I sat in a room full of bloggers with drinks in our hands & listened to a presentation by Responsibility.org at the Blog U Conference. Some people scoffed, some people joked, some people quietly took the message to heart, & some people agreed silently.
I fall into the last category. The category that often seems to be unpopular opinion. The category that doesn’t think the memes about moms needing wine to tolerate their children are funny. The entire point of the #RefreshYourFunny campaign is to re-evaluate what we are laughing about, and what kind of messages we are sending to our children & everyone else around us in regards to alcohol consumption.
Motherhood. Powered by love. Fueled by coffee. Sustained by wine.
The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink.
I wish my tolerance for my children would increase as much as my tolerance for wine.
All of these memes (& countless others across the internet – just do a Google or Pinterest search for hundreds more), spread a similar message; and it is not a positive one.
When moms joke about needing wine to cope, they are creating an unpleasant stereotype. They are acting like we are frail women on the verge of hysteria in need of an old-timey doctor to set them straight. I thought that we wanted to be represented as strong yet nurturing… not on-the-edge.
When moms joke about their children driving them to drink, they are putting a lot of their own problems onto their children. Yes, children are very difficult. Yes, parenting is very difficult. Yes, we need outlets to decompress at the end of a chaotic day. However, blaming your children for being nightmares is not very fair. You are the adult. You are the parent. You have a large role in the behaviors your children are displaying.
When moms blame their children for their wine habits, what are the children going to think? I don’t want my children thinking that alcohol is for coping. I want them to understand that it is a substance to be taken seriously. My children are exposed to alcohol every now and then, but it is not something that we do every single night. We will talk with them about alcohol when the time comes, but young children should NOT be drawing pictures of their moms drinking wine, and we should certainly not be laughing about it.
When moms go beyond the exaggerated joke and are actually drinking wine every night to cope with the stresses of the day, there is a more significant issue at hand. A few glasses of a wine each night is not a staple of motherhood… it is a red flag. Too many memes encourage this behavior and make it sound like it is a normal part of motherhood. Women who may be concerned with how overwhelmed they are feeling may find justification in these types of jokes and never seek out alternative solutions.
There are plenty of other solutions! There are many ways to unwind at the end of a long day caring for needy children. You could unwind by diving into a new TV show, movie, book, or hobby. You could drink some calming tea and take a bath. You could even get regular massages instead of paying for regular bottles of wine. Wine is only a temporary stress reliever that often leads to side effects. If you could get the calm of drinking wine without the hangover, wouldn’t that be better? If you could have lasting results by actually addressing the underlying stressors, wouldn’t that be better than feeling so dependent on alcohol?
Because if you are drinking every night, you are dependent. You count on that bottle to bring you some peace. You gulp down some wine to forget the struggles of the day. But when you are using alcohol as a coping mechanism, you will never have the benefit of feeling calm during the day. You are not addressing problems and coming up with solutions.
Motherhood is very stressful; however, every day should not be a day that calls for wine. There are ways to improve the experience for both you and your children. Speak with your support system to find a way to make days a little easier. Invest time into creating unique solutions for your family so that you can be a little less stressed out during the day and a little less tipsy at night.
Join me in the #RefreshYourFunny campaign & pledge to stop making alcohol the punchline. For one month, join in the challenge of not share alcohol related memes!
This piece is being submitted for a writing contest; however, I have not been compensated for this post & all opinions are my own.