Dear Mama, Wine Mom Culture Is Not What We Need Right Now

I’ll be honest, I hesitated to write this article or speak-up about the pervasiveness of wine mom culture. After all, I’m not a mom. I don’t know what it’s like to navigate the stress and uncertainty of motherhood, particularly in times like these where you face prolonged isolation at home with your kiddos. I know a lot of moms are “relying” on wine right now. Who am I to suggest otherwise? I understand that it’s stressful. I do (so please keep reading). And I understand your particular brand of kiddo might not be what you signed up for, yet you did sign up for it and certainly with the intention to love and grow a spectacular human being, right?

Photo by Anika Mikkelson on Unsplash

So, no, I don’t have kids, but I am a coach for women who want to change their relationship with alcohol and — surprisingly — a majority of my clients are mammas who want to ditch the self-soothing wine habit so that they can be better parents and partners. Furthermore, every single person I’ve worked with is recovering from childhood wounds that their parents unwittingly placed on them.

The purpose of this article is to offer you a new frame by which to view wine mom culture so that you, too, do not unwittingly and unnecessarily place troublesome imprints on the subconscious of your little one.

At the time I’m writing this article, we’re under the threat of weeks-long social distancing where I know many of you are facing a lot of uninterrupted time alone with your family (and many in climates where getting outside is not an option). I know cabin fever can get the best of any of us. I also know that the “mommy needs wine” culture is more pervasive than ever right now. Moms are being fed the story that hoarding wine is just as necessary as hoarding toilet paper when faced with the threat of being isolated with your family. Does anyone else see a problem here? I fail to see why the need to be drunk to tolerate your family is cute. Rather, I see how this can be extremely damaging.

I want you to know that I’m not writing this to shame you or make past actions wrong. For those of us who have used alcohol as a tool, I believe it was there to serve its purpose in our lives. However, I also believe that if you are attracted to reading articles like this about changing your relationship with alcohol, your inner-guide is calling you to consider a different path moving forward. You are not here to feel shame, but rather, inspiration.

As a reminder, kiddos absorb a lot from their attachment figures. Whether it’s something you literally say (“mommy needs wine”) or something you do (always having a glass of wine when things get stressful), your words and actions do not go unnoticed by the subconscious mind of your kids.

So, let me ask, in these trying times, what message does your turning to wine subconsciously send to your kiddos? As someone who works with clients to unravel these exact ancient subconscious stories, I can tell you…let me share.

On the low-level, children develop stories about the utility of alcohol and store that message for when they have to deal with similar situations later in life. For example:

On a more dangerous level, the message you send that you require wine in order to “do” motherhood is much more destructive to a child’s sense of self-worth. Consider these messages:

  • Mom doesn’t love me enough to be fully present with me.
  • I am so intolerable that mom can’t bear to spend time with me.
  • I’m so awful that mom needs wine to survive motherhood.

While decorated wine glasses and internet memes try to justify and make this behavior cute, let me assure you…it is not and it does not go unnoticed by your child. While making such negative subconscious imprints is unintentional, I’m sure none of the above messages are what you want to send to your children.

So, why is handling the stress of motherhood so hard? Simply, most of us were not taught to cope with stress or handle our own emotions. We were handed down sub-standard operating systems (unintentionally) from our own parents. We were not taught to process our own emotions. More likely, our parents tried to bear the burden of our pain and upset, tried to distract us with food or laughter, or taught us to brush off tough emotions and get back up quickly. None of these methods actually give us a frame to process our emotions.

I find that very few of us were taught to sit with, feel, name, discuss, and process emotions. So, as we entered adolescence, instead of taking on the opportunity to learn these skills on our own, we are handed a magic elixir that seems to help us forget about or dilute any uncomfortable emotions. Thus, most of us have never taken much time to sit with the discomfort of tough emotions. Rather, we’ve spent a decade or more under the dull haze of alcohol-induced numbness…avoiding our past…avoiding our present. The weight of it all is massive and unnecessary. Yet, most of us continue to bear it.

Thus, when given the assignment to actually feel into emotions as an adult, the task feels daunting and overwhelming. We feel lost and uncomfortable. For many, taking a break from alcohol can be a rude awakening into the reality that most of us have a lifetime of unprocessed emotions that we’ve never been properly taught to feel.

But, my sweet mama friend, here is your opportunity. Wouldn’t you strive to leave your kiddos with better tools and experiences and examples than you had? Wouldn’t it be your greatest life achievement if you could now do the hard work of learning to properly cope with stress and deal with hard emotions so that you could be a positive example for your little ones? Wouldn’t it be such a gift for your babe to have an example of a mom who is fully present and modeled how to process stress, anger, and sadness rather than literally bottling it up?

Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking I’m an idealist. Yet, the mothers I work with reflect this struggle and desire to me time and time again. I know that on the other side of the wine mom culture that you’ve been buying into, there is the desire to be an even better and more present mom for your kids. I know it because I’ve heard it and I’ve watched it. I want it for you because you deserve it and so do your kiddos.

You may still be shaking your head and thinking surviving motherhood without wine is easier said than done. That’s true. I know there are tremendous social pressures with wine-soaked mommy play dates and an onslaught of alcohol-forward parent activities. I know that your marriage, too, might be steeped in the traditions of drinking. I know. Yet, still, I hold the vision of your success. I hold the vision of your strength and resilience and metamorphosis. I know that there is actually no determination greater than that of a mamma bear and I know if you’ve happened upon that article and have kept reading that you have that inside of you somewhere.

You deserve a version of motherhood where you are given the tools to cope with your own emotional past, present, and future. You deserve an opportunity to show up fully and consciously for this experience of motherhood…and life in general. Your littles deserve the very best version of their mother…and — let me be honest — diluting yourself with wine is not it. I believe that the version of life is available to you and it is my mission to help you have it. I have a slew of options when it comes to getting there and invite you to peruse my other articles on giving up alcohol in a world obsessed with booze or take 30-minutes out of your day to check in with me on a call if you’re ready to discuss what if might look like to change your relationship with alcohol. I’ve got you, mama.

Originally published at on March 17, 2020.

Seeker. Writer. Elective Sobriety. A 30-something sharing my journey of personal development, spiritual growth, & authenticity. IG: @authenticallyamanda.

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