Let me preface this post by saying that I am not here to shame anyone, or tell you that enjoying a glass of wine is wrong. If anyone reading this knows me personally, they know my true love and appreciation for it. I have traveled to wine country in Europe and I have been to wine tastings here in our town. What I want to focus on is something way more serious than all of that.
From cute shirts, mugs, to witty letter board statements saying things like, “They Whine So I Wine”, the normalization of drinking is everywhere on social media. Popular “influencers” on Instagram are even in on it, posing with their little ones beside letter boards with humorous statements referring to the need for wine in order to get through motherhood. I have to come clean and say that I have also taken part in this movement and have found many of these statements and photos entertaining, but the reality is we are masking a weighty issue, one that has the potential to ruin lives and destroy families. One that is becoming more and more normalized in our culture, and one that is specifically targeting us moms.
Alcohol Use Disorder can be referred to as “alcoholism” or “alcohol addiction”. According to the Peter G. Dodge Foundation in Baltimore, “it is a chronic, relapsing medical condition that requires long-term care. People with AUD exhibit compulsive behavior around alcohol use — for example, drinking more or more often than intended, craving alcohol when not drinking, and continuing to drink despite negative consequences. AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on how many symptoms a person has.”
Mamas, please do not think I am trying to make you feel guilty about drinking. It’s okay to savor a glass of wine while watching your favorite show on Netflix. I do it too! What I want you to take away from this is what are the motives when it comes to drinking? Do we HAVE to drink in order to get through the nightly routine with our children? Do we HAVE to have more than one glass to enjoy ourselves? Must we drink at a play date with other mom friends to appreciate the time spent together? Is wine the sole subject of solidarity with other women?
Here’s what I do know: we do not have to have wine or any type of alcoholic beverage to make it through this season of life. What we need are close friends who we can call and cry to when life feels unbearable. What we need is a good night’s rest instead of another glass or two. We need an afternoon to ourselves at a coffee shop with a good book in hand. We need a healthy self-care routine that involves exercise and time out of the house. We need a solid support team of women to keep us accountable and to remind us we are all in this together.
If you are on the other side of this screen and feel like you may have a problem, know it takes a ton of courage to even admit it. Know there places and resources in our city that can and want to help you.
You are strong, sweet mama. Stronger than what is inside any glass you could drink. More resilient than that bottle of Cabernet. Better than what our society says you need in order to survive. You are not alone in this season of life. And remember, when all else fails, there’s always coffee. #allthepraisehands