Is Mommy Wine Culture a Bad Thing? 

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We’ve all seen the memes, the coffee mugs, the t-shirts. One popular version1: “Wine is to moms what duct tape is to dads. It fixes everything.” Another observes, “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink.” Of course, we all get a chuckle.

But the problem with “mommy wine culture” is that sometimes drinking lots of wine does become an everyday affair, with inevitable health risks, both physical and mental. As Colleen Dilthy Thomas writes2 about those mugs and t-shirts, “They are kitschy and cute, but they also perpetuate a stereotype that alcohol is part of a mom’s identity. This wine culture subtly tells a mom that if she grabs a drink, the end of her troubles is just a sip away. But really, that in and of itself could be creating a much bigger and more dangerous problem.”

mommy wine culture
Photo by Kelsey Knight on unsplash

How Did Mommy Wine Culture Evolve?

No one disputes that motherhood can be difficult, especially for those who work demanding full-time jobs. Add in dealing with kids and often maintaining a household, and the mix can dial up the anxiety pretty quickly. Stressed-out mothers began drinking with their friends to commiserate, to release tension, to share common problems with other moms—and what better way to do that than to meet at friends’ houses, or at a cozy nearby restaurant for some wine? 

COVID, of course, has only heightened the feeling that “wine mom culture” is necessary, even deserved. But the pandemic has also created a perfect storm3, with people working at home finding its all too easy to have a glass or wine—or three—any time of day.

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Normalizing the Expectation to Drink

Again, there’s nothing wrong with having an occasional glass of wine with friends. But problems can dampen those spirits when drinking becomes normalized—when it becomes expected to drink. Many advertisers and other thought leaders would have you believe that moms are under so much stress that drinking lots of wine is an everyday affair. 

As Thomas notes, the CDC considers eight drinks a week4 “heavy drinking” for women. For someone who has one or two glasses of wine a day, well, you do the math. And it’s easy for someone to start with one glass, and then that means another, and then “just one more,” and before long that means the entire bottle is gone.  

(And yes, life isn’t fair: men can drink more than women, since their bodies metabolize alcohol in a different way.) 

The health risks are many. Too much alcohol puts stress on the liver and the heart. High blood pressure, risk of strokes, many types of cancer—all of these can result from too much alcohol. Excess alcohol can result in accidents and falls, and blunted decision-making, such as risky sexual behavior, or driving while intoxicated.

Photo by Kevin Kelly on unsplash

And the mental and emotional toll can add up, too: depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and isolation are but a few of the issues. Alcohol (whether wine or something else) only exacerbates these problems. 

Mommy Wine Culture Doesn’t Have to Be the Norm

Who doesn’t admire strong women? We all want them to be good moms (if they choose) and to be successful at jobs they like. But if the deluge is causing you or someone you love to become a little too much of a “wine mom,” maybe it’s time to think about something different—a different way of dealing with all the stress. 

That’s where programs like Ria Health come in. With Ria’s telehealth-based method, people can still be moms, can still work, and still manage to have a fun, balanced life—all without leaving their homes. The old days of being away for months of rehab are gone, and in their place comes a new philosophy of alcohol treatment, that meets people where they are. Let us help you replace “mommy wine culture” with something different! 


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Written By:
Bruce Hodges
In a career that includes writing, editing, communication and fundraising consulting, Bruce Hodges has created and edited text for online and print publications, including proposals, press releases, and podium remarks. Among many other interests, he explores poetry and essays, and writes articles for The Strad magazine (London) and WRTI public radio (Philadelphia). “As a lifelong advocate for innovative causes, I think of friends no longer with us who struggled with alcohol. If they had access to the revolutionary science behind Ria Health, some of them might be alive today.”
Reviewed By:
Evan O'Donnell
Evan O’Donnell is an NYC-based content strategist with four years’ experience writing and editing in the recovery space. He has conducted research in sound, cognition, and community building, has a background in independent music marketing, and continues to work as a composer. Evan is a deep believer in fact-based, empathic communication—within business, arts, academia, or any space where words drive action or change lives.

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