28 August 2018

I'm a Sober Mom in a Mommy Wine Culture

Disclosure: This is a contributed post.


Ask any mom how she wants to spend a couple hours kid free and I bet a lot of them will have a similar answer.

“Take a bath. Sit by the pool with a good book. Go to Target, get a Starbucks Iced Coffee, and just walk around BY MYSELF.”

It’s not that we don’t love our kids, or our husbands, or our family pets.
We do, we really love them, with every fiber of our being.

Having a child is a feeling you cannot really explain until you have lived it…"It's as if” one person so eloquently described, “…your heart is living outside of your body.”

That doesn’t mean that we don’t like to take a break every now and then. No one touching us, no one calling our name over and over, no one asking us where something is even if it’s been in the same place the last six months (Honey, where are the diaper genie refills?”) ...

We truly, deeply love our kids, but mommy needs a break. And some self-care. And some wine?

Wine and motherhood.

Recently, they seem to go hand in hand, at least in a lot of recent marketing. Even popular brands dedicated to wellness and healthy living have been called out for recent marketing that seems to glorify drinking as Erin Shaw Street points out in her page Tell Better Stories.

Most recently questioned was a news article from POPSUGAR, a company that has nearly a million followers on Instagram geared towards women, with a headline that says, “How to Parent When You’re Battling an Epic Hangover.”



 

Another example brought up was from none other than wellness company Elephant Journal, who posted a picture of “Reasons Why I am Currently Alive:” and had listed 1. Yoga, 2. Coffee and 3. Wine??

So, this all begs the question, is wine really synonymous with self-care? Should it be perceived to be in the same category of wellness as going to a yoga class or reading a good book?

Hardly.

Not only is problematic drinking on the rise in young women, it has also recently been demonstrated in scientific studies that the health issues of drinking far outweigh any health benefits that used to be credited to a nightly glass of wine.

This doesn’t take into consideration either that most women aren’t having just one glass of wine…they are having multiple glasses night after night after night. This is the woman I was for many years.

Until I gave it up three years ago.

Now, I am a sober mom, and just like I stated earlier, if I am given an afternoon to myself I may take a leisurely trip to Target just to be by myself for a while.

There is something hypnotizing about the magical hum of the highly organized chaos that is Target for a woman.  Some say the bullseye has magical powers.

 Among the perfectly lit aisles and pretty packages you may run into a popular product as of recently that again glorifies the mommy-wine relationship.

A T-shirt that says “Mommy Needs Wine”
A coffee tumbler that says, “This may be Wine.”
A wine glass that says, “Mommy’s Juice.”
Or the worst of all, kids clothing with some allusion to Mommy being more fun when she drinks.

Admittingly, sometimes this stuff is cute. Like the people creating this stuff are putting their time and effort to make it aesthetically pleasing.

Because it sells.

So, with all of this stuff bombarding our daily lives screaming to us moms “YOU NEED ALCOHOL TO SURVIVE” why would we think otherwise?

Let me tell you something.

Motherhood is hard.  Its late nights and early mornings, and poop and pee, and screaming, and things breaking, and crying (both of you) and its expensive and it takes it out of you.

Physically, Mentally, Emotionally.

Sometimes you will feel as if it is about to break you.

So, you reach for that good friend, the wine bottle, to fix it.

Momentarily, it does fix you.

You feel the stress and the weight of the day slowly slipping away you take another drink.

That first glass turns into one more, and then another, until you have finished an entire bottle.

You go to sleep, and the next morning it begins again.

Except today you are exhausted, you slept poorly (even if you didn’t realize it), you’re dehydrated, and you have a lingering headache from the wine.

Being a mom isn’t going to be any easier today.

Listen, I am not here to tell you that you can’t drink.  I am here to tell you however, that I know what life is like drinking and I know what life is like not drinking and one of those options is CLEARLY easier, healthier and more enjoyable. Even as a mother.

So how do I remain sober in a society today that tells us mothers that we HAVE TO HAVE ALCOHOL?

Simple.





1.       I RECOGNIZE I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ALCOHOL

As I have been alluding to this entire post, being a mom is non-stop. From waking up in the morning to putting the children to bed, there is typically little reprieve for any hobbies or self- development let alone a shower.
If you are lucky and your baby goes to bed at a decent time, you may be gifted with some hours in the evening to yourself.
It’s easy to get sucked into the habit of opening a bottle of wine, plopping down on the couch, and net-flixing the night away.  It’s been a rough one, and you earned it right?

Well, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t have a similar night every once in a while, with a bowl of ice cream (which doesn't produce a hangover or have addictive qualities).
  But most nights, I am trying to accomplish one of my many passions. I simply am not afforded the time during the day, so the evening is where I do the things I love. I exercise or run, I write, I read a good book or listen to a podcast.  Sometimes I try to work on my Spanish.

When I was drinking, I NEVER would have had time to practice another language, let alone take care of my responsibilities.

Not only do I have time at night, my mornings are really productive (as much as they can be with a six-month-old).

Listen, if you are hungover, you are going to be in gear 1.  And sometimes being a mom requires you to be in gear 4 or 5. 

If you are reading this and thinking that you don’t want to do anything more except relax at night, that is fine too.

But don’t confuse getting drunk with self-care.

Yes, it may numb the stress temporarily, but if you are not dealing with the anxiety and stressors of motherhood in healthy ways, they are only going to get worse.

2.       I HAVE MOM SUPPORT THAT SHARES OR RESPECTS MY DECISION TO NOT DRINK

Motherhood can be very lonely. Many times, when I look at the mommy wine culture and how successful it’s become, I recognize that a lot of it is playing off of a mother’s desire to have friends and a social life.
  More than anything, to have comradery.  

When you spend all day in a mom bun and a spit up t-shirt and are listening to Paw Patrol all day, the nostalgia of going out and drinking with girlfriends may create rosy colored glasses for the olden days. 

You don’t really remember puking on a toilet in your dorm room, but you DO remember the bond you had with your friends, the late-night conversations and that feeling of sisterhood.

Nowadays, a majority of the opportunities presented to you to socialize are centered around alcohol consumption. 
Happy hour, mommy’s night out, Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Sunday Funday…I mean there is literally a nomenclature for all of the days of the week and drinking.

If you are meeting moms at playdates at the park, don’t worry, just bring your handy wine tumbler that says it may be filled with wine to get a good laugh from everyone, you know, because it’s cool to say that you need to drink during the day to get through it.

Everyone else joins in on this, and ultimately, we feel accepted.

We feel that other moms understand us.

As a sober mom, I would rather recognize that motherhood is hard and ask for help when I need it instead of joking that I am just going to drink it away.

My conversations with moms are REAL…whether its about Postpartum depression, anxiety, my child’s development, marriage, body issues. 

Sometimes I need help, and sometimes I try to be there and just listen.

I try not to trivialize these problems by thinking for a moment that they
can just be fixed with a glass of wine.

Mommas, they can’t. 

You need to have friends, and family, and mommas on the internet that you have never met before say “I am here for you,” and “We will get through this together.”


Finding an accountability group like mine can be instrumentally helpful in quitting drinking. Just like you would join a weight loss group or nutrition group. 

You have to be honest with your current circle of friends and family. I promise you that most of them will rise to the occasion and accept your new lifestyle with open arms.

If they don't...unfortunately you may need to examine what kind of relationship is occurring.

If its toxic, you need to make adjustments!





3.    I Try to Be an Example without being a Shamer

First and foremost, the internet has created a world where mommy shaming is very real, and it is very damaging.

Breastfeeding, homeschooling, sleep training, nutrition, parenting styles…

This is not that article.

If you drink, that is ok.

But it’s also OK if you decide you don’t drink.

I truly believe that the marketing of many products has done a disservice to woman, especially mothers, and has painted this picture that we NEED Alcohol to get through our crazy, hectic lives.

This is the narrative I’m judging and shaming.

Not you as a mother. Not you as a lawfully consuming individual who I believe has the autonomy to do with their body as they please.

My own mother does not drink alcohol. 

She has never tried to direct my consumption or shame me for drinking when I used to do it heavily.

For her own reasons, she stopped consuming alcohol years ago.

I have never seen either of my parents drunk. EVER.

As I approach thirty, I appreciate this more than ever before, and it inspires me to provide the same example for my own children.

I have made many mistakes under the influence of alcohol.

There are lessons and heartache and disappointments that as a mother I hope my child never has to experience.

I also realize, however, that I will not be able to protect her from everything.

Even more so, I cannot assume that she will grow up and not want to try alcohol or drink for herself.
I would never try to stop her (assuming she is of legal age).

As a parent, I believe the best thing I can do is provide a daily, living example of life in sobriety.

It’s a life that is not always easy, but always worth it.

So there you have it, you can go alcohol free and be a mom. Hell, you can be a great mom!

And the money you save by not drinking....indulge in some ACTUAL self-care. 




For more info about giving up alcohol or to follow my story, go to Soberlychic.com





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