Actress Busy Phillips doesn’t need to be under the influence to become less inhibited, as revealed by her very candid statement regarding the pervasive ideology that contending with motherhood, requires alcohol.
“This may be controversial, but I’m just going to say it: I’m so f—ing over the culture of mommy wine and glasses that say ‘Mommy juice,’ ” she shared. Although the iconic actress may prefer to be sober while on park duty - other moms have latched onto the obsessive trend indicative of moms looking for a much-needed release.
The flamboyant wine culture may be thought of as temporary mania, but on the contrary, alcoholism and women have fluently spawned into absolute normalcy. Rather than addressing the pressures and dizzying exigencies of motherhood, women have turned to Pinot Grigio to pacify or self-sooth and they are hooked.
Social media and marketers have capitalized on what may have started out as a humorous take on moms dealing with exhaustion, stress and quite often, loneliness. Minimizing the potential dangers of drinking to excess. Memes and phraseology attached to hashtags have accroached pop culture without giving thought to where permissive narratives may lead. Although a nightly glass of wine is not consequently detrimental, for many it’s less than substantial and in which case - it’s no laughing matter.
For mothers struggling with alcohol addiction, the impact of turning to alcohol as an emotional escape can be devastating. Alcoholism is the 4th leading preventable cause of death, with around 26,000 women dying from alcohol-related causes each year, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The desire for moms to experience a mind-numbing effect prioritizes alcohol as both a reward and an escape. Dr. Leena Mittal, a perinatal psychiatrist and addiction specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, explains there is a long history of chemical management of women’s distress. Tranquilizers widely prescribed to mothers in the 1950s and ’60s were known as Mother’s Little Helper. Further adding, “This sends women the message that their emotions need to be squelched and not addressed.”
Molly Davis, life coach and author of BLUSH: Women and Wine, experienced “wine mom” before it became normalized. “When I was raising my daughters, almost every mom I knew drank wine almost every night,” she said. “Wine has become a very classy-looking coping mechanism for women to deal with stress, dull pain, and avoid uncomfortable issues, emotions, conversations, and relationships that are calling for our clear-headed attention.”
Davis admits that her own evening wine habit affected her relationship with her children. “My own daughters knew me with a glass of wine in my hand in the evening, and the smell of it on my breath when I read to them,” she told Brit + Co. “And while I didn’t drink my way through a bottle of wine at night, I do know that there were times that I wasn’t as present as I could have been for my daughters.” Actress Phillips, not opposed to the occasional cocktail affirms that taking care of kids and alcohol do not need to be tied together - clearly, admitting she is the best mom when she is sober.
On the contrary, society has been exploiting the intoxicating message in which the premise of parenting clear headed is outrageous and seemingly, freakish. It has become a lifestyle choice carrying a social stigma wherein a sober mother is fundamentally out of step.
The reality is, notorious movies like Bad Moms, blogs like Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay, Mommy Wants Vodka, along with fiction promoting the wine culture Why Mummy Drinks does not seem to be slowing down the boozing pace any time soon - despite the risks of habitual and excessive drinking on the mind and body.
It’s time to change our perceptions about motherhood being a burden and wine being an anecdotal remedy - by finding our truth and facing it lucidly. The pressures of motherhood today are both daunting and blatant. It’s time we sober up and focus on healthier ways to let loose, this time, in blissful moderation.