One thing that often brings people together in American society today is wine. That’s right, wine. This is partly due to American media marketing drinking as being “cool” and “fun.” With such promotion, it’s no wonder why the number of Americans with drinking problems has increased dramatically since the 2000s. Wine drinking has especially been marketed to women and mothers in the past decade or two. The media markets wine drinking to women and mothers so much that “wine mom culture” is now a thing.
As popular as “wine mom culture” is today, though, is it really a movement that is healthy for mothers to take on, or is it just something that is normalizing alcoholism in women?
What is Wine Mom Culture?
Wine mom culture is a term that refers to the growing number of moms who drink to escape the stresses of motherhood. Wine mom culture started to spread on social media in the late 2000s. This was when mothers started to get together virtually through social media platforms such as Facebook to share stories about motherhood. Through these virtual get-togethers, mothers would also laugh about the need to cope with motherhood stress by drinking wine.
Social media has only gotten bigger since the 2000s. Thus, since then, wine mom culture has become a money-making movement. For example, there is now merchandise that moms who drink can purchase to represent the wine mom culture. Such merchandise ranges from wine glasses to T-shirts with “wine mom” slogans on them.
Even modern television shows and movies such as “Mom” and “Bad Moms” are promoting wine mom culture. With all the different ways that American society promotes moms who drink, wine mom culture doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
The Problem With Wine Mom Culture
One problem that wine mom culture causes is a further increase in alcoholic mothers and American women in general. In fact, a study published in early 2020 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that the number of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. doubled between 1999 and 2007.
A 2017 journal in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry even found that more than 80% more women experienced problems drinking between 2002 and 2013 than in years prior. This study defines problem drinking as drinking that interferes with a person’s life or when a person cannot stop drinking. The massive increase in American women with drinking problems co-occurs with the development of wine mom culture. As a result, the connection between wine mom culture and drinking problems is undeniable.
The Connection Between Wine Mom Culture and Binge Drinking
While social drinking may seem harmless, social drinking and binge drinking often go hand and hand. This is because many people consume several drinks on end when socially drinking with others. This is especially true when society normalizes binge drinking tendencies through social movements such as the wine mom culture.
Wine mom culture tells mothers that they should consume wine whenever their children stress them out. Thus, many moms who drink might consume three to four glasses of wine or more a day while at home. Combine these glasses of wine with the social drinking that comes with “moms night out,” brunch, and daily mommy get-togethers, and wine mom culture can turn into alcoholism fast.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 in 10 women who binge drink develop alcohol dependency. Some experts even estimate that the ratio of women who develop alcohol dependency due to binge drinking is even higher due to many women not admitting to being dependent on alcohol.
Why Alcoholic Mothers Drink
Moms who drink that turn into alcoholics start drinking for a number of reasons. We’ve described some of these reasons below.
When a mother is stressed while raising children, she often needs some form of instant gratification to help her feel better. Drinking alcohol gives mothers this instant gratification.
Many moms drink alcohol to cope with stress. Wine mom culture even promotes the use of wine to cope with stress. This is unfortunate since using substances to cope with stress is often the catalyst that leads to addiction.
Lack of Time for Themselves
Because mothers often turn to alcohol to cope with stress, feeling overwhelmed often leads to drinking. Mothers often become overwhelmed when they are constantly taking care of the other members of their families and they don’t get any time for themselves. Thus, as a form of release, many mothers will have a glass of wine.
Other mothers will turn to wine drinking to create an illusion of socialization. Overwhelmed, alcoholic moms who do get to socialize with other mothers will often take advantage of wine mom culture and overdrink when out with others.
When moms who drink turn into alcoholics, they’ll take up any opportunity to socialize with others, whether overwhelmed or not. This is especially true if they know that they’re going out with other moms who binge drink and promote wine mom culture. In fact, many moms who drink will use socially binge drinking as a cover for their alcoholism.
When women become mothers, they must stop being spontaneous and selfish and start being stable, responsible, and selfless. As a result, many moms feel restricted in their motherhood and start to lose themselves.
To counteract feeling lost and restricted, many mothers will start to drink excessively. Drinking excessively while being a mother also helps moms rebel against the social pressures of being a perfect mother.
Many moms who drink to rebel against perfect motherhood choose to consume wine when drinking because wine is technically not liquor. Thus, wine is a more acceptable alcoholic substance to consume throughout the day.
According to the World Health Organization, 10% of women report having depression and 8% of women report having anxiety. These percentages don’t even include women who don’t admit to suffering from depression or anxiety.
The fact that depression and anxiety symptoms are often just seen as being a part of motherhood doesn’t help women want to admit to suffering from mental illness. As a result, mothers that suffer from mental illness will often drink wine to self-medicate.
Drinking wine to self-medicate a mental illness can deepen the emotional issues that caused a mother to develop mental illness. Drinking wine to self-medicate can also cause a mother that already suffers from mental illness to also develop alcoholism. Before you know it, countless mothers have co-occurring disorders.
Negative Physical Effects Drinking Has on Alcoholic Mothers
Alcoholic women are more likely to experience many of the negative health effects of alcohol than men. This is because the way that the female body is made causes women to get drunk faster, process alcohol quicker, and become dependent on alcohol quicker.
Thus, alcoholic moms can easily develop brain damage, liver damage, and heart disease. Alcoholic women are also more likely to develop hormonal problems, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Negative Psychological Effects Drinking Has on Alcoholic Mothers
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can change an alcoholic mother’s brain chemistry to the point in which that mother develops mental illnesses. Some common mental illnesses that excessive alcohol use can trigger include depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This is especially true if these mental illnesses genetically occur within your family.
Negative Effects That Wine Mom Culture Can Have on Children
The children of moms who drink end up suffering, too. This is because wine mom culture devalues these children by making it seem like they’re simply a burden, one that’s so heavy that mothers must drink to deal with it.
Children with one or more parents who abuse alcohol or other substances are also more likely to abuse substances themselves. Thus, mothers that want to influence their children in positive ways should not participate in wine mom culture.
The Public Health Crisis that Wine Mom Culture Has Helped Caused
As we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, alcohol-related addiction and death rates have increased tremendously since the 2000s. Many would argue that the large increase in American people with drinking problems in recent years is evidence of a public health crisis.
When it comes to women with drinking problems, rates of high-risk drinking among women in America were up 58% between 2001 and 2013. The fact that there has been a particularly large increase in American women with drinking problems in recent years is concerning, especially since men typically experience more problems with drinking than women.
The sudden increase in drinking problems in American women since the 2000s reflects the effect wine mom culture has had on American society. The reason why wine mom culture has had such a large effect on the public health of America is that it’s caused people to culturally perceive high-risk drinking behavior that often leads to alcoholism as being normal and even fun. Thus, wine mom culture makes it hard to detect whether a mother has a drinking problem or not until it’s often too late.
To help lower the rates of high-risk drinking, people with drinking problems, alcoholism, and alcohol-related death rates among women, America is going to have to stop promoting wine mom culture as a good thing.
How To Cope with Stress as a Mother Without Drinking
If you’re an overwhelmed mother who needs stress relief, there are other ways to get some without resorting to drinking. Some of these positive stress coping mechanisms include:
- Taking a bubble bath
- Creating art
- Listening to music
- Playing music
- Developing a hobby
- Practicing self-care
Addiction Treatment for Alcoholic Moms
If you’re an alcoholic mom looking to receive addiction treatment, you should first attend alcohol detox. Lucky for you, we here at Phoenix Rising offer inpatient and outpatient alcohol detox filled with medical professionals that will guide you through the detox process. After you complete detox, you need to receive alcohol addiction treatment and therapy.
Phoenix Rising Can Provide You With the Addiction Treatment That You Need
At Phoenix Rising, we strive to provide our clients with recovery options that revitalize their individual minds and bodies. You can receive the individualized, compassionate care that you need in a treatment program for it to suit your needs perfectly.
Here at Phoenix Rising, we also aim to help our clients gain the insight, tools, and skills that they need to thrive without the use of substances. We do this by treating the underlying conditions that cause addiction. Thus, whether you’ve developed an addiction due to wine mom culture or something else, we will address it.
To learn more about Phoenix Rising Recovery and our wide variety of detox, addiction treatment, and addiction therapy programs, contact us today. Our staff is more than willing to answer any questions that you may have.