I’m just going to say it. Motherhood sucks at times. Sometimes I’m on top of the world and deserve a prize. Other times, I’ve earned nothing more than a participation trophy. On my worst days, I quit. I have literally told my children that I am done being their mother. Not one of my most stellar moments, but I was at my wit’s end.
I have two girls. When the premenstrual hurricane blows in every month, the three of us are affected by the barrage of estrogen and hormonal outbursts. Before I was sober, I would grab a “mom drink” such as the now uber trendy wine at the end such a disastrous day.
Seems to me everywhere I look I see that some form of Mom happy hour is happening. Whoever figured out this mainstream wine marketing madness has got to be ungodly rich. My daughter and I were shopping the other day at a popular women’s fashion accessory store. She asked me for a unicorn wine stopper. WTF? She’s 9 years old.
Everywhere I looked was there was wine plastered on something.
There’s wine on shirts. Wine on bags. Wine on mugs. Wine on home decor. Wine on water bottles. Wine toppers everywhere. Wine on social media. Wine in the news. Wine on the magazines. It’s fucking ridiculous. This ain’t Italy, and it ain’t part of our cultural heritage.
Wine is the new most popular drink of choice. Maybe it’s because wine is “classy.” Perhaps it’s because wine is stronger than spirits but not as “bad” as hard liquor.
The internet is filled with all types of sarcastic memes encouraging Moms to drink as the day goes to shit.
The self-indulging of wine at the end of a rough day may be harmless to some. To those of us with alcohol use disorders, it is playing with fire.
Unfortunately, society still sees the alcoholic as the bum on the street and not the mom next door. Most people don’t realize that you can be an “alcoholic” and not be physically dependent on alcohol.
What can I do to cope with the stress of motherhood instead of wine about it? (Bad pun intended).
First off, educate yourself before you participate in the trend. A lot of people fail to realize people that it is medical personnel that diagnose “alcoholism.” The word alcoholic has actually been replaced in the psychiatric world. Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists generally diagnose symptoms of alcoholism as an Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD. The very presence of 2-3 symptoms in a 12 month period can lead to a diagnosis of a mild Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD.
Some of these symptoms are as simple as a craving, and taking alcohol in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended. These are the very things all this media and merchandise is encouraging! Drinking wine to cope with a sucky day of parenting is dangerous for everyone because the behavioral impulse can lead to an AUD, even in mild form.
Drinking wine as a coping skill just doesn’t work.
Second, don’t use wine as a coping skill and don’t encourage others to do so. This isn’t just something I learned from a textbook, (and yes, I am formally educated on Addiction). It’s also something I learned from experience. I tried escaping my failing marriage and kids in a bottle on several occasions. It started with one glass of wine or one beer. It ended with me completely intoxicated each time. The very things I was trying to escape were the trigger for my anger while I was intoxicated. I never really “escaped” life while drunk because it just brought the feelings I never processed back to me, 10 fold. Then I became the angry wife and mom.
There’s nothing glamourous about waking up with regret. There’s nothing glamorous about being told about the awful things you did to your family the night before during a blackout. There were many occasions I could have had my kids taken away from me while I was drinking wine. There were instances in which my husband would be totally justified in leaving me because of my inappropriate behavior while drinking wine.
Fortunately, we found Jesus and I found sobriety in time to save our family. I had struggled with a severe AUD for decades before getting help. I suffered for years in part because I didn’t fit the “alcoholic” definition that society projected. I wish I knew then, what I know now.
I write this with the hopes that some moms who are falling for the wine-ing hype, that they might consider the fire they are playing with. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of responsible adults out there that do not struggle with an AUD or alcoholism, and if you’re one of them, go on and do your thing. If you’re on the fence about whether the behavior is a problem or not, it probably is.
So, I say with complete gratitude that I will not be getting off my wagon to indulge in a glass of wine after a crappy day of parenting. I do love some very basic things such as yoga pants, a messy bun, and some good ole’ Target browsing though.
I made a promise to my kids to never have wine again, and they come before fitting in. I’ve found that the days of mothering that are the suckiest, are the most rewarding if you don’t give into the false lie of escaping into a bottle. Self-care comes in many forms.
Here are some alternatives to wine-ing for self care:
- Confront the problem! Often it’s way easier than you think to find a resolution. Fighting kids? Mother them. Get creative with the punishment and make yourself laugh with it.
- On the sucky days of motherhood, sometimes I lock myself in my room for a mommy time out. Don’t knock it till you try it.
- How about a good long bubble bath with candles.
- Spend an hour in fantasy land…watch TV. Usually, it’s a grown up show such as This Is Us, that leaves me with the realization that my life really isn’t that bad and my problems are certainly first world ones.
Finally, rebel against the basic crowd. Choose instead that not fitting in is more important than compromising your values. This is what we want our daughters to do, right? Ouch. Yeah that might hurt, but it’s true. The right choices aren’t easy, they’re often the last thing we want, but the rewards are worth it. I’ve never gave a damn about fitting in before, why would I now? You shouldn’t either.
Ladies. We are the most powerful creatures on the planet from the most powerful nation in the world. Do we really want the next generation of women believing they need wine to cope with motherhood? For the love, can we stop the wine-ing?
Stay sober my friends.