April 23, 2020

I was a “Wine Mom.”

The normalization of excessive drinking in the Mommy Wine Culture almost took me down—because oops, I got addicted.

I fell hook, line, and sinker into every “Mommy Needs Wine” and “Mommy Juice” meme. I forwarded them, I laughed at them, and I bought into this distorted group think—I bought into a billion dollar marketing campaign.

I was a wine mom.

I believed the narrative that wine was every mother’s key to survival. A reward at the end of a hard day being in the battlefield with two toddlers. I earned it, I deserved it. It was a payoff for the unrelenting scrutiny and pressure a modern woman has on her today to be perfect. For her kids to be perfect and for her family to be perfect. I sucked at being perfect.

Over the last 20 years, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in alcohol use—and that surge is mainly among women. Wine companies are specifically targeting their products to stressed-out moms under the guise that drinking wine will make their struggles more manageable (or even disappear). The message, clearly, is to medicate your nerves, your anxiety, and your depression and turn to a bottle for comfort. Period.

Is it any wonder my one glass turned into two, three, sometimes the whole bottle on any given given night? It happened so slowly, over years, so deceptively, I hardly even noticed. If everyone else is doing it, it can’t be that bad, right? But one day, “Rose all day!” and “Maybe it’s coffee, maybe it’s wine,” weren’t just cute little sayings. They started hitting a little too close to home.

I began to notice that I would think about drinking a little after lunchtime almost every day. That was when I first became aware that something wasn’t quite right. I would look forward to it and fantasize about what I was going to have when I got home from work, how much I was going to have, and if I had enough of what I wanted at home. My coat wouldn’t even be off my body and I would have the first glass already poured. Every single day, I would promise myself that I was only going to have one, and every night, I would break that promise.

I didn’t have to hit rock bottom to realize that instead of me controlling the wine, the wine was starting to control me—I just had to wake up. My bottom was simply a moment of clarity. A moment where I got really honest with myself and accepted that my drinking was bringing more pain into my life than pleasure. The alcohol was no longer serving me the way I once thought it had.

Did the Mommy Needs Wine T-Shirt at Target make me addicted to alcohol? Of course not. Did the hundreds of cute Wine Mom memes on my Facebook make me lose control of my drinking? Absolutely not.

However, the truth is that alcohol is one of the most addictive drugs on the face of the planet. Yet, in this country, we allow our alcohol industry to irresponsibly spend billions of dollars, with few regulations, making sure we get their message loud and clear: cool people drink alcohol, successful people drink alcohol, fun people drink alcohol, sexy people drink alcohol, and mommy needs wine to survive.

Normalizing any amount of alcohol consumption directly to a stressed out, overtired, anxious mom is not okay. There is a line that has been deeply crossed

It’s classy too, right? Wine? Well, wine isn’t very classy when you can’t stop drinking it. Normalize that.

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