One mother’s story of turning down playdate mimosas goes viral as “wine mom” culture becomes more and more common.
Article at a Glance:
- Wine mom culture, which normalizes using alcohol to cope with the stress of parenting, is prevalent on social media, and researchers believe it may be harmful for women’s health.
- Wine mom culture normalizes using alcohol to manage life’s problems, and may lead some women to binge drink, which comes with a risk of alcohol addiction.
- Excessive alcohol use can also cause serious health problems, including liver problems, cancer, and cognitive decline.
What Is the Mommy Wine Culture?
“Wine mom” is increasingly used on social media and other media sources, such as in magazines and on TV. An article in The Atlantic describes the ins and outs of this culture, which makes light of and even supports the act of consuming alcohol to cope with the stress of being a mother.
While we could all use some stress relief from time-to-time, the problem with wine mom culture is that it may normalize potentially problematic alcohol use. Many moms share memes and social media posts about using alcohol as a coping mechanism to get through their days and deal with their children. It’s viewed casually and as something that nearly all moms participate in, which may encourage heavy alcohol use.
Researchers have taken a look at the short and long-term effects of wine mom culture. Everything from op-eds to formalized studies have examined how the pervasive use of alcohol and the normalization of alcohol abuse among mothers could impact families and children now and in the future. One recent study in a leading substance abuse journal analyzed Instagram posts using the tag #winemom, and the study’s authors concluded that wine mom culture is widespread on social media, and it normalizes alcohol consumption to an extent that could be harmful for women’s health.
The idea of the wine mom comes primarily from social media, where the concept was born and where it continues to thrive. There are even massive Facebook groups like “Moms Who Need Wine”. While wine mom culture may be pervasive, it isn’t without consequences, and some women may even be ostracized for choosing not to participate in it.
One Mom’s Viral Journey to Say “No”
Recently, blogger and mother Celeste Yvonne shared her experience of stopping drinking, and it went viral. Celeste wrote a Facebook post about interactions she’s faced since she decided to stop drinking more than a year ago.
Celeste’s viral post details one specific interaction. She went to a playdate at someone else’s house, and she was immediately offered a mimosa by the mother. Celeste said she felt unprepared to deal with the offer, whereas in other situations that she usually expected alcohol to be served, she could be prepared to say “no”.
Celeste said she initially turned the mimosa down, but the mother hosting the playdate continued to insist she have a drink. Celeste talks about her hesitancy to tell the other mother she didn’t drink because she was afraid the mother would see her as boring and wouldn’t want to schedule future playdates.
As a now-sober mom, Celeste said it can feel lonely to be a mom who doesn’t drink, but she wants to change the narrative surrounding an alcohol-free life. Since writing her post and hashtagging it #ChangeTheNarrative, she’s received tens of thousands of shares.
Is the Wine Mommy Culture Harmful?
A study on “wine mom culture” from TODAY.com found that nearly 40% of respondents reported drinking helps them cope with the stress of being a parent. More than one-third said they have other friends who are moms whom they believe have a problem with alcohol abuse. Over half of the survey respondents said wine is their preferred drink.
Many companies are cashing in on the phenomenon and creating wine brands, glasses and other gear targeted specifically toward moms. Meanwhile, pop culture glorifies the wine mommy culture with movies like Bad Moms. Amid this pressure, it’s easy for an overwhelmed mom to see drinking alcohol not only as normal but as the optimal way to deal with the stress of parenthood. It seems that alcohol abuse is reinforced by the concept that it’s something moms deserve as a way to reward themselves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that around 13% of adult women report that they binge drink, with the average binge drinker doing so four times per month. Among women in the child-bearing age range, defined as 18–44 years of age, approximately 18% are binge drinkers. Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks at one time, which indicates that a significant portion of those who participate in wine mom culture may be consuming more than just a glass of wine with dinner.
Women who binge drink face serious health risks, including liver disease, cognitive decline and cancer. Also among the risks of binge drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is the development of an alcohol use disorder, which is the clinical term for alcoholism.
Those who participate in wine mom culture may find themselves falling victim to alcohol addiction and the consequences that come with it. Some moms say they didn’t realize they had a problem with alcohol until they did things like drinking and driving with their children in the car. It wasn’t until their children were in harm’s way that many now-sober moms decided to quit drinking or found they had reasons to quit drinking, according to the article from TODAY.
Alcoholism Treatment for Moms
If you’re struggling with your use of alcohol or any substance, contact The Recovery Village. We have locations across the country, and our compassionate staff can help you find a treatment option that fits your unique needs.
Wilkerson, May. “Mom shares post about the difficulty of telling people you’re sober.” Someecards.com, July 9, 2019. Accessed October 23, 2021.
Pawlowski, A. “Hitting the mommy juice too hard? Experts warn of alcohol abuse by moms.” TODAY, April 2, 2014. Accessed October 23, 2021.
Steussy, Lauren. “Wine-swilling moms reveal dark side of boozy playdates.” New York Post, January 24, 2018. Accessed October 23, 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Excessive Alcohol Use is a Risk to Women’s Health.” October 23, 2020. Accessed October 23, 2021.
Fetters, Ashley. “The Many Faces of the ‘Wine Mom’.” The Atlantic, May 23, 2020. Accessed October 23, 2021.
Harding, Kelly D. “#sendwine: An Analysis of Motherhood, Alcohol Use and #winemom Culture on Instagram.” Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, May 5, 2021. Accessed October 23, 2021.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Drinking Levels Defined.” Accessed October 23, 2021.
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