If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a mom who has clinked her glass at one of the millions of boozy-mom memes that permeate every corner of the Internet. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re a person who is angered by the affinity for alcohol as it relates to mom culture.
Great news! This article is for both of you.
When I started researching this topic, a quick Google search gave me not one, but three pages of articles with titles like this: Why mommy drinks: The scary truth about #WineMoms. It’s a lengthy diatribe with catchy clickbait phrases like, “Mat[ernity] leave milestone: daydrinking,” and “Is something a problem if everyone is doing it?”
Each post is formulaic in that it pokes fun at #WineMoms, mentions how they have a great life and have never once put their children in jeopardy and then not-so-smoothly dovetails into an honest share from a mom who really did struggle with alcoholism. But how often does the first mother become the second mother?
Let’s Be Honest About Addiction
First, let’s all agree that addiction is a very real and very dire issue with a difficult and illusive road to recovery. Maybe the author of these posts started by having a glass of wine each evening, but something tells me that’s not the case. By likening an Internet trend to a gateway drug, we’re doing a disservice to all those suffering inwardly and outwardly with alcoholism.
For women who’ve been exposed to addiction, they may make the personal and healthy choice to stop drinking for themselves. For others who grew up witnessing alcoholism destroy their loved ones, they may be triggered by a flippant approach to it. We should be respectful of people in those situations, of course. But there is a distinct difference in celebrating something you enjoy as an adult woman and “normalizing alcoholism in America.”
Alcohol is a grown-up topic and we should be able to trust our peers to discern hyperbole. “Is it too early to pour?” is just another way to say, “Man, it’s been a rough day and I’m looking forward to a moment to myself.”
Why, Mommy? Why?
No, seriously. Why is there suddenly an outcry against women, who are also mothers, for their drinking? Where are the articles about perfectly functioning people without children who drink at a generally more aggressive pace? Or, you know, dads. Imagine how silly you’d think an article titled, “The Scary Truth About #BeerDad.”
One thing on which I think all moms, imbibers or otherwise, can agree is that we live in constant fear of doing something wrong. Driven by Pinterest-perfect bloggers and flawless Instagram feeds, we worry that we’re not doing enough for our children. It’s a comparison culture unlike any other and, sadly, most of the writing about mothers drinking comes from within our own ranks. That’s really what this post is about.
I don’t blame these writers at all. I blame systemic mom-shaming that we all encounter daily. This is just another way for society to indirectly comment on your ability as a mother without caring about you as a human. And, frankly, I won’t stand for it.
One of my favorite drinking salutations, it means, literally, “to your health.” In the great debate over moms drinking, that’s what ultimately matters. Maybe you need to ask yourself why you’re drinking? Maybe you need to see a doctor, to ensure that your body is operating optimally? Maybe you need another yoga class? Okay, you definitely need another yoga class.
When it comes down to it, for me, wine is a form of self-care. It’s something that’s mine when, some days, nothing else is. When I run from work to school to home to dinner to bath to a bedtime that may never come. Don’t get me wrong, I have other things that are only mine, but this is the most delicious one.
Related to health, it’s worth mentioning that demonstrating the ability to have only one drink in a given setting is a good and important idea. A close friend mentioned that this would have been more helpful to her than her own mother’s preoccupation with fad diets and disordered eating. What sort of example does an obsession with calorie counting set? Family meals are an important ritual in my home for both mental and physical health. Sharing a toast at each one is something I hope my kids always remember fondly.
I ran across another article just oozing with guilt. It was different, though, in that it was written by a healthcare professional and addiction expert. This smart, capable, healthy, loving mother was considering whether she might have a problem — even though she’s a nurse who admits she knows how different actual alcoholism is! Even though she knows she makes good decisions. And even though she doesn’t claim that she’ll stop drinking. I wanted to hug her and remind her, “You’re doing a great job.”
If you’re looking for a mom to whom you can raise a glass without fear of judgment, look no further. And also, pour one for me, please.