Bon Appetit recently tweeted a link to an (admittedly, 2 year old) article about why you shouldn’t drink wine when you’re sad. I do agree with the message being presented, but I feel like this message needs to be taken one step further and targeted directly at the Wine Moms.

Now, I understand that this may have been Bon Appetit’s intention, but couldn’t directly call out Wine Moms because it’s difficult to do without making it sound like they’re shaming them for their behaviors.  I want to point out that I’m not trying to shame anyone either, but it’s hard to hold an intervention for someone when they don’t know that it’s their intervention.

For those of you unaware, the Wine Mom (or her wilder sister, the Vodka Aunt) is, in simplest terms, a middle-aged woman who turns to alcohol to cope with the stresses of suburbia.  And, sure, let’s face it, everyone does that to some extent. Suburbia is wack. But the Wine Mom puts up an uncanny, cheery, Stepford Wife facade in the form of live laugh love posters and poorly cobbled-together Facebook memes about how they can’t wait to down an entire bottle of wine that night.  

(Case in point about the poor meme quality- it’s hard to find ones in a normal resolution.)

Whether or not it’s their intention, these memes typically end up being made of equal parts alcoholism and resentment towards their kids.     

I don’t want to come off as saying motherhood isn’t hard (I wouldn’t know myself, but I can only imagine), but so many of these memes push the narrative of “my children drive me to drink,” that I can’t help but wonder if any of these women wanted to be mothers in the first place.  Did societal expectations drive them into a loveless marriage because they thought that was the only lifestyle available to them? Did nonexistent sex education, lack of access to contraceptives and anti-abortion laws unwillingly foist motherhood onto them? Did the shortcomings of their parents leave them without a good role model of what parenthood should look like? 

Is the economy where both parents have to work, combined with the fact that motherhood in itself is a full-time job, spreading them too thin? Is the stigma against reaching out for mental health services preventing them from finding healthier coping mechanisms? 

I can only assume that a major reason why Wine Mom Culture has become so widespread is because of solidarity.  If you know that half of the other moms at the PTA meeting are going through all the same things as you, it’s not so bad. It’s not one alcoholic suffering in silence, it’s a weekly bookclub where no one remembers what the book was.

The thing about addiction is that it doesn’t just hurt the addict, but those around them.  The children of wine moms are going to grow up thinking that they’re a nuisance- they’re the reason mom drinks, all they do is cause problems.  Only time will tell if this slew of mental health problems will continue the substance abuse cycle or if that generation will look at their mothers and say, “I’m not going to let it happen again.”

But Wine Moms of today, it’s not too late.  As cliche as it may sound, needing help isn’t a weakness, the real sign of strength is being able to admit that you need help.

National Help Hotline for Substance Abuse- 1-800-662-HELP

National Parent Helpline– 1-855-4A PARENT

2 thoughts on “The Wine Moms Must Be Stopped

  1. RJG says:

    I think what hasn’t helped is the narrative that wine is healthy i.e. Mediterranean diet has wine at every meal, etcetera etcetera. Resveratrol does come in capsules.

    Also what’s probably not helping is Facebook itself, and these other systems where the Wine Mom has propagated.

    1. Riley Johnson says:

      True, Facebook only makes it spread faster.
      Now that I think of it, the Wine Mom archetype has probably been around for generations, but was harder to codify without the presence of Facebook or memes.

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