Betty Special Series
Moms Who Drink: It’s “Mommy Medicine”
Coping in a glass
-Julie Ryan Evans
I 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: