The causes of addiction aren’t fully understood. Genetic factors play a role, so people who have parents, siblings, or other close blood relatives who have substance use disorders face a higher risk. However, genetics aren’t destiny. Environmental factors play a part as well, which means that it’s important not to underestimate the effect wine mom culture is having on vulnerable women.
The Darker Side of Wine Mom Culture
Maybe you’ve seen cute personalized wine glasses labeled “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” on Etsy or shared a meme referring to wine as “Mommy juice” on your Facebook timeline. At first glance, this may seem like a harmless way to poke fun at the fact that motherhood is notoriously stressful and time-consuming. Unfortunately, #winemom is contributing to a rise in alcohol use disorders among women.
Here’s a brief rundown of why wine mom culture is problematic.
- It encourages binge drinking. Moderate drinking means one drink or less per day for women, but wine mom culture is about drinking to excess. A joke about drinking an entire bottle of wine after you put the children to bed isn’t just dark humor—it’s a cry for help. There are no circumstances under which wine should be a mom’s go-to coping mechanism.
- It implies that excessive drinking is a normal part of motherhood. When it seems like every mother is using alcohol to ease her stress and soothe her emotional pain, it makes it harder to recognize the point when casual drinking becomes a legitimate alcohol use disorder. It’s a subtle form of peer pressure that gives women the option of “plausible deniability” when confronted about their behavior.
- It views asking for help as a sign of weakness. Women who are overwhelmed by parenting should feel comfortable reaching out to ask for help from family and friends. Wine mom culture encourages them to “tough it out” instead of looking for real solutions to the struggles they are facing.
- Drinking is not self-care. Legitimate self-care refers to practices that promote a healthy mind, body, and spirit. This includes getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, and building strong personal relationships. Alcohol isn’t self-care because it only provides a temporary escape.
- Excessive long-term alcohol consumption puts a woman’s health in danger. Alcohol use disorders can lead to a generally weakened immune system, worsening of pre-existing mental health problems, and an increased risk of developing serious medical conditions such as heart disease.
- Children are put at risk. The most obvious dangers associated with wine mom culture are that a woman may be drinking throughout her pregnancy, or she may put her young children at risk of serious accidental injuries by being too intoxicated to provide appropriate supervision. However, the long-term effects must also be considered. Having a parent who drinks to excess also encourages children to see alcohol as a solution to everyday problems. This increases the likelihood that they will become problem drinkers as adults.
Women Deserve Better
Alcohol use disorders in women are serious illnesses that shouldn’t be diminished by pop culture jokes. Alcohol affects a woman’s body differently because women tend to weigh less than men, and they have less water in their bodies than men. This means a woman needs fewer drinks to become intoxicated and start experiencing negative health consequences. The hormonal fluctuations associated with the different stages in the menstrual cycle can also play a role.
While denial is a common trait in all people with substance use disorders, women with children at home are often more reluctant to seek help. They may worry about being labeled a “bad mom” or fear that admitting a problem will result in harsh judgment.
We Can Help
All moms face challenges, and an alcohol use disorder is not your fault. You are not alone. At Mountain Laurel Recovery Center, we provide evidence-based care personalized to fit each client’s unique needs when they are quitting drinking. Our Pennsylvania residential alcohol addiction treatment center provides detox services followed by individual, group, and family therapy to build the foundation for a lasting recovery. Clients also have access to 12-Step support and a wide range of holistic treatments that promote a wellness-focused lifestyle. After graduation, we offer continuing care services to ease the transition back to independent living.
By recognizing that you are showing signs of an alcohol use disorder, you’ve already taken the first step toward a brighter future. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you break free from the burdens of addiction so you can get back to enjoying all that life has to offer.