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Challenging the “Wine Mom” Culture This Mother’s Day

By: Carol Morriscey

Stressed-out mom having a glass of wine while she does the laundry. The Pervasive “Wine Mom” Culture

“Mommy’s Juice” scrolled over discrete wine glasses and relatable memes proclaiming that the most expensive part of parenthood is the amount of wine required, gently urge us to normalize the “Wine Mom” culture. After a day of diapers, dance class, dirty dishes, and discipline, a glass of wine is well-deserved. The stress of parenthood adds up, and an escape at the end of the day, an accessible coping-mechanism, is coveted. As the rhetoric of “Wine Moms”, women who have busy lives and turn to a glass (or bottle) at the end of the day, permeates our lives, wine seems the best option for coping with the demands of parenthood.

The Normalization of Dependence and Alcohol Addiction?

Where do we draw the line between a harmless glass of wine to melt away the stress of the day, and a worrisome trend of alcohol consumption. Excessive consumption, or reliance on a substance either psychologically or physically, can have detrimental effects on one’s life. The memes and blog posts glorifying “Wine Moms” and normalizing daily consumption of wine distracts us from the underlying issues. Indeed, upon further inspection “Wine Mom” culture has escalated to using wine to self-medicate the stress, anxiety or depression which accompanies mom’s busy lives. It allows for the normalization of alcohol abuse and addiction, without even questioning the possible concerns associated with the use of wine. We have allowed the rebranding of mom’s drinking. It has become the classy, “go-to accessory for every modern mom”. Further, if you choose to abstain, society has decided the problem is probably with you.

Unfortunately, although alcohol consumption may seem like a quick fix, it may actually worsen stress and amplify other psychological issues. As a result, the insidious effects of alcohol use have crept into our culture, and when they begin to manifest in even greater psychological stress, health problems and difficulty parenting, the only solution is to up the ante and add another glass of wine to the nightly routine. It’s not hard to see how the “Wine Mom” culture can get out of hand quickly, putting stressed-out moms at risk of experiencing the detrimental effects of alcohol use. Ironically, the culture both perpetuates the negative consequences, will simultaneously minimizing the risks.

Are There Alternatives to the “Wine Mom” Culture?

The first step to addressing the negative consequences of a “Wine Mom” culture is to recognize the patterns and risks. Taking a step back from the “Wine Mom” rhetoric and considering other perspectives is crucial for identifying risky patterns.

Of course, every mom needs a break at the end of the day. The trouble is, when the break at the end of the day has both detrimental health and social consequences, it may do more damage than good. Creating a healthier culture, one which promotes the treatment of the underlying causes of a “Wine Mom” culture, and offers accessible, effective alternatives to imbibing is crucial. These alternatives may include a yoga class, a therapeutic phone call with a best friend, or a hobby which relieves your stress.

This Mother’s Day, treat yourself—but instead of asking for another glass of wine, ask if the normalization of “Wine Mom” culture has changed your attitudes toward drinking, and whether that has had any negative impacts on your life. If that is the case, seek alternatives. If you’re having trouble with cutting back or have concerns about your alcohol use, Searidge Foundation is here to help you!

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