Next time you pull up your Facebook feed, take note. You’ll probably see a mom posting about her need for a glass of wine (If we’re friends, it may have been me!). A Google search for “mom wine memes” yields over 21 million results such as, “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink.” And when you’re at the next school assembly, you won’t have to look far to spot a mom wearing a cute bedazzled t-shirt with a quippy quote on it like, “They whine. I wine!” Don’t get me wrong. Even though I’m not wearing the bedazzled shirt, I’m surely not throwing stones. I have a glass of wine each night and I love it. But I’m wondering: Is the wine mom culture getting out of control?
Confession: I posed a question I knew the answer to. Yes. The wine mom culture has most definitely gotten out of control. I went to Facebook with questions about it and women told me they feel like they should open a bottle at 4 o’clock or they aren’t in the cool-mom club. Others said they feel like moms are being told the only way to make it through parenting is to drink. I have to agree. So ladies, here are 4 reasons we need to band together, push back, and put a cork in this craze.
Women’s bodies contain less water, which dissolves alcohol, so we tend to achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood than men. Women also have more body fat, which retains alcohol. And we produce less of the enzyme that helps break down alcohol in the body. Simply put, it does more damage to our bodies than men’s. Women tend to develop alcohol-induced liver disease over a shorter period of time than men and we may be more susceptible to brain damage from alcohol abuse.
The wine mom culture takes alcoholism lightly. I still remember the shock I felt one day when talking with another mom who told me she was a recovering alcoholic. It just seemed so foreign, as if being an alcoholic is reserved for surly men over the age of 50. A 2017 study put high-risk drinking among women at a 58 percent increase in the last decade alone, creating what some suggest could point to a public health crisis. If you’re wondering if you’re over-consuming, low-risk consumption (not necessarily alcoholism) equals no more than three drinks on a given day AND seven in a week. So that glass of wine I have each night, plus another on the weekend? Yep. That puts me above low-risk consumption. But how can this be? I’m just a suburban mom!
There is anecdotal evidence in a comment from a friend on Facebook: “One of my friends who is a clerk at a liquor store says that moms bought cases of wine weekly—more than anyone else in the customer base.”
3. Our Children
We think we are being edgy and fun with the occasional comment about the need for “mommy juice,” but when our kids overhear us or read the memes and wall art, what are we suggesting to them? That parenting is a burden that can only be carried with a glass in one hand? Parenting is a joy, a very difficult joy, and I would never want my kids to think I have to use alcohol to cope with my role as their mom.
4. The Underlying Issue
As one friend put it, “Maybe we make shirts and memes and jokes promoting the wine mom culture because it seems less vulnerable and more funny than saying ‘I need more help’ or ‘I need more support.’ Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It IS hard work. I have never felt so broken and so whole at the same time.”
If you’re feeling uncomfortable, concerned, or convicted, I want you to know I feel the same way. Some nights, I need that glass of wine. Some nights, I just want to enjoy it for its taste. Could I go a whole month and not have a glass? I don’t know. But what I do know is this: Drinking too much is not what I want this generation of mothers to be remembered for. So I’m going to start making changes. Will you join me?
Drinking too much is not what I want this generation of mothers to be remembered for.
How has the normalization of the wine mom culture affected your consumption and acceptance of alcohol?