Compared to men, women have had more significant increases in alcohol-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the past 20 years. That's according to a study in 2020 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland.
The stresses that come with motherhood are well-documented, but the severity of the situation is increasing. A new study from an addiction recovery center in the US has found that more and more women are turning to alcohol to get through these stressful times.
While motherhood can, of course, be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, the daily trials and tribulations moms experience can make life extremely difficult. From mom guilt to misbehaving teens, countless things crop up and may make parents feel like they’re not doing enough.
When these issues arise, it’s easy to take the edge off by consuming alcohol at the end of a long day. While a glass or two of wine every so often won’t do any harm, the culture around drinking wine often results in moms overdoing it and going through multiple bottles a week.
A big influence in this culture is social media, and the demographic marketers target when it comes to wine. According to Renaissance Recovery, a U.S. organization that aids recovery for those who suffer from substance abuse, the statistics tell the story.
The Renaissance Recovery data shows:
- Some 13.9% of Instagram's global active users are women between 18 and 24.
- Over half of Instagram's global population is 34 or younger.
- More than 40% of female drinkers in Canada and the USA report consuming alcohol at least once weekly.
- About 20% of female drinkers engage in risky alcohol consumption on at least a monthly basis.
This data comes to some harsh conclusions. With women drinking dangerous levels of alcohol more than ever in the USA and Canada, social media companies must be more responsible with their alcohol advertising.
Women aged 18-34 are more likely to have young children than any other age group, and they are the most prominent users on Instagram. Is it time for influencers to stand against alcohol advertising on the platform?
Moms and The Dangers of Wine Culture
The practice of drinking a glass of wine every so often isn't a concern. It's the domino effect where one glass turns into a bottle, and then becomes a bottle every night that should make moms pay attention to their habits.
Reese Morgan, CEO of Renaissance Recovery, has offered his thoughts on the toxic wine culture in today's society. He said, “The culture surrounding the idea that mothers need wine to get through motherhood can lead to avoidance behavior or using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with motherhood.
“Drinking wine can worsen those symptoms, leading to a vicious cycle. If needing wine gets out of hand, it can affect one's relationship with their children, which can have lasting effects on their development.”
Social Media and The Wine Culture
Consider the impact of social media on young parents. Regardless of what app or platform they visit, it’s guaranteed they will see images, posts, or videos of other parents doing something with their children. The pressures of motherhood are already significant, and social media adds to the pressure of wanting to be that “perfect mom.”
In these posts, it looks like these people are the “perfect” parents, which heaps unnecessary pressure on those viewing this content. Reese discusses this concept in greater detail, saying, “With the presence of social media, women can feel pressure to be the “perfect” mother. It can be challenging to juggle motherhood if they're trying to also maintain a career, marriage, social life, and other responsibilities.
Finances are another stressor, as caring for children is expensive. It's also common for mothers to not have as much time alone to take care of themselves. These things can lead to anxiety and depression which, if left untreated, can lead to turning to alcohol to cope or self-medicate.”
Moms who are worried about their own or someone else's wine intake, the following list of signs may suggest a need for external support:
- Craving alcohol
- Feeling hungover without drinking
- Mood swings
- Difficulty stopping or cutting back
- Struggling to maintain daily responsibilities and tasks.
How Can Moms Escape The Wine Culture?
For moms who don’t want to travel the wine-drinking road, Renaissance Recovery doesn’t suggest accepting motherhood's pressures without having any coping mechanisms in place. Instead, they offer alternative practices that help relieve motherhood's stresses in a healthy way.
Reese suggests, “Find a community or support group. Being a mother is a difficult task in general, and being in a community with other mothers can be a healthy coping tool as they understand what you may be going through, and it can create support.
“Also, be mindful of who you surround yourself with, do those you spend time with enforce the idea that they need wine to get through motherhood? If so, maybe find ways to set healthy boundaries so that you don't fall into needing alcohol to cope.”
Implementing healthy coping mechanisms will help moms deal better with the stress and anxiety that comes with motherhood.
Victoria Cornell is the founder of Motherhood Life Balance. She helps busy moms find peace in the midst of the chaos, transform their mindset, get organized, and find the fuel to live their best life. You can find her at https://motherhoodlifebalance.com/