Mommy Wind Culture: What started as a way for moms to socialize, have a little fun, and serve as a source of playful memes ten years ago is now developing into a physical and mental health crisis. “Mommy Wine Culture,” originally conceived as a way for overworked and stressed-out moms to relax and enjoy each other’s company, has evolved into a crisis. Many wine mommies pay a brutal price for taking a joke about moms drinking a little too much, a little too often.
Origins of Mommy Wine Culture
Wine mommy culture was born on the internet, and although the phenomenon has died down somewhat, it still has a major presence. Wine mommies sprang from mommy blogs and websites. Basically, wine mom culture developed as a defense mechanism. It provided overtaxed “supermoms,” who somehow managed to work full time, take care of the kids, and maintain a household, with an outlet to blow off steam and relax with peers. Wine mommy culture became a social club, of sorts. It allowed moms to share their stories and be authentic with those who lived the same sort of lives. It was a means to share their experiences—good or bad.
Predictably, the mommy wine culture took off. Thousands of well-followed mommy blogs were created, Instagram flooded with mommy wine culture influencers, and many women with digital marketing skills turned their experiences into cottage industries. Some became internet celebrities. Other national spokeswomen for their “culture.” Books were written. Products like shirts and travel mugs were sold.
What the mommy wine culture didn’t count on were the problems many participants and contributors encountered afterward. What started with something as simple as ending the night with a glass of chardonnay after putting the kids to bed led many to full-blown addiction. These unintended circumstances have produced a health crisis for women that no one saw coming.
Four Main Issues With Mommy Wine Culture
1. Normalizing alcoholism
Despite innocent intentions, many wine mommies have revealed that their one glass of wine each evening habit developed into drinking a bottle or more per night. An alarming number of moms admitted that their drinking to relax actually caused more stress and anxiety. This led them to believe they needed more alcohol to deal with these newly created problems. Because of that, many wine mommies realized they were on the cusp of developing a drinking problem. And they were right for several reasons. First, binge drinking for women is a dangerous proposition. According to the National Institutes of Health, binge drinking equates to around four drinks over two hours. This type of drinking is common in mommy wine culture.
Second, chronic alcohol consumption like that associated with mommy wine culture leads to hangovers and illnesses that can make motherhood and work much harder. Finally, glorifying functional alcoholism is also inherently dangerous. It implies “real alcoholics” are dysfunctional failures, incapable of living good and productive lives. Additionally, it romanticizes and justifies substance abuse. There is a thin line between function and dysfunction in mommy wine culture.
2. Potential long-term health issues
In mommy wine culture, self-medicating becomes a major problem that can lead to unexpected health issues down the road. This is especially true among women who already suffer from undiagnosed emotional and psychological issues. The World Health Organization reports that 10% of women suffer from depression and another 8% from anxiety disorders. Alcohol exacerbates these conditions, and many women are unaware of this.
Physiologically, women handle alcohol differently than men. Their bodies are smaller and contain less water, resulting in even small amounts of alcohol having toxic effects on the body. Because women produce smaller quantities of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which breaks down alcohol in the body, women get drunk faster, process the alcohol out at a slower rate and become dependent on it more easily than men.
Recent studies by the CDC have also shown that the cirrhosis death rate among women 46-54 shot up by 57% from 2000-2015. The number of women visiting emergency rooms due to alcohol consumption is also rising. Overall, alcoholic moms are more likely to develop heart disease, brain damage, and liver damage than alcoholic men. There are a lot of dangers lurking in that bottle of red or white for today’s wine mommies, but there is help available.
3. Family dysfunction
Problems associated with an alcoholic mom or dad aren’t just limited to the individual. The mommy wine culture can impose a major threat to the family as a whole. Addictive behaviors and mental illnesses run in families because of genetic factors and learned behaviors. If a wine mommy has an alcoholic parent, she is more at risk of developing substance use disorder. Studies show that women are less likely to seek treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems than men. Additionally, kids of alcoholic parents are more likely to be abused, suffer accidental injuries, and follow in their parent’s footsteps.
The problem with many wine mommies is that although they may seem to have it all together on the outside, they are conflicted and tormented on the inside. This is a huge issue, not only for the wine mom but for her kids. Children know when mommy is “sick,” or something is bothering her. When things start to go wrong in mommy wine culture, the signs may be as simple as failing to prepare meals, not picking up kids from school, and spending less time with them. Many moms admitted that their alcohol dependence changed their priorities and ability to focus on what’s truly important.
It’s critical to remember that the children’s actions did NOT bring on this type of dysfunctional behavior; it is solely the responsibility of the wine mommy. It might be difficult for children of drinkers to recognize their innocence with popular slogans like “Mommy drinks because you cry,” making mega stores millions of dollars. If wine moms don’t realize they have a problem, the family dysfunction only worsens. To avoid or stop the chaos before it starts, wine mommies must recognize the dysfunction and take the necessary actions to correct it.
4. Excuses for Mommy Wine Culture
Whether true or not, the prevailing reason that “supermoms” become wine mommies is considered ridiculous by some and understandable by others. Wine mommies feel alcohol is necessary to deal with the stresses of motherhood. For many, it starts as a tongue-in-cheek social experiment, influenced by mommy blogs, cute wine mommy memes, and a catalog of wine mommy swag, including wine glasses, apparel, hats, jewelry, and home décor items. Few anticipate that the glass of wine after bath time or weekly happy hour with the neighborhood moms will become a growing problem.
But many have, including Harmony Hobbs. At one time, a leading figure in the wine mommy culture, the mother of three from Louisiana always seemed to have it together. A successful insurance agent, Hobbs created “Modern Mommy Madness,” a successful blog influenced by the wine mommy culture. She did a podcast with her friend where they drank glasses of wine while reviewing new products. By anyone’s standards, she had a great life and seemingly enjoyed it. But there was also a dark side. She drank to cope with the stresses of being a mother and a wife.
It started innocently enough, just a glass of wine or two a night. Then she became a stay-at-home mom. The stresses of being a mom 24/7 became overwhelming at times, causing the pores to get bigger and come more often. It reached the point that from the moment she woke up, she was looking forward to her nightly happy hour, which had grown from two glasses to more than a bottle a night. Still, she shook off any signs that turning to alcohol was becoming a problem.
Harmony became distracted and distant. To fight that, she would become angry, often taking her unresolved emotions out on her husband and children. Realizing she was becoming depressed and miserable, she knew a change had to be made if she wanted to keep her family. Although she was still “high functioning,” she stopped making excuses and realized she was indeed abusing alcohol. She quit cold turkey and has never looked back.
Although there are many success stories, an equal number of those immersed in mommy wine culture do not become sober. The one characteristic that all these women share is that a wine mom drinks wine to relieve the stress of raising kids and a family. It’s a convenient excuse, but many must conquer it to maintain their personal well-being and family health.
If mommy wine culture has affected your life, or you believe you may be a wine mom with a problem, please contact us. We can help you to start the road to sobriety. Contact us today at 855-448-3588.