Cirque Lodge > Blog > Family > The 'Wine Mom' Trend: Mommy Wine Culture and Why It’s So Toxic

Most adults in America will be familiar with mommy wine culture, even if they do not know the phenomenon by that name. Framed as an easy-going and funny reward for the tough job of motherhood, it could be easy to brush it off as a joke. However, as levels of alcoholism among women of parenting age in the US skyrocket, should we be more concerned about the health risk mommy wine culture poses?

What Is Mommy Wine Culture?

Mommy wine culture is acceptance or even a light-hearted joke around the idea that mothers need to drink wine (or another alcoholic beverage) to get through the day. You can find mommy wine culture in comedy sketches on TV and in-jokes exchanged on social media. Corporations producing greetings cards and other gift items targeted at mothers make a tidy profit selling mugs and glasses emblazoned with Mommy’s Medicine or Mommy’s Therapy. Internet searches for ‘wine mom’ shoot up every year in May and December as people look for products to send as novelty gifts around Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Taken alone, they are a lighthearted view of the different ways moms can juggle work and the children and have some fun; however, increasing numbers of people are suggesting that there might be something darker about mommy wine culture that we shouldn’t ignore.

Do We Need Alcohol To Relax, Bond, and Escape Responsibility?

Drinking wine can feel instantly relaxing after a long day. Women often carry the double burden of paid work outside of the home and a disproportionate amount of unpaid work inside the home compared with their male family members. With little time left over to relax, a glass of wine in the evening can be a very appealing way of unwinding.

Due to this double shift, many women feel unable to take time for themselves. Many jokes in mommy wine culture seem to mention wine only on a surface level - what they’re really looking for is some time away from caring responsibilities.

Joking about that little glass of wine can then be a way for some moms to release themselves from the stigma of finding some aspects of motherhood challenging. Sharing a glass of wine with others can feel like the only way of bonding with friends and community members.

Why is “Mommy Wine Culture” Toxic?

Normalizing Problematic Behaviors

While drinking every evening may feel like a reliable way to relax, it usually causes more problems than it solves:

  • Drinking might make us fall asleep quicker, but it affects the quality of our rest.
  • Alcohol is highly toxic and harmful to our physical health.
  • Alcohol is very cunning - we can gradually become addicted, which can cause fatal withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol addiction in women often goes unnoticed in America; however, it is common and rising. Mommy wine culture normalizes this drinking and makes it harder for moms to spot when they might be developing a problem.

Distracting From the Issues That Cause It

Similarly, mommy wine culture can distract from the issues that might be causing mom to drink. High workloads both inside and outside of the home can cause chronic stress, and when combined with the stigma of finding motherhood hard, this can be difficult for anyone to manage. Mommy wine culture doesn’t just trivialize potentially harmful drinking behaviors; it also normalizes the problems that may cause it.

Promoting Alcohol Abuse in Children

The jokes inherent to mommy wine culture often suggest that parenting children is extremely challenging or puts emphasis on how annoying, clingy, or boring children can be, which could induce feelings of guilt and shame in children.

It also promotes the unhealthy idea that alcohol is a suitable solution to feelings of stress. Parental alcohol addiction is also a risk factor for children to develop alcohol addiction when they grow up. Therefore, children are at risk of internalizing the same problems that mommy wine culture is normalizing in their mothers.

When Does Alcohol Consumption Become a Problem?

Alcohol consumption crosses into the territory of a problem when it negatively impacts a person's daily life, health, and relationships. And while wine mom moments may seem innocent enough, consumption may become a problem when drinking manifests into conditions such as building a tolerance to alcohol, finding it difficult to cut down or stop drinking or experiencing withdrawal symptoms without it. Rather than wine moms drinking for an occasional indulgence, difficulties arise when consumption becomes a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, or depression. If you find yourself relying on alcohol to get through the day, or if your drinking habits are causing distress or harm to yourself or others, it's important to seek professional help.

The Health Risks of Excessive Drinking

Alcohol misuse can lead to numerous health problems, including heart disease, liver disease, and several types of cancer. Furthermore, chronic alcohol use can result in mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety—ironically, the same stressors that a so-called “mommy wine culture” suggests wine can alleviate.

How Can I Overcome a Toxic Relationship With Alcohol?

If drinking is becoming a problem and is affecting you and perhaps your family, there are several ways we can overcome mommy wine culture:

  • Awareness - Being aware of the issues of alcohol dependency can help you catch it in yourself and your loved ones before it develops into a serious problem.
  • Socialize without alcohol - Find ways to connect with members of your community without the need to have alcohol.
  • Address the issues you might be trying to solve through your alcohol use - Is it work stress? Do you need more help with childcare? Opening up this question will help to solve the problem, not just cover it up.
  • Seek professional help - Alcohol dependence and the problems that cause it are not a life sentence. You can get help to heal and overcome them with others.

Mommy wine culture might be covertly toxic, but there are ways to overcome the darker problems it conceals and find better solutions to deal with the pressures of motherhood.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options for Moms

Even though the wine mommy culture is widely embraced or accepted, the truth is that mom drinking can lead to serious difficulties. Motherhood comes with unique challenges and responsibilities that can make it tough to seek help for alcohol addiction.  Fortunately, various treatment options cater to the specific needs of mothers caught in the wine mom culture. Outpatient programs allow mothers to receive treatment while continuing to fulfill their parental duties. Alternatively, residential treatment facilities, like Cirque Lodge, offer a peaceful, supportive environment for mothers to fully focus on their recovery journey. Additionally, specialized programs offer services like childcare and family therapy to ensure mothers do not have to choose between getting help and caring for their families. Please keep this in mind, too - seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it's a brave and admirable step towards a healthier future for both mother and family.

Finding A Beacon of Hope

In Utah's beautiful mountains, Cirque Lodge offers a unique, nurturing environment for those grappling with alcohol addiction. Our specialized programs, designed by experienced professionals, use a combination of therapy, education, and wholesome activities. We boldly stare down the complex societal and behavioral details surrounding the mommy wine culture and provide the tools needed to break free from the chains of alcohol dependency.  With Cirque Lodge, hope is available, and we can help you pave the way toward a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Starting your recovery journey at Cirque Lodge is a simple and straightforward process. Our dedicated admin staff and mental health team are available 24/7 to guide you through the initial steps. We understand that every individual's situation is unique, and we strive to accommodate and streamline the process to make it as smooth as possible. We can also be exceedingly instrumental in helping you learn how to deal with an alcoholic spouse should you be seeking assistance for your partner or the mother of your children. The journey to recovery may be challenging, but you don't have to walk it alone at Cirque Lodge.

Moving Beyond Wine Mom Culture

Motherhood is a remarkable journey filled with highs, lows, laughter, and tears. It's perfectly okay to have a glass of wine to unwind or enjoy a moment with another wine mom while the kids are away.  However, when the wine mom lifestyle begins to take over, or drinking becomes a lifeline for managing stress, it's time for a change. We need to dismantle the damaging narrative of mommy wine culture and replace it with one that champions healthier coping mechanisms, empathetic support, and the courage to seek help when needed. And in that journey, remember, places like Cirque Lodge are always here to offer professional, compassionate assistance.

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