The Problem with Mommy Wine Culture, and it’s Not the Wine
By Celeste Yvonne "With the rise of women returning to work postpartum, mothers in the 21st century have faced an unprecedented time in traditional partnerships where the mother works full time yet remains largely responsible for the household duties, the invisible work, and emotional labor that play integral roles in keeping a household running smoothly."
For a mother, mental health is extremely important, not just because sleep deprivation and stressors of new motherhood make this time uniquely challenging, but also because new moms are potentially prone to postpartum depression or anxiety. At a time when all eyes shift to the newborn, a mother’s mental and emotional needs can sometimes feel swept under the rug both by loved ones and the doctors doing postpartum physical check-ups.
When you also consider the pink-washing of the alcohol industry over the last few decades, advertising, labeling, and even new lines of products (hard seltzers and ‘skinny’ malt beverages) marketed directly to women, it’s no wonder alcohol use in women has skyrocketed, with a 2021 study showing a 70% increase in alcohol-related visits to the emergency room for women.
More and more women are using alcohol to cope with the unprecedented stressors of motherhood. In a period when mothers are encouraged to ‘lean in’ to the highly competitive nature of corporate roles while trying to make home life look effortless, using alcohol to cope with stress is an obvious crutch. Yet unlike healthier coping mechanisms, such as exercise or time in nature, alcohol is an addictive substance linked to six types of cancer and causes more than 140,000 deaths a year in the US alone.
Suddenly those ‘mommy needs wine’ jokes don’t feel quite so innocent. The problem with mommy wine culture isn’t about the wine itself, it’s about why mothers are turning to alcohol in the first place and the solution is finding better ways to support mothers through these weary, wonderful years.
Support includes having tough conversations in our partnerships about moving towards more equal distributions of household responsibilities. It means better support at work, with companies offering paid maternity and paternity leave options two months or longer, or voting for policymakers who will make legislative changes at the state or federal level. Finally, it means building a community where mothers feel safe and supported, where they can find mental health resources and receive regular screenings for postpartum depression and anxiety. In a community that values mothers and their time, health and work, mothers may still enjoy a glass of wine… but they won’t “need” it.
Sober mom advocate Celeste Yvonne is a writer and certified recovery coach (IAPRC) with over 20 years of experience as a communications professional in corporate America. Her essays on parenting, the mental load of motherhood, mommy wine culture, and sobriety resonates with mothers everywhere and has been featured in the Washington Post, Good Morning America, Today Show, and Refinery 29, among others. She is also a contributing writer to the Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller So God Made a Mother.
Over five years sober and a founding host of the Sober Mom Squad, Celeste advocates for mothers who struggle with addiction and mental health. She is a recipient of the Windfelt Inspire Award by the Dry Society Social Club, as well as 2x winner of Red Tricycle’s Spoke Challenge for best writing. She lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband and two children.
Connect with Celeste Yvonne:
Official site: www.celesteyvonne.com