If you’re a mum, you’ve probably heard of mummy wine culture. The popular phrase “wine mom” came into being about 2010, and since then, the market for all items related to it has grown. Head online and you’ll find a variety of products, from novelty wine glasses to baby rompers with “My mommy needs wine” emblazoned all over the front. And as a transformational recovery coach, this promotion of alcohol alarms me.
What seemingly started as a joke, with women balancing the stresses and strains of motherhood in a lighthearted manner, has now come to represent a real problem. With more women now drinking as much alcohol as men (a ratio of 3:1 is now a ratio of 1:1) and young mums wholeheartedly buying into the mummy wine culture, alcohol dependency amongst women is on the rise.
Why It’s Easy To Fall Into The Trap Of The Mummy Wine Culture
There’s no doubt about it. Being a parent is hard work. And it can be a long, lonely day stuck at home on your own with a young family every day.
Before parenthood, mums were out at work holding down successful careers. Suddenly, after the excitement of pregnancy, they find themselves responsible for a mini human—some with very little support around them. Many women discover they are almost housebound, knee-deep in nappies and baby sick. Exhausted from sleepless nights, feeling isolated and frustrated, it’s no wonder mums feel in need of a break.
And it’s this low spot that the wine mummy culture targets. Advertising, social media, and businesses encourage worn-out mums to join the “wine club” where it’s perfectly acceptable to crack open a bottle of wine every day at 5pm. After all, parenting is a stressful full-time job. So busy mums deserve a treat to help them relax.
What’s more, play dates become an excuse to pop open the Prosecco with other mums while the kids play. And on those rare nights off, it’s time for mum to let her hair down and hit the cocktails.
To begin with, it seems like harmless fun – all mums together having a drink to unwind and reward themselves. And all the advertising, TikTok, and social media memes normalise this kind of behaviour. Because if everyone else is doing it, that makes it ok right?
It’s far from ok. By celebrating drinking, it gives a false impression that it’s not harmful. But for many young women, particularly those with addictive personalities or those already struggling with alcohol intake, the mummy wine culture signals the start of something more dangerous. It’s easy to blend in with other mums and laugh about needing “mummy’s magic juice” while sliding unnoticed towards alcohol abuse and dependency.
Promoting Alcohol As A Coping Strategy Is Wrong And Mummy Wine Culture Has To Stop
Having a glass of wine occasionally as a relaxant is one thing (although, in my opinion, and as new research shows, any amount of alcohol is harmful). But relying on alcohol as a coping mechanism is a very worrying scenario.
When it comes to alcohol, the more that’s consumed, the more the body tolerates it. Meaning you need a larger amount to get the same feeling of relaxation.
And the concerning truth is those mums who start with one glass of wine early in the evening soon find themselves drinking 2 glasses, then 3, then a bottle. So alcohol becomes a regular occurrence in their day, and without the wine, the stress becomes even more unbearable.
But here’s the thing with alcohol.
It increases the amount of cortisol in the body. So instead of relieving stress, it actually increases it along with anxiety and depression. In addition, it disrupts sleep leaving you feeling even more exhausted.
You become snappy and irritable, making the challenges of motherhood seem even more overwhelming.
Mommy Wine Culture Has No Regard For The Damaging Health Effects Alcohol Has On Women
As a mum, you want nothing more than to watch your children grow up to be happy and healthy. Yet mummy wine culture contradicts this mother’s instinct by placing these very dreams at risk.
The health effects alcohol has on women are alarming. Female bodies absorb alcohol more than males and take longer to metabolise it. Studies show that women are far more susceptible to long-term health issues, including cancer, liver disease, brain disorders, and heart damage.
Those few drinks each evening, while your child is a baby, may lead to health complications several years down the line. But mummy wine culture fails to look to the future.
And what about the impact on children? What kind of impression does wine mom culture give to them?
That parenting is so awful that mummy needs wine to get through it? That mummy drinks because the children drive her to it? That mummy needs wine to escape from being a mum?
Children are perceptive. They quickly pick up on scenarios and implicit messages. Glamourising alcohol or teaching children from a young age that alcohol is a good way to deal with stress sets a damaging precedent.
Say Goodbye To Hazy Mum Wine Memories And Hello To Sober Mum Memories Instead
The good news is that many mums are turning against the wine culture and seeking out different ways to destress. They’re swapping prosecco at kid’s parties for smoothies and using meditation instead of mimosas to relax.
If you’re a mum struggling to shift away from the mummy wine culture, there’s a variety of activities to help.
Find a new way to relax and destress. For example, learn how to meditate and enjoy quiet time while the baby sleeps. Or take a nap while the baby naps. Trying to get as much sleep as possible is essential as a parent. Early nights may seem boring, but you’ll feel far more refreshed in the morning without the wine hangover.
Exercise is also beneficial. Get outside and head with the buggy for a walk or jog. Or connect with other sober mums for playdates free from alcohol.
Alcohol Dependency Is No Laughing Matter
There are so many forms of merchandise on shelves and online that it’s inevitable that at least one friend or colleague ends up dishing them out.
I’ve been guilty of it myself. I intended to buy the card pictured below as a joke for a friend who was already a few years sober. But as I looked at the card later that day, and thought more carefully about it, I realised that it had the potential to touch a nerve. It was insensitive and although I wanted it to be considered a joke, I had no real idea of how my friend may actually view it. I never sent the card.
Even as I approach 8 years of alcohol-free living, I don’t think it’s necessary to be reminded of a life I’ve chosen to leave behind.
When friends joke about sobriety, it’s best to hold onto your whys and not get sucked into the so-called banter. Chances are they’re struggling themselves and are secretly admiring your determination. And f they can’t accept your sobriety, are they even friends at all? Perhaps they too need to take a long hard look at their drinking habits.
Reach Out For Help And Support
Seeking support can feel frightening. Many women fear asking for help with parenting is a sign of weakness.
Here’s the thing.
Asking for help is NOT a weakness. It’s a strength. It’s being courageous enough to step away from the norm and ask for help. There’s no weakness in that.
Admitting to having an issue with alcohol isn’t easy, and there’s fear of judgment. For mums, this fear intensifies if they feel their relationship with their children might be at risk.
But reaching out for help is the best thing to do. Speak to your partner, or confide in a sober friend. If you’d rather not speak with anyone too close to home, talk to a professional.
Somebody who’s been there and knows what you’re going through can help you find the courage and guidance you need to change. I’ve been held in the grip of alcohol and understand how difficult it can be to break free from its grip.
I can help you escape the mummy wine club. You don’t have to do this alone. I offer a 12 week 1:1 sober coaching programme to help you overcome any obstacles holding you back and map a new way forward.
Or, if you would like to chat about bespoke 1:1 time, this is also possible.
Alcohol is a poison that robs us of our true potential as a parent and an individual. It’s time to stop promoting wine as a cure for all mum’s stress. Parenting is demanding. It’s time to stop glamourising alcohol as the end to parental problems and ensure that real support and help are available to all instead.