My sobriety does not define me . I am much more than a sober person. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a feminist. But sobriety is a common thread through all these other things. It makes me feel better with all the other things. It has given me a better understanding of what it is to be all these other things and to be the best I can be.
Sobriety also made me realize how much the narrative is clouded by mothers and drinkers. I am the first person to hold up my hands and admit that I have chosen this narrative for a long time. A man who brought beer for beer was a kind of feminist statement. It was normal to drink a binge drink every day of my summer vacation because "that's what everyone else does." Like a bottle of wine after bathing the kids and being my legal reward in bed as a parent.
I was 100 percent on board with the culture of "Mommy needs wine".
That is, until I became sober and I saw what it is: extremely problematic, possibly offensive and dangerous to those mothers who have a hard time staying together and may not know how or where to get help.
As with many contemporary cultural trends, the Internet has been instrumental in bringing the mantra "Mama needs wine" to the masses. We all read – and probably laughed – about the need to have a drink in order to cope as a parent. Most people who post this material on social media (and it's available everywhere) do not need alcohol. They have not dealt with addiction or alcohol abuse issues. They just think they are funny and understandable.
This does not stop with the social media meme . There are T-shirts, baby onesie, wall hangings, mugs, coasters. In fact, all you can find in an average house that has room for a logo is a fair game for "You're Whining, Me Wine" and "Mommy needs an alcohol day" or "Mommy's Fidget" with the sketch of a corkscrew around it Joke to complete.
But where did the Wine Mom culture begin? Nobody Knows Well But Psychotherapist Jean M. Campbell LCSW, who has been working with women with alcoholism for over 20 years (many of them mothers), tells SELF that she compares it to . "Mother's Little Helper" (19459018) by women who used Valium in the 1960s . At that time, doctors, mostly men, reported that she had prescribed Valium as a way for women to overcome their fears rather than teach them coping and self-regulation tools, she says.
Perhaps over time, of course, and our changing society, that "Mama needs wine," has taken over from "Mother's Little Helper." Although Valium is not a socially acceptable mechanism for self-sufficiency, it does seem to be alcohol, although it is a . strongly addictive drug .
What is so offensive about Wine Mom messaging is the "idea that mothers have to drink wine to be mothers," says Campbell.
"Many women raising children feel incredibly fulfilled It's the most important job they'll ever do, and they're really good at it," Campbell continues. "The idea that they need something to work with coping with the overpowering makes perfect sense: being a mother is overwhelming but saying they need to turn to alcohol to manage the experience is offensive. "
Another topic that I have with this penetrating meme is the message it sends to our children, if you expose the baby in "I'm the reason why mom drinks", or complain to a friend over the phone that we had a terrible day and "need" a glass of wine, say to our children, that we can do it.To do without alcohol, we have to treat ourselves to tolerate it, and alcohol is self-care.
My biggest problem with the Wine Mom. Culture is However, the message can be absorbed by mothers who are truly sustainable help and support. Alcohol consumption, according to American Addiction Centers can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The last thing a woman suffering from anxiety or depression needs is the constant encouragement to drink? (According to the National Bureau of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism approximately 5.3 million American women suffer from alcohol abuse.)
"We must think about the message to which the culture of" Mommy needs wine " [http://enwikipediaorg/wiki/KhaningMarinari is a licensed mental health adviser and certified alcohol and drug counselor, says SELF. "That mothers need wine to overcome the chaos of parenting and life? That mothers can only socialize through wine? This wine solves the problem of motherhood? None of these things are true, and the effects can be serious. "If you imagine a mother who realizes that she uses alcohol on a daily basis to deal with a loss of control in her life, suddenly these carefree, funny memes do not seem so funny.
Help for this mother should not come in the form of "Mommy Juice".
Help should come in the form of supportive partners and dependents, encouragement to develop healthy self-care practices. and affordable access to psychiatric services.
"Most of us are not permitted to admit that we are struggling with our lives, our emotions and our thoughts, and almost none of us are taught any kind of self-regulatory skills such as deep breathing, meditation, etc." says Campbell. "If mothers were allowed to admit that they are overwhelmed and laborious, I would have the least amount of wine at all."
I also realized early in my sobriety that alcohol is the only drug we do not have to justify which is ridiculous. Marinari agrees that there is a sense of exclusion from mothers who do not drink, from those who do. "Essentially, we need to free mothers from this culture to help them merge in a healthier way," she says.
Of course every mother has the right to decide if she wants to drink or not.
I & # 39; I am not a bully – all my close friends and family drink and my husband and my guests drink at home. I really do not have a problem with any of them. I see absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks during dinner or occasionally having a bottle of wine to pick up and unload with friends.
However, I know from experience that there is a clear line between responsible social drinking and stupefying with alcohol to deal with parenting (or work, a relationship or mental health issues or a series of stressful circumstances).
Let us stop perpetuating the message that alcohol is the only crutch of a woman to endure the stress of motherhood. The education requirements are real, and all parents should be encouraged to go beyond healthy wineries that are over go out a wine glass.