Perhaps this comes as no surprise to you. We’ve all heard the jokes about mommy-juice, mommy’s little helper(s) and the general lackadaisical attitude (except when it comes to the consumption of) that many take in general when it comes to drinking and motherhood. I consider myself a part of that tribe. I make the jokes too. I in fact, can go so far as to admit that I do INDEED enjoy a glass of wine or a beer (or two!!!), on a weeknight, no less!
Is there a relation between the stress brought on in my day-to-day mothering and how much alcohol I consume? Does having a glass of wine at the end of a long day help melt away the anxiety and the tension creased up in my neck from flinching and cringing after countless whining sessions and whatever else my darling yet exasperating toddlers toss my way?
Sure it does.
I’d be lying if I said it (alcohol) didn’t (help).
There is a striking difference I think, amongst those who use alcohol as a crutch with alarming frequency and supply, and those of us who know when too much is too much.
So, when TODAY reported that, “experts worry that mothers are abusing alcohol and putting themselves and their kids at risk,” I wasn’t surprised. There’s a problem when a joke turns into a real-life trend and becomes the new norm. Whiskey in your sippy-cups or whatever and bailey’s in your coffee and the need for MOAR WINE. I must admit that I see a LOT of this “humor” in the blogosphere and out. It’s not always funny. To me, it’s become too much and more than hints to a deeper issue at hand that isn’t all that funny.
And yet, is this anything new? Didn’t the Stones write the song, “Mother’s Little Helper” back in the ’60s? Sure, it detailed the use of prescription drugs amongst stay-at-home moms and housewives. Booze/pills = it’s all the same to me. All are problematic when used as a crutch instead of facing what’s making one SO unhappy in life.
I don’t want to live my days in a haze, and if I did, the social worker in me would know something was desperately wrong.
This isn’t about judgment toward moms who use heavy doses of alcohol-based humor in the everyday or in their writing or on their Facebook Fan Pages. Exaggerated innuendo and vodka-laden GIFs do not true stories make.
However. There is a glaring truth that we cannot ignore. Instead of making assumptions based on all of this ‘”humor,” TODAY conducted an online anonymous survey to poll just how many moms are drinking in excess.
Well my friends, the results are in and it ain’t pretty. Nearly 40 percent of mothers have admitted that alcohol helps them cope with the stresses of parenting. On a recent segment of TODAY, Deni Carise (deputy chief clinical officer at CRC Health Group, the nation’s largest provider of addiction treatment), told Maria Shriver, “I’m seeing it widespread across the country an increase of moms, particularly with young kids, coming in for treatment.”
Moms are hitting the juice too hard, the numbers don’t lie. According to the survey, more than half of the participants revealed that wine is their preferred choice of drink, while one-third admitted to having a friend in their mom-tribe with a drinking problem. Alcohol brands have jumped on the band-wagon and are shaping their branding around this dangerous new trend, coming up with wine titles such as, Mad Housewife, Mommy’s Time Out and Mommy Juice.
Seriously?! As a gag gift or a mock-up, sure. Maybe. But an actual product? We’re crossing the line into some dangerous territory. Alcohol consumption should be respected, and is no laughing matter. Just ask anyone who grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent.
So how much is too much? Well, if you have to ask yourself that question — perhaps that’s the first sign. TODAY went so far as to compile a list from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of questions you should be asking yourself:
Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
One “yes” answer suggests a possible alcohol problem. If you responded “yes” to more than one question, it is likely that you have a problem with alcohol. In either case, it is important that you see your health care provider right away to discuss your responses to these questions. Even if you answered “no” to all of the above questions, if you are having drinking-related problems with your job, relationships, health, or with the law, you should still seek help, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Visit TODAY online to view the full interview with Maria Shriver reporting. Moms should be allowed their ways to unwind and relax without being made to feel guilty. But perhaps booze shouldn’t be the most popular, mainstream decompressor of choice. Just a thought.
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