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Binge Drinking and Motherhood

April 27th, 2022


Being a mom is hard work. It is utterly exhausting, challenging, and demanding in every way. There is no easy way to be a mom because no matter what, moms often feel like they are somehow failing their children.

We question everything; are they eating enough? Are we giving them too much screen time? Are they developing correctly and on track?

We compare ourselves to other moms- the Pinterest moms, the sports moms, the moms who seem to have it all together. There are only 24 hours in a day, eight of which have to account for sleep in an ideal world.

For moms, though, this may not be possible. The other hours consist of tending to tiny humans that depend on us for everything. When and how do we have time to relax and unwind?

Moms Drinking Wine Trend

Moms Drinking Wine Trend

The “Moms Drinking Wine Trend” is a trend focused on the wine culture amongst moms, specifically how moms use wine to decompress after a long day of tending to their children.

Stay-at-home moms are busy caring for their young while keeping a clean and smooth-running home. Most days, motherhood looks like cooking, cleaning, teaching, running errands, and completing a mile-long list of other tasks. There are no sick days, vacations, or PTO of any kind. Because of this, moms often look for another escape.

For some moms, this is where wine culture comes in. Wine, sometimes referred to as “mommy juice”, is joked about for calming the nerves and bringing moms to their happy place.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a new culture around mommy juice and stay-at-home moms' consumption of wine as a coping mechanism. This culture does not discourage drinking as an outlet but instead encourages moms to lean on their “mommy juice” when times feel tough. Moms consider it the only way to regain some form of sanity on challenging days.

Alcohol Abuse Increasing in Women During COVID-19

Alcohol Abuse Increasing in Women During COVID-19

When you are a stay-at-home mom, every day is hard, and every day can feel lonely. It is easy to slip into a routine of drinking to help ease the feelings of isolation and worthlessness. Being a mom who stays at home amid a pandemic will increase isolation and drinking behaviors.

A survey taken in May 2020 shows that from February 2020 to April 2020, participants reported drinking more drinks per day in April and many reported drinking more than recommended; some also reported binge drinking. The study also shows that exceeding drinking limits was more prominent in women than men (Barbosa, C. et al., 2020).

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as "a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent—or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter—or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern of alcohol misuse corresponds to consuming four or more drinks (female), or five or more drinks (male) in about 2 hours."

Moms who stayed home with little ones were forced to stay inside their homes with no option of going outside. This at times led to behaviors that made Moms more likely to engage in binge drinking behaviors. The culture of moms drinking wine and encouraging binge drinking does not help.

COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order only made these behaviors increase. Moms who could previously go out without their kids once in a while had that option stripped from them. Every outing and meeting became virtual, making it even easier for moms to consume more alcohol. A new virtual world also brought added stress; learning to use new apps such as Zoom and Google Meets to see people, Shipt and Instacart for groceries, and many other platforms for different purposes.

It was up to them to learn and navigate these new apps for many stay-at-home moms. Performing essential duties while adding stresses of new worries and learning curves is sure to increase alcohol use in women, especially moms.

Mommy Wine Culture & COVID-19

Mommy Wine Culture & COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mommy wine culture significantly increased. Alcohol consumption that was previously consumed at night after the kids went to sleep slowly increased to consumption during the day while they were up. With stay-at-home orders and being home with kids, many women drank more just to make it through the day.

Moms could no longer take their kids to the park, stores, or play dates to pass the time and let them run off energy. Another shift in the pandemic was that school-age kids were now learning remotely, leaving moms to fill another role they often felt ill-prepared to take on.

Many moms now had to work, cook, clean, entertain, care for little ones, and teach school-age children. Being natural caretakers, moms take on a lot of stress and experience a higher impact than men.

Women, especially moms, have more substantial anxiety than men due to their expectations to handle everything. Women also tend to be more sensitive to others' needs but often neglect their own. Sensitivity to others' needs is both a blessing and a curse because, on the one hand, you know and can meet the needs of those around you. Still, on the other hand, it heightens feelings of anxiety and depression from worrying about everyone else.

Alcohol consumption in moms became increasingly utilized during the pandemic to cope with such overwhelming feelings. Many moms would put wine in a tumbler which brought jokes around the terms such as "Mommy’s sippy cup" and “Mommy juice.” This made it easier for moms to drink all day while still fulfilling their duties and maintaining sanity and control.

While the pandemic exacerbated these symptoms, it is important to recognize that at the root of this culture are mothers already struggling with their mental health. Alcohol dependency in any form is concerning and recognizing it now, as the world opens up from COVID, can be the first step for many of these women to seek help and reach for recovery instead of another glass. Moms take care of everyone else; they must get taken care of, too.

Written By: Emily Shelton, LCPC, CADC, CRSS

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At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.

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