Many parents’ go-to relaxation technique is drinking a glass of wine when the kids are finally in bed. For many, parenting culture doesn’t seem to have much room for sober moms and dads. From coffee mugs to T-shirts to viral memes on the internet, everything seems to reinforce the notion that the best cure for reducing child-related stress in parents is a hefty glass of chardonnay or a cold beer. Unfortunately, the seemingly harmless jokes and online memes have now resulted in cultural shifts, one of the most popular being “wine mom culture.” Although the thousands of wine mom memes portray this new wave of child-related stress management tools, we’re sharing the ugly truth about wine mom alcoholism.
What Is Wine Mom Culture?
Also known as mommy wine culture and mommy drinking culture, wine mom culture makes drinking alcohol to cope with your day or stress as a parent an accepted and even positive and normal part of life. A wine mom is someone who likes a drink to “take the edge off parenting.” These women usually poke fun at the fact that they’re drinking to destress from parenting, a pattern that’s now become a public and socially acceptable joke.
However, wine mom culture represents a troubling relationship between drinking and stress. But is every mom who drinks a wine mom? It depends on who you ask.
The phrase “wine mom culture” was popularized in the mid-2010s as it became a commonplace joke online about drinking to cope with the stress of parenting. There are plenty of memes and videos on the internet of wine moms poking fun at themselves. Common wine mom memes include jokes like “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink,” and “Wine is to moms what duct tape is to dads. It fixes everything”.
Some women even find this term empowering. Wine mom culture is believed to resonate with many women because it allows them to embrace their identities as mothers without being defined solely by that role. With this in mind, most self-identifying wine moms would simply say they’re exhausted parents who just need a break and something to “take the edge off” their parenting duties. But what happens when alcohol becomes your go-to de-stressor?
The Negatives of Wine Mom Culture
Wine mom culture is a light-hearted symptom of a more serious underlying problem. The truth about wine mom culture is that it glorifies excessive drinking or promotes drinking as a coping mechanism for stress among parents. While it’s not fair to say that moms who drink are “worse” than dads who drink, the fact of the matter is that being a mom is a full-time, round-the-clock job, so when does the drinking stop?
A possible catalyst of wine mom alcoholism is the “supermom can do it all” notion. While there’s no question that moms are superheroes in their own right, the idea of supermoms who can cram everything into one day every day can lead to a lot of rushed and stressed parenting. Child-care costs have also skyrocketed, meaning many parents, including mothers, are either sacrificing their careers to stay home with their kids or working long hours to keep their kids in child care.
According to Pew Research Center, grandparents in the US are less likely to help with parenting and child care than grandparents in countries like Italy and Germany.1 The pandemic has also impacted women in general. One study, in particular, found that heavy drinking days increased among women by 41%.2
Many have put their careers on hold to handle the bulk of remote-school duties and chores in areas without in-person learning. This all goes to say that the odds are stacked up against many parents, especially moms, which makes relying on a substance like alcohol to dull stress even more problematic.
Associating drinking alcohol with stress relief can lead to a form of emotional and psychological dependence, which can eventually become a more physical addiction. While the jokes of moms who drink too much wine seem to lighten the mood and give many mothers something to relate to, the underlying problem should be better understood.
Stressed-out parents cannot find the solutions to their problems in a bottle of wine or beer. The answers are more complicated yet more effective. Instead, these hard-working women should receive more positive and effective forms of support that aren’t alcohol.
Tips for Being a Sober Parent In a Wine Mom Culture
The fact that many parents feel they have to drink to cope with the stress of being parents, among other roles, says a lot about the lack of support and the level of stress parents in today’s society are struggling with. Considering how popular this movement has become, how do you navigate mom wine culture as a sober parent? Below are some tips that can help.
- If you’re in early alcoholism recovery, avoid places where alcohol is easily accessible
- Always have a non-alcoholic beverage in hand whenever you’re meeting with others
- Host your own sober events or get-togethers
- Take at least an hour every day for yourself (take a bath, meditate, exercise, listen to music, nap, etc.)
- Ask loved ones for help if you’re able to
- Reach out for professional help
If you find yourself unable to manage your drinking alone, there’s no shame in seeking alcoholism treatment. On the contrary, asking for help shows your inner strength and determination to change for the better for yourself and your family. No matter how severe your addiction has become, our Northeast recovery center is here for you.
Clearbrook offers inpatient drug treatment in Pennsylvania for alcoholism and other substance use disorders that incorporate therapy and medication-assisted services to increase the chances of recovery and decrease the risk of relapse. With the help of our highly-skilled and experienced addiction specialists, our Pennsylvania drug rehab offers everything you or a loved one needs to get sober.
- Pew Research Center – Helping Adult Children
- NCBI – Changes in Adult Alcohol Use and Consequences During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US