First of all, this is not a judgment. I’ve sat on the sofa, trying to take deep breaths to calm my frustrations, doing the math to count the number of hours left until her bedtime and taken mental inventory of the available alcohol in my fridge and pantry.
This is a confession from one mom to another, an epiphany shared between friends. I’m tired of wine mom memes.
I get it. I really and truly do. Sometimes caring for your baby or babies is stressful, overwhelming, and leads you to think of various methods of escape. More than once, I have held my inconsolable fusser, swaying with my eyes shut, imagining the moment after I put her in bed, shut the door, and sit on the sofa in the quiet with nothing and no one demanding anything from me. Sometimes these fantasies begin before lunch. Sometimes they start an hour after I’ve taken my baby out of bed in the morning. I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom. I 100% get it.
But I’m pretty sick of all the wine mom memes. You know the ones I’m talking about.
“Is it wine o’clock yet?”
“I need all the wine.”
“My kids drive me to drink.”
I’m tired of them because I think they send the wrong message. And we’ve become so used to seeing them that we don’t even think about what they really mean.
The overriding implication is that motherhood drives us to drink. It conveys to our children in some way or another (maybe subconsciously, maybe in a way they won’t even be aware of until they’re adults) that their behavior and presence are a cause for us to seek the escape of alcohol. The implication is that the only way to deal with our kids, to get through a day of caring for them, is to drink. That is not a message I want to send my daughter.
It condones drinking and substance abuse as a legitimate way to deal with the challenges of life. Children are challenging. Being a mom, whether stay-at-home or working, is a constant, ceaseless, never-ending challenge. Whether you have one baby (like me) or eight (God be with you), being a good mom is hard and you don’t get to clock out or leave it at the office.
I’m not saying being a mom is easy. But whether it’s the stress of motherhood or work or marriage or money or whatever, drinking is not an effective or healthy way to deal with that stress. Ever. Those memes are code for “I’m struggling and stressed and I need the public to validate my hardship.” We do need our struggles and stresses validated. I’m not denying that as a necessity. But I’d encourage all of you to be direct with your support system about what you’re dealing with and what you need.
If you want your partner to know you’re having a hard time at home, tell them. If you need your friends to rally around you while your baby is teething (seriously, does it ever end?) or your teenager is throwing a tantrum, call them and say, “I’m going batty. Can we please have some girlfriend time?” Speaking in code is ineffective, even harmful. We can’t read minds. And we can’t expect others to.
If you need help, whether it’s a night out away from your kiddos and the laundry and dishes or simply an acknowledgment from your partner that you’re facing genuine stress and frustration in your job as a mother, ask for it.
Sometimes, the thing I need most is to hear my husband say, “I know it’s hard raising our baby, and I’m so grateful you’re home with her all day. Thank you for being such a good mom even when it’s exhausting.” I swear those words are better medicine than the biggest glass of wine or strongest margarita.
Maybe you think I’m taking things too seriously or being a buzzkill (no pun intended). But I don’t want to participate in, or otherwise condone, using substance abuse as fodder for a joke. Those memes make light of alcoholism and substance abuse. There’s nothing funny about the disease of addiction. Alcoholism isn’t a joke or a trifling way to laugh about your stress. It’s a debilitating, life-ruining problem.
I know motherhood is difficult. I know being present for your children is exhausting and it sometimes feels like the only way to get through is to be just a little numb, a little insulated from the crying, the screaming, the pleading, the whining. But wine isn’t the answer. It isn’t a real solution for anything. Have a glass of wine at the end of a long day. It’s a great way to enjoy a quiet evening after the kids are in bed, and it’s time for just you. But don’t rely on that glass or any number of glasses to get you through your day.
If you find the only way you can cope with being a mom is to drink or otherwise self-medicate, please get help. If you feel out of control of your drinking or drug use (including prescription drugs), please tell someone.
National Help Hotline for Substance Abuse: 1.800.662.HELP
National Parent Helpline: 1.855.4A.PARENT
Originally published August 2018.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.