It’s true – being a mom is tough. The long hours, the sleep deprivation, the non-existent time for yourself. It can be a stressful and isolating experience. And now, with the advent of social media, there’s the added pressure of being the perfect parent. But more and more mothers seem to be turning to alcohol to deal with the stressful demands of childrearing these days – whether it be partaking in boozy playdates and mom meet-ups or unwinding within an alcohol-fueled book club.
In fact, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions recently reported that between 2002 and 2013 the number of women who consumed more than four drinks a day (considered high-risk drinking) rose by almost 60 percent, while those meeting the criteria for alcohol use disorders – or problem drinking that increases over time – rose by nearly 84 percent.
Rise and Wine
The rise of the wine-as-reward culture is fueled in part by the fact that our society seems to encourage it. Everywhere you look there are messages advocating moms to relieve stress with “mommy juice” – fridge magnets, baby onesies, Instagram memes.
Ironically, it’s doing the opposite of what it’s intended to do. Since alcohol is a depressant, it can actually increase anxiety within the user after a few hours of consumption, leading to poor sleep quality, and, ultimately, more drinking. And let’s not forget the serious health risks we’re subjecting ourselves to. Women metabolize alcohol faster than men and absorb it in higher concentrations, making us more vulnerable to organ damage, heart disease and several types of cancer involving the digestive system.
Yet, despite the consequences, wine has practically become the must-have accessory for motherhood. So, how does a mom stay sober amidst all this temptation? Experts suggest finding a new group of friends – one that isn’t dependent on an afternoon glass of pinot grigio.
Also, get creative on ways to relieve stress. Try acupuncture, get a massage or start adding a nice, long bath to the end of your day. Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep at night can go a long way in helping you stay strong against temptation.
It’s About Being Present
Yes, life can be pretty stressful, but there are plenty of other alcohol-free options to turn to in order to cope. Not only will these help give you the energy to get through the day, but they will also allow you to be more present with your kids – which is ultimately the best thing you can do for them as a mom.
Additional Reading: A Promise to My Unborn Daughter: You Won’t Repeat My Mistakes
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