I admit, I used to get a kick out of Mommy Wine Culture and even felt like it was something I wanted to be a part of. I could drink the wines with the funny names from glasses with clever mom-related sayings. I could be that cool, hip mom that knew how to kick back and throw her cares away.
When I was thinking about articles to write in November, I thought of an alcohol-related piece with the holidays just around the corner. I stumbled upon the idea that Mommy Wine Culture is not the cutesy, funny phenomenon it seemed to be – it is actually dangerous and detrimental.
Taken aback, I read on – and what I learned opened my eyes. And, now, I share it with you:
What is Mommy Wine Culture?
Mommy Wine Culture is the idea that moms need to drink in order to cope as a parent. This culture is perpetuated through humour and memes.
Wine companies are jumping on the Mommy Wine Culture train by releasing wines with names such as “Mommy’s Time Out” and “Mother’s Little Helper”. Wine glasses are available decorated with phrases such as “Mommy’s Sippy Cup”.
Even the internet likes to poke fun at Mommy Wine Culture through memes, jokes and funny Tweets.
Seems innocent, right? So what’s the problem?
The Problem with Mommy Wine Culture
The existence of Mommy Wine Culture is both harmful to mothers and children.
Harm to Mothers
A lot of women struggle with alcohol problems and many of them as a result of parenting stress. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 2.5% of women meet the criteria for alcohol dependence and 10% of pregnant women drink.
When we joke about mothers and wine-drinking, we may be masking a problem either with ourselves or with other moms. A mother with a serious alcohol problem may just laugh it off as a result of parenting stress. The whole idea of Mommy Wine Culture normalizes the use of alcohol to cope with parenting.
Often, it is marketed as “self-care” but, really, it’s only contributing to a larger issue. Think of the ramifications of making it okay for mothers to drink their problems away: alcoholism, serious health risks and even impaired driving.
Harm to Children
It may seem harmless to laugh off the stresses of parenting with a glass of wine (or two) but, to children, it teaches them that parenting is so terrible and children are so insufferable that alcohol is necessary to make them tolerable.
Grabbing a bottle of vino whenever things get a little rough also demonstrates poor coping skills to children. We are basically saying, “This sucks and instead of solving the problem or calming my mind in a healthy way, I’m going to suck back this red and call it a night.”
And it’s no secret that children learn through imitation.
So What? I Can’t Drink At All?
No, no, no. It’s not about the act of drinking, it’s about the reason to drink. A glass of wine after a particularly hard day is fine. A glass of wine after every poopy diaper change because parenting is so hard is not. The issue is that society is portraying wine-drinking as a necessity in order to survive motherhood.
Remember the wine companies I mentioned above? They’re specifically targeting their product to stressed moms under the guise that drinking wine will make your problems more manageable (or even disappear).
The message isn’t to encourage mothers to relax and take care of themselves. The message is to medicate and seek support in a bottle instead of in others.