It’s all in good fun…until it’s not funny anymore. Have mommy wine jokes crossed the line? The stats about women and alcohol might surprise you! Thank you to Dr. Nancy Irwin for writing this post and to Seasons in Malibu for sponsoring it.
Have Mom Wine Jokes Gone Too Far?
“It’s Mommy’s time to wine!”
If you’re like me, then you’ve probably seen plenty of mom wine jokes and memes passed around on social media. Maybe you’ve shared them (no judgement…I’ve laughed at them too!).
But there are Just. So. Many.
A web search for “mom wine jokes” turns up over 10 MILLION results. There’s also a booming business in all-things-mom-and-wine — and not just the obvious things like wine glasses. There are even baby onesies emblazoned with sayings like, “Someone get my mom a glass of wine.”
Little known fact about me: I worked as a sommelier and wine steward for a few years after college. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine, so I’m not here to judge.
The problem I have with all the mommy wine memes and gear is that they make it seem like you NEED wine to be a mom. Like you can’t get through a day of parenting or “deal with the kids” without the help of alcohol.
And mamas, that is just not true!
Trust me, there are days when I feel completely overwhelmed! With three kids and a full-time business, it’s a LOT to handle sometimes.
When Seasons in Malibu invited me to help encourage and educate my fellow moms about healthy ways to deal with stress and burnout, I didn’t think twice!
The statistics I learned about women and alcohol use surprised me (Dr. Irwin will share them later in the post). Behind all the wine jokes, there’s a bigger issue of the intense pressure on moms to “do it all” and it shines a spotlight on the need for a better support system for our moms.
When Burnout Leads to Mommy Depression
The idea that moms need help to cope with domestic life isn’t a new phenomenon. Valium earned the notorious nickname “Mother’s Little Helper” due to its widespread use in the 1960s and 1970s.
We expect a lot from moms, and—let’s be honest—society doesn’t do a great job of supporting them. A full 85% of moms surveyed by Motherly said society doesn’t understand or support moms, and this view was consistent across groups, regardless of race, ethnicity, or number of children.
Overwhelmed and overworked (in any and all capacity), so many moms are struggling with feelings of guilt, worry, and stress that can lead to a kind of high-functioning depression.
Why? Because chronic stress and sleep deprivation can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to mood changes. Somehow, someway, you still get out of bed each morning and do what needs to be done, but something doesn’t feel right.
Know this: Struggling with depression, anxiety, or panic is not a moral failing. You have not failed as a mom.
I repeat, you have NOT failed as a mom.
Dear moms, you’re incredible. But you’re not invincible. And you shouldn’t feel like you’re supposed to be, have to be, or need to be.
You’re only human. (Contrary to popular belief.)
You take care of everyone and everything, but who takes care of you?
The Problem With Using Substances to Cope
It might seem harmless to unwind with a glass or two of wine after a long day. But the line between moderate and problem drinking can be easily blurred—especially today—when it’s mainstream to see women drinking to excess in movies and TV.
It’s usually portrayed as “all in good fun,” especially with the rise of “mommy wine culture. However, while men as a group tend to drink for pleasure and positive reinforcement, women can be more likely to drink in response to negative emotions.
Given the cultural shift in attitudes about women drinking, it’s not surprising that the gap between men and women with drinking problems is shrinking. Alcohol use disorders in women increased by more than 83% from 2002 to 2013, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Nowadays alcohol is showing up at kids’ birthday parties, play dates, and mommy book clubs. It’s everywhere—just like the stress and feeling overwhelmed.
But there are a few concerns with “a glass or two” as the response to a stressful day.
- Drinking in the first year after birth is risky, because alcohol use increases your risk of postpartum depression.
- Conversely, if you suffer with postpartum depression, you’re at increased risk of developing a substance use disorder.
And it’s well established that alcohol and other substances can reduce your ability to stay emotionally connected to your baby and respond to his/her needs. If you’re breastfeeding, there’s also the risk of passing alcohol to your baby through your breastmilk.
We all need ways to relieve stress and unwind, but it’s crucial to find positive, healthy habits that are good for you, your body, your baby, and your family.
If drinking or other substances are starting to impact your health or your family, don’t wait. Talk to your doctor, or explore the possibility of getting help at an alcohol and drug treatment center.
Take Time for Self-Care
Whether you’re struggling with depression, substance use, or you’re just plain tired—you need some “you” time. It’s not a treat—it’s a necessity. And your needs need to be a priority.
Society has a long way to go in supporting moms—paid family leave and better child-care support would be a good start. And you can fight for change—even just by example—as long as you gift yourself the time and space.
Make time for self-care. Schedule alone time. Prioritize activities that bring you joy. Reach out for help from friends and family. Use all the resources at your disposal, including self-care apps.
The dishes might not always get done…and that’s ok! Taking a little time for yourself will help you refill your cup so that it’s always (at least) half full — of coffee, that is!
About the Author
Dr. Nancy Irwin is a licensed clinical psychologist on staff with Seasons in Malibu, a rehab center providing world-class addiction treatment and dual diagnosis care. Dr. Irwin is a trauma expert and treats the underlying cause of addictions. She works with a team of psychiatrists, addiction specialists and therapists at Seasons in Malibu, creating unique, personalized treatment programs for every client.