmed. And alcohol is the solution when the house gets crazy. This culture is also quite dangerous for sober moms who do feel overwhelmed and on the verge of potential relapse.
New moms are especially vulnerable to a change in drinking patterns with their increase in responsibility and overall lifestyle change. According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report “from third trimester of pregnancy to the first 3 months postpartum, women with any reported alcohol use in the past month went from 6.2 to 31.9% and by 11 months postpartum 52% were drinking.”
According to NCBI “Heavy drinking among women postpartum is of significant public health concern because maternal alcohol abuse has been linked to poorer family functioning, lower quality of parental intellectual stimulation, increased punitive action toward children, and increased likelihood of being reported for child abuse or neglect”.
These facts are worrying considering the fact that perpetrators of the wine mom culture can believe that wine makes them a “better mom”. Hopefully, more people become educated about the toxicity this culture can bring to society. Relating to each other in more positive and ways is also important. Moms can socialize with each other without it centering around drinks and alcohol. And should unwind from a hectic day with a hot bath, a good book and the fact they are trying their best.