You know what's fun? A trip to the park. You know what's more fun? A trip to the park on wine. Sure, I'm stealing this joke from the cult-classic film Half-Baked, which every legit pothead (or former pothead) can quote verbatim. Replace stoner dudes and reefer madness with giddy moms and vino, and you've got the makings for moms and wine culture, currently sweeping the nation.
There are, however, some reasons I can't get behind the "Moms & Wine Culture," and I'm here to argue that they don't make me a buzzkill. Those "I need wine to parent" memes might be funny, but they are offensive to people who have struggled or are currently struggling with sobriety. For us, being drunk or sober is not a laughing matter, and we know only too well that drinking is not a light-hearted, fun, consequence-free way of life for all of us.
And as I ready myself for motherhood, I'm just as scared as all of you wine-drinking moms, but don't have the luxury of having a glass of white Burgundy to take the edge off. Look, I get the message that behind the "Moms and Wine Culture" is the idea that moms are people, not just parents, and people come with all kinds of desires, wants, urges, and needs that might not be outwardly attractive. Further, all of those urges might not fit the social mold for what a mom ought to be, or some sexist, patriarchal idea of how to be a mom.
I'm all for being a feminist mom, but I don't need a fine vintage to put my fist in the air and parent with the aim of dismantling the patriarchy. Because life is oh so ironic, my drink of choice (DOC) was wine (I used to live for the aforementioned white Burgundy). I love the way wine tastes, how you can pair it with different cuisine, how you drink it slowly as the alcohol washes over you with a loving caress. Wine, or the sweet grape of Dionysus as I used to call it, is filled with history and reverence, and appears to be a sophisticated DOC. But that doesn't negate the fact that wine is still alcohol. So, as a former drinker and future parent, these are some reasons I can't get behind the "Moms and Wine Culture."
Wine Can Get You Really Drunk
Like really, really drunk. It can take a while for the booze to hit when you drink wine, so you might imbibe without registering how much you're consuming. Wine is anywhere from 12 to 17 percent alcohol, which is more than beer but less than a glass of spirits (without a mixer) according to the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Also, because you usually drink wine without a mixer or even ice to dilute the alcohol, you're drinking straight booze.
So, although wine might seem like it's a "classy" drink, you might not be a "classy" drunk when you consume too much of it.
There's Nothing Funny About Drunk Parenting
Dr. Howard Samuels, an alcohol and drug addiction specialist told The Huffington Post that he's concerned about the prevalence of marketing wine to new moms.
"Young mothers are already under so much pressure and stress concerned with having a baby. They are isolated, hormonal and sleep-deprived since they have to wake up every three to four hours to nurse ... And we want to teach them and their children that the way to relax is through alcohol?"
Samuels raises a good point here, namely because drugs and alcohol can turn into a dangerous way to cope with the challenges of parenting. None of this is funny, yet the moms who love wine memes hinge on this very idea; that, without it, they wouldn't be able to parent at all.
Wine Is A Drug, Not A Fine Cuisine
Although we bring wine to parties, to work, and to every girls night since ever, it's important to remember that wine is still a drug, albeit a socially and legally acceptable one.
Wine Can Make You Sleepy
Dr. Marcello Iriti and registered dietitian nutritionist Vandana Sheth, told New Beauty that red wine contains melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone's parenting methods, but dozing off during mom duty is bound to happen because, well, #MomLife, so adding wine seems like a potential to spell disaster. I would hate it if I passed out and my child was awake, wondering what was going on with mommy.
Wine Can Turn Into A Crutch For Unwinding, And That's Not Healthy
For me, wine to unwind isn't an option. Before I know it, one glass can turn into the whole bottle, no matter how badly I don't want that to happen. So, abstinence is my best practice. However, many moms might not know they have a problem hitting the so-called "mommy juice," especially when big companies capitalize on the fact that being a mom is hard work, and new moms need an easy-to-access respite.
I will note, however, that the company Mommy Juice Wines is no longer selling wine under the Mommy Juice brand, according to the company's website. I can't speculate on why this is, but I'm behind this decision either way.
Wine Makes It Easier To Hide A Drinking Problem
A lot of the "Moms and Wine Culture" is predicated on the fact that moms need something that's theirs alone, and that they don't have to share with their kids. As someone who used to hide my drinking, this hits a little to close to home, and by"home" I mean "my problem."
I'm all for "just-me time," but if you find yourself drinking alone quite a bit, that could be a sign that you are abusing alcohol. If you find yourself keeping your solo drinking time a secret, that could be cause for alarm, or at least for you to rethink your drinking habit. At least those were two symptoms of my drinking habit, which made me a functional alcoholic.
A Lot Of Moms And Wine Culture Socializing Is Done Over The Internet
Popular Facebook groups abound centering around the following: motherhood and a passion for vino. What can be problematic about Facebook groups, is that they forge a bond that's based on so-called caring from afar. In other words, you're not basing friendships on IRL interactions with people. From my experience as a drinker, I would keep drinking when I had a drinking buddy. What scares me about these groups is that they give moms the validation to keep drinking, without the IRL buddy system that allows friends to physically look after one-another.
Whenever You Start To Need Wine, You're Putting Yourself At Risk For Being Dependent
Dependency is a habit that can creep up on you without you realizing it. Or, maybe you do realize it, but find some reason to legitimize your habit like: red wine decreases heart disease, a claim that gets a lot of air time, but has yet to be scientifically proven. How do you know when you've crossed the line to being dependent on wine, or just enjoy its taste and powers of relaxation after a long day? The truth is, I can't answer that question for you. That's something you're going to have to figure out on your own.
If you're a mom who drinks wine, I hope for your sake that you're drinking for the right reasons, and by that I mean in a healthy way that doesn't make you dependent on alcohol. I say this because I've been there, and not from some high horse and with the intention to judge. Motherhood has a way of making you look at things differently and, well, now that I'm preparing for motherhood the "I just have to have a glass of wine to get through the day," isn't something I'll be taking part of.