Mommy Wine Culture is Still Destroying Lives One Meme at A Time

Tired mother is spilling coffee

As a mother recovering from alcohol addiction, the “mommy wine culture” narrative bothers me every time I see it on my social media feed. Because I am a woman in my early 30’s I regularly see the wine memes, and the algorithms think I will like them based on my demographic information. This narrative promotes an idea that tricks women into thinking alcoholism is not only a healthy coping mechanism; it’s also something to laugh about on social media. My heart goes out to the women struggling with these issues because I know how difficult it is.

I do not fault the women who are just trying to make ends meet and trying to cope with the daily stress of motherhood. If anything, these past couple of years have taught us just how stressful life can be. But, instead, the people at fault are the alcohol companies making a profit from this dangerous ideology at the cost of the women falling victim to it. The recent pandemic has hit mothers particularly hard, and many have turned to alcohol to cope.

For whatever reason, the “mom needs wine” jokes will not go away. So many people get defensive about them anytime people call them out for what they are and say, moms need breaks too, and it’s just a way to unwind. While it is true that moms deserve a break, here are just a few reasons why mommy wine culture is so harmful.

It normalizes alcoholism.

Like it or not, mommy wine culture normalizes alcoholism. Drinking every night is not drinking in moderation. A person doesn’t have to be homeless under a bridge to be an alcoholic; I would bet that there are far more “functioning alcoholics” than there are not. Normalizing alcoholism is a dangerous idea because alcoholism kills people daily. Just because wine is socially acceptable doesn’t mean it isn’t a drug.

It teaches children they are burdens that cause their mothers to drink.

One of the saddest things about the mom needing wine jokes is how it is teaching children that they are a burden. Kids are much more intelligent than most people give them credit for, and they pay far more attention than we realize. Furthermore, teaching a child that they cause their parents to drink creates long-term emotional damage. Sure, having kids can be stressful, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be blamed for someone else’s drinking problem.

It hinders existing support systems for mothers.

When people use alcohol as a way to self-medicate, they no longer reach out for real help. The worst part about all of this is how it prevents mothers from receiving the help and support they need. A woman would be more inclined to reach out for help or try and form friendships if she weren’t using alcohol as a crutch every night. Drinking may start as a socializing thing, but it often turns into something that can become very isolating. When a person begins to isolate in their drinking, they start compounding the problem.

It promotes unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Drinking to deal with stress is an unhealthy coping mechanism. It helps to take the edge off at first, but it is not a sustainable long-term solution to any problem. Drinking alcohol often creates more problems than it solves. Problems can range from blacking out to being hungover. There are a wide variety of issues that can occur from binge drinking, and most of them are much worse than the original problem the person was drinking to cope with in the first place.

Woman in a hospital

It’s funny until it’s not.

The people who find the wine mom culture memes funny usually haven’t seen the full extent of horrors that can occur from alcoholism. Sure it’s funny to joke about until you see the real problems it can cause, and then it’s not funny anymore. Ruined marriages, legal issues, cancer, liver failure, abuse, neglect, relationship problems, DUI charges, loss of child custody, the list of the problems created by alcohol goes on. Not to mention the 95,000 people who die an alcohol-related death in the United States each year; yeah, that one’s not so funny.

It only benefits alcohol companies.

The only people that the mom needs wine narrative benefits are the alcohol companies that make billions of dollars every year. But, unfortunately, this narrative doesn’t benefit mothers, their husbands, or their children; in fact, it harms them more than ever.

It promotes a known carcinogen.

Alcohol is a toxic substance that causes cancer. The more a person drinks, the higher their risk for developing cancer. It’s strange that tobacco products clearly label the dangers of smoking right on their box while alcohol products do not. I’ve heard it said “Big Alcohol” is the new “Big Tobacco,” and I think the person who said this was onto something. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing the following types of cancer: breast, liver, colon/rectum, esophagus, mouth/throat, and Voicebox/larynx.

It sets a bad example.

Showing bad example to a daughter

Using alcohol as a coping mechanism and drinking daily does not set an excellent example for children. Children will often model what they see their parents do; when a parent drinks excessively, the likelihood that their child will do the same increases. Children are always watching us and learning from what we do; it is essential to teach them healthy ways of dealing with life’s problems. There are hundreds of other ways to deal with stress that don’t involve drugs.

It damages relationships.

When a person drinks to excess, it harms most of the relationships in their life. Alcohol causes people to say and do things that they usually wouldn’t do while they are sober. Often the behavior a person displays while under the influence of alcohol will harm several areas of that person’s life. Drinking, in turn, makes things even more stressful for a person. Using alcohol to deal with stress is illogical because it often creates more stuff to be stressed over. This habit turns into an often deadly cycle that is very hard to escape.

It prevents real change from occurring.

Let’s face it, being a mom and keeping up with all of the demands of modern society is complex, and it can be draining. The high costs of childcare, the loss of the “village,” the impossible balancing act of keeping it all together, the lack of real parental support are all just a few of the things that make modern parenthood so challenging. What does drinking do to change any of these things? Nothing. Drinking does absolutely nothing to change any of the difficulties of contemporary motherhood. It just compounds these problems. What if we could take the energy that is put into drinking and channel it into something that would make a difference? What if, instead of trying to drink our problems away, we started demanding change? What if, instead of falling victim to the mommy wine culture narrative, we stood up and began to make things better for moms? I think the world would end up being a much better place.


Reviewed by Matt Hawk, BS, CADC-II, ICADC



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.