Watch Out For Wine Mom

 

“Surviving Motherhood – One sip at a time.” “Liquid Therapy.” “I wine because they whine.” A popular meme this past Mother's Day read: "If you aren't screaming 'BARTENDER' at your husband all day, you're doing it wrong!" The “wine mom” sayings go on and on. They are mounted on glasses, t-shirts, cell phone cases, key chains, etc. You’ll find them on chalkboards outside of restaurants and bars, posters on store windows, or signage on end-caps in grocery stores that sell wine and beer. Social media memes and messaging screaming the martyrdom of motherhood floods Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with hashtags like #SendWine #WineMom #MommyJuice. Even #bravoholic is seen on snarky posts featuring a female hand grasping the stem of a wine glass accompanied by a note of maternal declaration of courage to complete the day saddled with temper tandems, disrespecting teens, piles of laundry, and struggling to cook dinner for the family.  Women seek comradery in Facebook groups with names like: “Moms Gone Wine” “The Wine Mom Chronicles” or “Moms Who Love Wine.”  The sentiment: Parenting is so hard.  The only way to endure it is with alcohol.

What may have started out as a joke years ago has escalated to blaming children for the stress endured by moms who have worked so hard that they deserve their wine. Or worse, these moms have it so hard they simply can’t get through the day without wine.  At their worst, these messages blame the children outright for a parent drinking in excess. Mainstream media is raising concern for the growing trend with articles like The Washington Post’s “The Cheeky ‘Wine Mom’ Trope Isn’t Just Dumb. It’s Dangerous” or the Today’s Show’s “Do Moms Need Too Much Wine? Women’s Drinking Habits Spark Concern.” These articles often mention the dangers of normalizing problem drinking, especially at a time binge drinking by women is growing. Often overlooked is remembering that our children bare witness to it all, reading the messages and listening to the declarations ... and believing them.

These messages grow louder around Mother’s Day and the approaching summer vacation. As a popular sentiment, it is important to remember how kids and teens hear these types of comments. And when alcohol is a problem in the household, and often alcohol misuse and addiction is accompanied by other ACEs, remember these jokes aren’t humorous. Instead, the comments reinforce what children have already convinced themselves:  It’s my fault.  The most important thing to tell children is that problem drinking is not their fault. Tell them they didn’t cause it, they can’t control it, and they can’t cure it. 

We need to begin to counter these messages, with our businesses and on social media. At a time where the addiction epidemic still ravages the nation, binge drinking is of equal concern. And the children most often are the first harmed and the last helped. By letting children believe these messages, it not only damages them, but reinforces the coping mechanism - and the right - to turn to alcohol for everyday stress, ensuring tomorrow's generation of wine moms. If we wish to change things, we actually do need to change things.  

 

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Thank you!!  This whole things has been disturbing to me on so many levels.  Its not funny or cute.  I've been sober 20 years and this "alcohol as a coping mechanism" is really unhealthy for everyone involved. 

Thank you for writing this!  The wine mom "joking" is disturbing and seems to almost make fun of, make light of addiction and alcohol abuse. I also hate the message that you can't "get through" parenting without alcohol. Thank you!

Wonderful post on mommyhood and wine consumption. I could not agree with your more. These moms have become functional alcoholics and we all laugh about it. It's wrong and I am so thrilled that someone is finally addressing it. This would make a wonderful PSA!

Carey S. Sipp (ACEs Connection Staff) posted:

Great post, Mary Beth!

Another massive consideration?

Women of childbearing age who have unprotected sex can be pregnant and expose the developing fetus to alcohol.

It’s said alcohol is  more toxic to the developing fetus than cocaine.

Most women don’t even know they are pregnant for a month or two, so a developing fetus can be exposed to a lot of alcohol before a woman even learns she’s pregnant. And then, not every woman knows she’s NOT supposed to  drink while pregnant. And some “experts” tell women it’s okay to have a glass or two of wine while pregnant.  Tell that to someone with an alcohol problem and two bottles of wine later maybe they’ve had enough, as the tiny fetus is literally cooking in alcohol. (Put a raw egg in a glass of vodka and you get an idea of what alcohol does to tissues.)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a silent epidemic. Many learning and other disabilities may actually be FASD. 

FASD is toxic childhood stress on another level. I wish feminine hygiene products would print warnings on tampon and napkin wrappers so kids would start learning this at an early age: If you are having sex and drinking alcohol, please use birth control. There is no known safe amount of alcohol, or safe time to drink during pregnancy. 

Thanks for the great post Mary Beth; glad I could add my part about pregnancy and alcohol.  

Bottom line? Motherhood and alcohol may best be kept separate. At least for some folks.

What you and I have posted sure make the case for people being emotionally sober if/when they decide to drink. 

Carey, we tried to get support for having pregnancy tests in women’s bathrooms (like a tampon dispenser) in establishments that serve alcohol.

I also work with March of Dimes and the Preconception Health Council of CA to have QR codes on the shelf were pregnancy tests were sold - and we worked on adding information inside the pregnancy test box. 

All of these efforts were designed to bring awareness and easy access to information about the detrimental impact of alcohol on a developing fetus. 

Many folks are not aware that fetus’ take longer to metabolize alcohol, resulting in higher blood alcohol levels which also last longer. 

https://minnesota.cbslocal.com...vending-machine/amp/

Thank you for starting this important dialogue.

Nationally over half of all pregnancies carried to term are unintended or miss timed (this doesn’t necessarily mean not wanted). 

By the time a woman realizes her period is late, and that she may be pregnant, then schedules an appointment with her healthcare provider (another delay) she is often starting prenatal care during the second trimester. 

In 2011-2012 I had the opportunity to work with CityMatCH as a co-lead on one of 6 sites nationally to reduce substance exposed pregnancies in Sonoma County CA. With technical support from the CDC and the World Health Organization, our integrated screening tool (N=5000) demonstrated that women who answered “yes” to a question about whether their parents had a problem with substance use - were 2.7 to 3.5 times more likely to report substance use, mood disorder, and intimate partner violence. Given these findings we integrated ACEs into our provider education and community outreach efforts. 

https://psep.weebly.com/upload...a_psep_one_pager.pdf

http://www.amchp.org/AboutAMCH.../Pages/Feature6.aspx

*Background: CityMatCH, with funding and guidance from the CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), announces the first meeting of a new practice collaborative focusing on the Prevention of Substance- Exposed Pregnancies (PSEP). The PSEP Collaborative aims to reduce the number of pregnancies affected by alcohol and other substances within U.S. urban areas.

We know that substance use during pregnancy is an important public health issue; 12.2 percent of pregnant women engage in alcohol and other substance use. However, the main focus of this collaborative is to move beyond what has typically been done during prenatal care, and instead focus attention and efforts on risky substance use during the preconception period, and on women of reproductive age more broadly.

In closing, tremendous work is happening at national and regional levels, however I’m not sure how deeply ACEs science informs those efforts. 

Thank you, Karen 

Great post, Mary Beth!

Another massive consideration?

Women of childbearing age who have unprotected sex can be pregnant and expose the developing fetus to alcohol.

It’s said alcohol is  more toxic to the developing fetus than cocaine.

Most women don’t even know they are pregnant for a month or two, so a developing fetus can be exposed to a lot of alcohol before a woman even learns she’s pregnant. And then, not every woman knows she’s NOT supposed to  drink while pregnant. And some “experts” tell women it’s okay to have a glass or two of wine while pregnant.  Tell that to someone with an alcohol problem and two bottles of wine later maybe they’ve had enough, as the tiny fetus is literally cooking in alcohol. (Put a raw egg in a glass of vodka and you get an idea of what alcohol does to tissues.)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a silent epidemic. Many learning and other disabilities may actually be FASD. 

FASD is toxic childhood stress on another level. I wish feminine hygiene products would print warnings on tampon and napkin wrappers so kids would start learning this at an early age: If you are having sex and drinking alcohol, please use birth control. There is no known safe amount of alcohol, or safe time to drink during pregnancy. 

Thanks for the great post Mary Beth; glad I could add my part about pregnancy and alcohol.  

Bottom line? Motherhood and alcohol may best be kept separate. At least for some folks.

What you and I have posted sure make the case for people being emotionally sober if/when they decide to drink. 

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