It's Mommy Medicine

It's mommy medicine, and the moms I know are taking their doses whenever they can.

Betty Special Series

Moms Who Drink: It’s “Mommy Medicine”

Coping in a glass

-Julie Ryan Evans

a stressed out motherI laughed when I saw a friend join the Facebook group OMG I so need a glass of wine or I’m gonna sell my kids,” and I kept chuckling as most every friend of mine who has children followed suit and joined the same group, which boasts nearly 70,000 members.

And while the group is largely in jest, I know plenty of moms (present virtual company included) for whom it’s not really that terribly far from their true sentiments each day. Motherhood is wonderful, sure, and we all love our kids so much it hurts and could brag about and kiss them for hours, but it’s also HARD – the tantrums of toddlers and teens, the whining, the spilled milk, vomit in the crevices of your car, potty accidents in the middle of the grocery store and let’s face it, some flat out boredom from playing Hi Ho Cherry-O an f-ing zillion times.

Mothers need a little escape, and oftentimes it comes in the form of a bottle – one that doesn’t contain breastmilk OR formula, but wine. It’s mommy medicine, and the moms I know are taking their doses whenever they can.

Corks are plucked and glasses clinked while children run around the yard at happy hour playdates. A 2-year-old’s birthday party offers adults martinis. Take your kid to boogie at Baby Loves Disco, and moms can belly up to the bar for libations.

From my parenting perch, I see it all the time. If I go to a playdate anytime after say 2 p.m., there’s usually wine … at least offered. Spontaneous bottles are brought out as I sit with my neighbors and watch our children play. I actually had to think twice the other day as to if Babies R Us might stock wine – hey Target does, why not?

It’s not a drunken debacle. Most of us stop at one or two glasses – just sipping and slipping into just a little bit more blissful place, where the edges aren’t quite so sharp and the whining isn’t quite so loud.

Kristin DiChiappari of Boston attends a weekly playdate for moms, that she says “just happens to include our children too.” They meet on Mondays and use it as a way to start off the week right, to give each other moral and emotional support, advice and company. They take turns hosting, the kids have a blast together, and they share dinner, complete with cocktails – “just enough to relax, release and restore,” she says.

“I think that moms (women) are multi-taskers and that we take on so much responsibility: kids, households, jobs, volunteering, etc.,” DiChiappari continued. “Sometimes we truly need ‘me time.’ A glass of wine cannot (or should not) be chugged on the go, and requires a moment to relax, reflect and breathe. And that is exactly why I have mine!”

A friend told me about a birthday party at which wine was served to the mothers in attendance but not to the nannies who brought the children (it was NY, there are always nannies in attendance). The reason given was that the nannies were “on duty.” But as mothers aren’t we ALWAYS on duty?

And isn’t that part of the problem?  Mothers rarely get a break, so a brief escape, a magic little sip to take the edge off is so tempting, so lovely, especially when all the other mothers are doing it. And of course then there are the studies that proclaim all the health benefits of wine (at least one for every one that says it will harm us), so that bolters the justification even more.

Of course, there will always be those who question such an indulgence. Some experts say that drinking to alleviate stress can be problematic. Hello, if mothers didn’t drink when we were stressed, we’d never have a sip – EVER.

Others will say you shouldn’t ever drink while you’re caring for children. I certainly don’t abide by that rule, but it has crossed my mind on occasion as a second glass of wine cross my lips – what if my son fell down and needed stitches, would I be as alert as I should be to drive him to the hospital? But always worrying about all of the what ifs and worst case scenarios are part of what makes motherhood so stressful and makes me reach for my medicine in the first place.

I don’t have the answers, just an affinity for bold, oaky chardonnays and the occasional Shiraz.

Are you a mommy who unwinds with wine? Tell us about when and why you take your “medicine” — send your stories to Julie@BettyConfidential.com.

Read more in our special series: Moms Who Drink:

Interview with the founder of “OMG I so need a glass of wine or I’m gonna sell my kids”

Why one woman doesn’t think mothers should drink

When drinking becomes a problem

Interview with Dr. Toni Galardi on why moms drink and when it becomes a problem


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0 thoughts on “It's Mommy Medicine

  1. iaretehsarah says:

    there isn’t anything wrong with having a glass or two once and a while. But any more than that, and I always wonder. I grew up with alcoholic parents (my mother actually dropped my older sister (at age 2)into a lake she was so drunk). For two years I watched my father’s girlfriend get completely wasted every day and scream at her kids (My boyfriend once had to pin her to the ground because she was going to drunkingly attack me when I was watching her niece for her sister). But as long as the mother (or father) is attentive, and sticks to just one or two, then goes about their day — what’s the harm in it?

  2. kitty says:

    I agree — I don’t see any harm in a glass or two of wine. If it’s done in moderation then what’s the problem? We need to unwind and relax — and — dare I say it — have some FUN once in a while too!

  3. MayaRaye says:

    Okay. Weed is so much less toxic than alchahol, does less harm your body and mind; yet imagine if a Mother smoked a joint whilst her kid played? Imagine if she had a smoke and let the cancerous second hand smoke get into other peoples kids? Imagine the uproar then! You can’t whine with the, “Oh, it’s just one, we’re under so much stress.” Well, as a Mother, I believe we sign up for that stress. I wouldn’t want the small children I look after to grow up watching me on the bottle every playdate. I’d rather have my kids grow up smoking weed than binge drinking. Frankly, I think it’s awful.

  4. Fern says:

    I think a little wine isn’t just okay, it’s IMPERATIVE!

  5. PoppyBuxom says:

    This has got to be an American problem. Somehow I suspect that in France, Italy, and Spain, people don’t wonder whether it’s OK to drink wine when there are kids around.

  6. littlelady says:

    I have mom friends who split a bottle with their husbands every night as soon as the kids go down. I think it helps them relax and destress. People shouldn’t look down their noses at it…who says once you become a parent you’re not allowed to drink wine. As long as you’re not drunk there isn’t any harm donw…and if you think most kids even care mayarae, they don’t. Having one or two glasses a day isn’t going to imprint on your kids and turn them into alcoholics.

  7. carobabbo says:

    This is a very American..and very parochial point of view. Since the 21 drinking age Americans have become very puritanical. Alcoholics are obvious; drinking for health … yes Americans drinking for your health can be a positive thing. If drinking makes you hostile, belligerent or embarrassed the next day, do not do it. If however, you can imagine yourself in the hot tub in Key West, I would gently .. go for it. Your kids will appreciate being permitted; and you will fell better for being open to pleasure.

  8. sneakachu says:

    “Others will say you shouldn’t ever drink while you’re caring for children. I certainly don’t abide by that rule, but it has crossed my mind on occasion as a second glass of wine cross my lips – what if my son fell down and needed stitches, would I be as alert as I should be to drive him to the hospital? But always worrying about all of the what ifs and worst case scenarios are part of what makes motherhood so stressful and makes me reach for my medicine in the first place.”
    Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

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