I was at the hair salon the other day when the woman sitting next to me joked with her stylist about needing a glass of wine. Her kids were driving her crazy and she needed to relax. My single, childless stylist overheard and asked me, “Is it really that bad? Why are mom always drinking?”
If there’s anyone who understand the stress of being a mom, it’s me! I have two children only a year and a half apart. I stay home with them and they have one volume: loud. I’m an introvert and my idea of a good time is curling up with a book on the couch. I absolutely understand the need to get away from it all. Though I’m not much of a drinker and have never acquired a taste for wine, so I don’t use it to unwind. Usually a cup of tea does the trick. It has entered my mind that maybe I should try indulging in “wine o’clock” with the many moms across the country who swear by it. Maybe I would be less stressed.
But here’s the other thing. While being a mom is stressful, I find it troubling that so many moms find that they need to escape their mom life by drinking everyday. Isn’t that what an alcoholic does? And if your life is that stressful, maybe some other changes need to be made.
I’m not here to judge. I have dealt with postpartum stress and anxiety. I have lost it on my kids. I have yelled at my husband. There was even that one time when my husband came home from work and I grabbed the keys from his hand and ran out the door, leaving him behind with two screaming children. This probably would have been a good time for a glass of wine, but I opted for parking on the side of the road and calling my friend instead. I sobbed about how awful everything was and how I couldn’t handle it anymore.
Maybe that what was the difference. Instead of turning towards wine I turned towards a friend, someone to support me and truly help me in my time of need. She talked me down from the ledge. She lamented with me. She encouraged me. A glass of wine can’t do that.
I worry that a generation of women are taking shortcuts in dealing with their emotional and mental health. Instead of going to counseling or leaning on their village, they’re poppin’ bottles. They’re trying to forget their problems instead of dealing with them.
Again, I’m not judging these moms. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having some wine to unwind from the day. I see no harm in getting together with your girlfriends to drink and let loose. But if that’s your daily habit and you look forward to it and you talk about it and you think about it all the time, perhaps that’s evidence of a bigger problem. If your idea of dealing with your life is to drink everyday, I’m not sure how healthy that is.
And what exactly are moms so stressed about, anyway? Were our moms this anxious? What about our grandmas? Were they secretly indulging in wine once their children were all tucked into bed? I’m not sure, but it seems to me that my generation of mothers is way more tense than the generations before. We have turned motherhood into something devoid of joy. We complain about how hard it is all the time instead of remembering what a privilege it is to raise tiny humans. Yes, it is hard, but we can do hard things, and we can do them joyfully.
Maybe moms need to put down the wine glass and reevaluate their life. I’m not saying all moms should quit drinking, I’m just saying we should be careful with our daily habits and think about our reasons for doing what we do.