Being a mother is a thankless, stressful job. Children can demand your attention and energy 24/7, and you never get to take a day off. Unfortunately, some women are using alcohol as an escape from the worries of motherhood – and society is tacitly encouraging them to do so. What is mommy drinking culture, and why is it so risky?
The Emergence of Mommy Drinking Culture
The pressure of caring for children has led to many mothers giving themselves permission to drink more, and marketers have responded by making purses with hidden wine spouts in them and trendy-looking glassware emblazoned with phrases like, “While the kids whine, I wine.” The phenomenon of moms seeking an outlet for stress is hardly a new one – in the 1950s and ‘60s, the popularity of tranquilizers among women earned these drugs the nickname of “Mother’s Little Helper.”
Substituting drugs or alcohol for healthful self-care habits can lead to trouble down the road. While having one or two glasses of wine with dinner doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an alcoholic, regular drinking will compromise your health in ways non-drinkers are less likely to experience. For example, women who drink heavily are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, liver disease, osteoporosis and early-onset Alzheimer’s, among others.
The Impact of Alcohol on Your Children
You may assume your mommy drinking habits are not harmful to anyone else, but abusing alcohol around your growing children sets a dangerous example for them. Rather than modeling healthy coping mechanisms, you’re showing them that you think alcohol is a solution to problems, rather than a cause of them. And, if you own merchandise that says things like, “Kids are why Mommy drinks,” you’re sending them a message that they’re responsible for your self-destructive behavior, which can be incredibly damaging for a developing psyche.
Children who grow up in an environment with parents who drink are more likely to develop problems that can carry over into their adult lives, including trust issues, low self-esteem and an inability to accurately judge what is “normal.”
What Can You Do Instead of Drinking?
Women who are experiencing significant stress from the pressures of motherhood can and should have an outlet for relieving that tension in their lives – but heavy drinking isn’t the answer. Here are ideas for healthy stress-relieving activities you can do instead of refilling your wine glass.
- Exercise: Any physical activity will benefit your mental health. Try inviting your kids to work out with you and show them how much fun fitness can be.
- Volunteer: Helping improve your community will give you a surge of good feelings and is a win-win for everyone involved.
- Take a class: If there’s a topic you’ve always wished you knew more about, see if you can find a free or low-cost online course about it.
Where to Turn If You Have a Drinking Problem
As you will eventually realize, drinking can harm every aspect of your life, especially your relationship with your children. Seeking sobriety may not be easy, but it’s a goal you can achieve with the right help. At Canyon Crossing, our women’s-only recovery program will allow you to recover in a supportive, sober environment that helps you set new goals and learn about the joys of living an alcohol-free life. Contact us today to learn more.