Wine Mom

Wine Mom – the development of a dangerous trend during the lockdown

You know her, you may be her. Simply put, she is a mother and she drinks wine. That’s really all that it takes to join the ranks of the ‘wine mom” group and yet there is so much more to the seemingly innocent term than just a good time and motherhood.

Wine mom is a person who enjoys a drink:

wine momTo take the edge off the sometimes challenging (okay, OFTEN challenging) task of parenting, and who is willing to have a bit of fun at the notion of the term. However, on a larger scale, the Wine Mom designation has become a representation of some worrying trends in parenting, and has led to some scary comfortable middle-class complacency.  The big question is; should you be okay with the label ‘wine mom’ and is it okay labeling any mother who likes wine a “wine mom”?  There are levels to the answer, and can result in the person in question being either a person put in a difficult place who we have sympathy for or someone more sinister, depending on who is being asked…

Let’s be honest for a second.

Mothers who enjoyed imbibing wine is not a new concept – the advent of social media just enhanced the term and brought it into the spotlight, gaining traction and popularity. In the middle of 2010, the phrase became quite popular as moms joked online about using wine to cope and relax from the stress of motherhood. Blog posts, social media, videos, memes, you name it came out.  Globally, the term has been searched for much more during the months of Mother’s Day and Christmas, (and interestingly, when school holidays occur). A quick search now, during the COVI-19 pandemic shut down will quickly reveal more and more content around wine moms and their search for relief. There are loads of gifts, and in particular, mugs, wine glasses and custom messages to moms (sometimes from hubby!) which are easily purchasable off and online.

Healing Wine Mom

There is a sense of healing in the humour mothers have using this term and poking fun at themselves. It’s a way for parents to understand, cope and resonate with one another, and let one another know that they are not alone and the stress is real, and, in recognising it, taming it, slightly. If you happen to ask a wine mom what that term is, she most probably will describe it using one or more of the following adjectives; busy, exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed.  She may say it is someone who needs a break, a laugh and time to unwind. She would tell you that a glass of wine (or two) is a key ingredient to that unwinding process. Most blogs, content around the life of a wine mom will describe mostly their busy lives, and very little about wine and more that wine is a term used to describe the down time, or moment of relief from the stresses of parenthood. The wine is almost a non-feature, but the meaning behind it is, that wine is a word used to describe an escape.

Two sides of the same coin

wine momNow, that’s the one side that people see a wine mom. The other side sometimes seen by onlookers is that this light-hearted term hides a more sinister issue.  Wine moms, the act of being a wine mom and the glorification of being a wine mom is sometimes seen as an excuse to glorify excessive drinking and the promotion of drinking as a coping method. Let’s be honest here, anyone drinking to self-medicate or developing an alcohol addiction is a cause for concern. HOWEVER there has always been a concern over mothers drinking. History has shown that people find it more problematic culturally if mother’s drink. (note this is not the truth, but merely a perception is seen by some, mostly patriarchal sectors of society).  Mothering is known for its tremendous importance, and it is a job with no time off, or 9-5 regularity, like ‘normal’ jobs. Motherhood is, for all intends and purposes one of the hardest jobs there is.

This is then associated with moms drinking that mothers are technically drinking on the job. (A ridiculous notion, we agree!)  To add to the conundrum of that bias, ‘Beer Dads’ were not given the same ridicule as dad worked out of the home and came home while mom raised the kids, an archaic notion that has remained woven to this day in the threads of society, albeit those notions are being reversed, challenged and dissolved.

The issue at hand

Perhaps that the issue is not the question of drinking wine, but the fact that modern parenting has become all-consuming and as a result, isolating to many.  The term supermom, the superhero who can balance a career, motherhood and life is a real concept – and we are all very aware of how un-child friendly most workplaces remain. The urge then by mothers is to please the office world while in some cases, cramming in the personal life, including parenting, to a delirious and often painfully stressful end.

The support of old, parents of mothers, past generations and so on have all but dissolved too. Child care costs are increasing, resulting in mothers sacrificing careers to care for and raise their children, losing out on income and time around their peers. This is of course not a blanket assumption; however, it does happen and can influence the wine mom culture. Mix that in with the demands on the modern-day mother, compared to yesteryears, the extra sports and cultural activities at schools and the aspirational directives the economic classes strive for, and you can see why wine mom and supermom exist.

At the end of the day,

Rearing a child is a tough and hard job, so there is a solid argument for why the evolution of the wine mom came about, and why it remains so strong in society today. Wine drinking for leisure is considered the pursuit of the affluent. It’s stereotyped as a suburb affair and the wine mom has her stereotype: she is typically seen as a married suburban housewife with conservative views. This, of course, is challenged by many wine moms who deliberately break the mould with their posts, all the while reinforcing the drinking to relax model.

So here is the crux of the situation. We saw the rejoicing of wine moms via memes when the national lockdown level went to 3 and the bottle stores opened. We often see the comments on social media as moms ‘refill the supplies’ to get them through the next phase of this pandemic, of life, of parenthood and so on. A word of caution needs to be offered.

Alcohol is a drug.

wine momA legal drug, but a drug nonetheless. It is Drug Awareness Month in June, and the combination of loneliness, stress, overwhelming senses of despair and difficult situations, coupled with the obvious stress of COVID-19, back to school issues, homeschooling and life, in general, may open the doorway to alcoholism through the key known as the comedic relief of the “Wine Mom” subculture. Be aware of what you are using wine for, and ensure that it doesn’t evolve into a much more sinister situation, addiction.  Perhaps, looking forward, what wine moms need most is a better support system, one that is not defined by a stereotype and enforced by social media. This way, wine does not become the hidden danger that sometimes turns into an addiction.

For more information on dealing with  a Wine Mom or alcohol abuse and getting yourself or her into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

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