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Why Do Moms Drink Wine?

The Wine-Mom Phenomenon: We Drink to Celebrate, Not to Cope

My potty-training 2-year-old had decided he wanted to wage a war against his mother. He used his own sh*t against me by unloading in his pull-up at naptime. He had a talent — he could just keep creating turds at will. Then he'd take his diaper off in the crib.

The newborn wasn't having it, either. She kept persisting that, indeed, life was better inside of her mother's womb. At our family witching hour, the oven clock read 6:03. I had 30 minutes to keep the children alive, but this solo general was getting beat by her own troops.

This day was admittedly overwhelming. All moms have days like these; it's nothing new. When my husband breezed through the door, my 2-year-old ran to him as he always does. I then handed over the swaddled baby baton. So long, suckers.

I pretended that we needed a few items from the grocery store, and I was out. But what I didn't reach for in the store or even later that night? Wine.

I do not know how this wine-mom phenomenon exploded into fragments, landing as memes on our Facebook pages. Yes, many women love wine. I know I do. In Michigan, for example, a group of friends and I go on an annual wine tour surrounding Caribbean-blue lakes. But this can't be our only anthem in motherhood.

We're more than moms who grab a bottle of wine to deal with our grubby-fingered, teething, won't-shut-up children. We don't just drink to cope.

We're more than moms who grab a bottle of wine to deal with our grubby-fingered, teething, won't-shut-up children.

At the end of a long day with a child who has a double ear infection, why would a mother want to chug wine . . . alone? She's tired. All she wants to do is escape or go to sleep in preparation for yet another long night ahead (plus, dealing with children while hungover is one of the worst parenting tactics that I've ever attempted. Do. Not. Do it).

But yes, many of the moms I know do indeed love alcohol. All types of alcohol, not just wine. I know I love a cold microbrew (or six) on a Summer day at the lake. In the Winter, I'll sip a rum and coke or a stiff mojito. We drink not to escape the blunders of our day with small children, but rather to socialize with our friends or partners and to celebrate the days when we're victorious.

My husband and I drink on the corner of our couch when things are good — when we know we won't be up every two hours. We celebrate the simplicity of our lives with, yes, maybe wine and a good Netflix show. We down the good stuff because we enjoy it — sometimes a little too much (we did meet in college, where alcohol was flowing frequently out of the dorm rooms).

Mothers also like to drink among other mothers. We drink to be a little bad again and maybe pretend we're still in our 20s. We put clothes on that cover our kangaroo pouches; that just might make us feel a little younger. We share our child-rearing horror stories and our mistakes. The cocktails often bring women together in a cathartic way: we admit that we feed our kids McDonald's, that our kid repeated a swear word, or that we haven't scrubbed the tub in well over two months.

We drink to celebrate each other — we're keeping tiny humans alive here. We toast with our partners on the day our kid pisses in the toilet for the first time. Yes, mothers drink wine, but it's not to simply cope. So, the next time my troops beat me at my own war, I'll grab my pillow, not my wine.

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