I love my Facebook mom groups. I really do. They have saved me from feeling alone. They have given me advice on things from fashion to budgeting to poop. But one thing that really really irks me is the frequency with which my mom groups perpetuate the “mommy wine culture”.
What do I mean by this- well, there is this idea that when normal albeit frustrating days of parenting are done or nearly done, that the only way to “cope” is to drink. There are countless internet memes that suggest that the reason parents are drinking is their children. Not because they enjoy wine or beer or a fancy cocktail. But because the toddler’s tantrum, the teething baby, the teenager’s boy/girl drama, etc is WHY they need to imbibe.
This is a dangerous thought process.
It is harsh on our children. Who in all of their wildness and misbehaviors are just kids. Most of what we complain about as parents is normal. We shouldn’t stop commiserating with each other after a hard day, because some days are harder than others. We share the tough stuff to see that we are normal, to vent, to receive advice, to seek help when a problem may not be so typical.
It’s a rabbit hole.
If we drink to drown out the bad day, and justify it by saying we are moms- then what. Our jobs are hard. We need relief. We need it. Then what are we saying about that job? What are we saying about motherhood? But it’s not just the hard parts. The mommy wine culture also tells us to celebrate the milestones with alcohol. First day of school. Potty training. First overnight camp. First… You get the point.
This rabbit hole may be a phase for some mothers. But for others it’s the dangerous window of opportunity for the disease of alcoholism to take root and then insidiously disguise itself as normal. Because t-shirts are made about it. Because the memes and 400 women agreed on that post last night. Because it’s normal to drink over our problems and our joys. STOP! Think that through.
I’m not talking to the moms who can have or not have that glass of wine, that margarita, that craft beer. I’m talking to the ones who can’t not have it. Or who can’t have just one. I’ve been there. In full disclosure- I’m a recovering alcoholic with several years of sobriety. It rarely bothers me to be around drinking. I have lots of friends who partake in alcohol on occasion and even get drunk once in a while. Some of them are moms and some are dads. I do not judge them for enjoying alcohol. I am not jealous of them for their ability to do so.
For me alcohol is not fun for long. It will ruin my life if I were to slip into its grip again. I don’t want to be in that perilous grip while I’m trying to do the hardest job I’ve ever done. That job is parenting. And it is the hardest, hands down. But it’s also the best.
I do still commiserate with other moms about the hard days. I do celebrate the joys. I do it without alcohol and hand in hand with my path of recovery and self-care. Some days, part of that self-care is shutting out the mom groups for a few hours.
That said: I hate the mommy wine culture. Call me short-sighted, sensitive, thin-skinned, whatever. I think it’s dangerous to normalize the rationalization of alcohol with memes and t-shirts and coffee mugs.
I think what most of us are are trying to say is:
I’m not sure I’m doing this right.
I can’t believe how grown up they’ve gotten.
Will they be okay away from me?
Can you believe they are happy away from me?
And all of that is okay to just SAY!
If you are reading this with a glass of wine in your hand. Think about why you picked it up. Or why you said you picked it up. Think about what you really wanted to say. Be mindful. Say it. Don’t just meme it off onto your children.
I’m not here to judge. Or say my path is your path in any way.Only you can decide if you have a problem with alcohol. But this isn’t just about that. This is about the culture that surrounds the drink.
I’m merely suggesting that we, as a community of moms, friends, women, adjust how we talk about alcohol and how we think about it as it relates to parenthood. We can change the culture. Starting with ourselves.