What is Mommy Wine Culture?
You probably see Mommy Wine Culture (let’s call it MWC) everywhere. It’s the wine that’s served at playdates and birthday parties. It’s the wink-wink about wine in their water bottle at the playground. It’s the knowing chuckles when a parent mentions the “mommy juice” they MUST HAVE at exactly 5 PM everyday. It’s the two or three additional drinks you and your partner enjoy after the kids are in bed. And of course, it’s the tote bag making light of it all. You know the one.
I feel attacked all over again, honestly. But if you recognize these elements of MWC in your own life, you’re not alone.
How’d we get here?
- The pandemic pushed us to the edge. The pandemic pushed parents into untenable positions, with little relief. In response, we began drinking more, as an alternative to self-care, and as a way to “treat” ourselves for doing so so much. Studies show women increased heavy drinking days by as much as 41% during the pandemic as a direct result of added psychological stress.
- Backlash against unrealistic expectations. But MWC is also a response, a kind of backlash to the unrealistic expectations millennial moms see every day on social media and in society at large. MWC is a fun and irreverent way to admit you’re not perfect. To admit that modern parenthood is hard, and to give others permission to admit the same. It may be unhealthy, but there’s an element of healthy solidarity and light-hearted humility that should be acknowledged.
- Millennial bar culture. Another aspect of MWC is millennial parenting culture. Millennials waited longer than previous generation to have kids. That means we had a long time to develop rich social lives as singles or child-less couples. That time in our 20s and early 30s involved a lot of drinking. We made brunching and day-drinking a competitive sport. Once the kids arrived, we were determined to preserve some aspects of our previous lives. The easiest thing to integrate into our new lives at home were the drinks!
Well, what should we do about it?
If you think you might be in-too-deep on MWC and you’re sober curious or suspect you might be hitting that mommy juice too hard, try the following:
- Go dry for 15, 30, or 60 days - If you didn’t do Dry January, try to take another month off. That’ll help you take a look at your habits and cravings.
- Try non-alcoholic alternatives - There are more non-alcoholic options than ever, so you’ve got options. We’ll be honest, many aren’t good. But try a few, and maybe swap in some fancy teas or coffees here and there.
- Recommit to self-care - We often reach for the bottle when we feel depleted, stressed, or anxious. Try recommitting to self-care habits that address those feelings. You probably fell off your routine during the last couple years, so take it slow but celebrate progress.
- Find a community - Check out communities like Sober Mom Squad to find likeminded parents who can support you on your journey.
If you’ve tried everything and are still struggling to control your intake, don’t hesitate to call this national helpline to find referrals for treatment or information.
If you or someone close to you needs help for a substance use disorder, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit FindTreatment.gov, SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.