Wine-y moms are all over Instagram — not complainers, just lovers of the daytime glass of wine while shuffling their kid or kids from place to place.
There’s even wine-mom merch; socks, sweatshirts, and T-shirts with sayings like: “If you can read this, bring me a drink,” or “Let’s get ready to stumble.”
Whether you judge it or not, that sippy cup may not be filled with juice — it may be filled with what moms call “mommy juice,” and it’s become more and more acceptable to take the edge off of 24-hour parenting and screaming kids with a little Rosé or Pinot Grigio. Especially after going through a long pregnancy sober.
Last Sunday’s New York Times even covered a sober mom who was trying to survive in a wine-mom culture, saying mommy winos are more prevalent than people think. But it can easily get out of control, too. A playdate with a wine can soon turn into hours of mommy talk and two bottles down, then it starts happening on a daily basis.
Kelly Clarkson once told People when raising children, “wine is necessary.” The Facebook group “Moms Who Need Wine” has nearly one million members.
While our culture makes it look fun (See Bad Moms), being social with the other moms in your neighborhood oftentimes requires booze. But that comes with nasty hangovers that can affect your mornings, and your parenting. Also, studies show that a parent’s relationship with alcohol and the way we treat booze in front of them has a direct influence on a child.
We spoke to mommy expert Lyss Stern, mom of three and owner Divamoms.com, a lifestyle company for moms. She is also the bestselling author of If You Give a Mom a Martini: 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself, and talks about moms and drinking in the Manhattan social scene.
She does not tell moms to go out and get drunk, and says that you have to control it. A glass of wine (especially red wine) can be very good for you, your health and your sleep. She notes that moms that cannot drink for various reasons should find other ways to de-stress, like yoga, mediation, walking, taking a hot bubble bath, and trying to get a good nights sleep.
Stern says that many moms do drink, (she even has a DeLysscious Martini recipe in the book) and often have book parties to unwind with a glass of wine.
“Moms sometimes drink at book parties, at work events, moms night out dinners,” Stern says. “But I have yet to ever see a mom get out of control with her drinking. The moms that I know and work with are most responsible. I also think that more and more moms are also very health conscious and responsible. Would not want to get drunk and or have that feeling the next morning of a hang over.”
But that’s not all moms.
Boston mom Laura McKowen started a blog about drinking and how our mommy culture glorifies that sweet glass of wine to take the edge off.
“It was definitely a thing that was prized in mommy culture, to drink, and to drink because you were a mom, because you had kids. You needed this,” Laura McKowen tells WBZ-TV “It was like a joke,” she said. “The kids have their sippy cups and we have our sippy cups, the wine.”
But, she adds, “Eventually, I would have lost custody of my daughter. It was inevitable,” she said.
The number of women who consumed more than four drinks a day rose almost 60 percent between 2002 and 2013, according to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. And a JAMA Psychiatry study found that between 2002 and 2013, “high-risk drinking,” or four or more drinks a day, was steadily rising among moms.
Cindy Feinberg, President of The Recovery Coach New York, tells Personal Space the mommy-wine culture is in both the suburbs and the city. “It starts as a social thing, making new mommy friends … socializing isn’t all that easy for some people, it starts with a glass of wine. I don’t think everyone who drinks with kids has a problem with alcohol, but there are people who cross the line,” she says.
Feinberg, a recovering alcoholic herself who is now 32 years sober, says that drinking is especially a problem for moms because everything gets lowered, your reactions are slower. “If your kid falls are you able to react as quickly? I doubt it.”
“It becomes a moral question for some people,” she adds. “is it OK to drink during the day while you’re with your toddler… when I was a mom that was social, it didn’t really come into play until they were older, but now alcohol and wine are served at playdates, it’s among the millennial moms — the 30’s crowd.”
Feinberg says that for a lot of people who have left careers to raise a baby, boredom sets in and it’s hard to keep your sanity, or just everybody’s doing it and it seems normal. But she’s helped people who have gone too far, passing out, blacking out, and unable to care for the kid.
“I often hear ‘I was blacked out and drove drunk,’ [and] many parents now have to be monitored because of substance abuse,” she says. “It’s definitely more people than you think, [and} there’s a lot of pot too. Where it’s legal, dispensaries [have] edibles and it’s so easy to take. And alcohol is served at parties, even school functions have alcohol.”
If you find yourself on a slippery slope, talk to a professional and you can take measures to stop, Feinberg says. There are questions you can answer to find out if you’re being social or if you have a problem.
Also, having a nanny makes it easier to get drunk, because there is a certain level of ease and less consequences to deal with when someone is there to take care of the children.
“It is a big part of our culture, and I have had many clients go to rehab, addiction is a hard disease to break,” Feinberg adds. “I have a lot of empathy for moms, but there is a whole world of fun, sober moms out there.”