Like many moms during the pandemic, I joined TikTok. I giggled over cute cat videos and silly toddler antics. But I was also stunned at another trend. The amount of videos of moms popping open wine bottles at various hours of the day. Some of them were relatable and funny, while others just broke my heart. Video after video of mothers coping with wine opened my eyes to a culture I thought was just a joke initially. TikTok showed me that wine mom culture is alive and well, and an issue in our society.
What is Wine Mom Culture?
A quick search on Etsy will show you that wine glasses and other drinking paraphernalia are a hot commodity for moms. Cute little phrases on wine glasses such as “This mom runs on coffee, wine, and Amazon Prime,” can solicit some good giggles from friends. Wine Mom memes are all over the internet, and they’re often shared by other moms in solidarity.
Wine Mom Culture is simply a phrase that embodies groups of moms who participate in drinking as a means to cope with motherhood. I’ve met wine moms who were Christians and non-Christians alike. Using alcohol to cope with stress is an issue that our entire society struggles with, and we as Christians shouldn’t be silent about it.
What Abstinent And Moderate Drinking Christians Should Be Able To Agree Upon
Some Christians believe that you should remain completely abstinent of alcohol. Other’s believe that you can drink in moderation. This article isn’t meant to be a theological argument towards any of those stances. Regardless of the alcohol camp you’re in, we should all be able to agree that using alcohol as a means of coping with life is a dangerous and slippery slope.
It can be difficult to find scriptures about addiction in general, but especially wine mom culture because it’s a newer fad. More than likely, moms weren’t typically using alcohol to cope with motherhood in the times of the Bible. The Bible, on the other hand, does speak to the dangers of drunkenness and using substances to cope with life. For example, in 1 Peter 5:8:
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Again in Ephesians 5:18:
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
Regardless of the theological alcohol camp you live in, we can all agree that alcohol use is an epidemic in our world. According to the NIH, 14.5 million people ages 12 and older in the USA had alcohol use disorder in 2019 alone. According to a study done by PLOS Medicine, from 2006 to 2018 binge drinking has increased among adults in general, and has increased 17% amongst women with children. Though the increase in binge drinking is proportional across all adult groups, which shows this isn’t just an issue with mothers alone, it shows that significant alcohol use is an issue in our culture.
We as Christians should be offering those with alcohol use issues a safe place to land in the Lord. In order for us to do that, though, we have to first identify that there is a problem. So what are the problems and pitfalls of wine mom culture?
Wine Mom Culture Shines A Light On Our Poor Coping Mechanisms
I don’t know a single person out there who believes being a mom, or a human for that matter, is easy. Being a mom is the single most difficult thing I have ever done! Statistically, Moms are shown to be incredibly stressed. The rise of social media has only made the ridiculous amount of stress on moms so much worse by using algorithms and filters to pit moms against each other. Some people who have more time on their hands will find healthier coping mechanisms to handle their stress. Many moms, on the other hand, lack that time and energy to find healthier coping mechanisms. This leads a bottle of chardonnay to be a much simpler method of coping with stress.
The problem with using wine as a coping mechanism is that you’re not actually confronting the bigger issues at hand. You’re only using wine to numb the pain of living an overwhelmed and unsustainable lifestyle. Having a glass of wine at night is not necessarily the issue, it is the mindset of “I need this to get through the rest of the day,” that is the issue. When we say we need alcohol to cope with daily stress, we’re saying that the only way we can handle life is with inebriation.
Not just Christians, but society in general, needs to start promoting healthier ways of coping with stress. Instead of promoting play dates that are just glorified drinking gatherings with other moms, we should be using that time to positively support each other. Instead of using wine to numb our feelings, as Christians we should be staunch supporters of good mental health practices. When we hear of a fellow mom stressed to the gills, instead of encouraging a glass to calm the nerves, we should pull up our sleeves and ask if they could use some help. The lonely mom at the park or in the pew at your church doesn’t need a wine glass, she needs a village. Let’s start being the healthy support systems that moms lack, instead of the pinot aisle at the liquor store.
Wine Mom Culture Shines A Light On Mother’s Lack Of Support In Our Society
Our society has had a long standing history of not supporting mothers. Whether that’s with zero paid maternity leave in the United States, or ridiculous standards set by society or social media, outrageous costs of childcare and insurance, or a long standing issue of sexism and gaslighting in the healthcare field, women and moms in particular struggle to be taken seriously in our society. In some circles of Christianity, women have had even more of an issue being taken seriously. Often in Christian circles, we’re told that children are a blessing and we’re supposed to enjoy every moment, so when moments are not enjoyable, we don’t know how to handle them. This potentially dangerous message sends some women to cope with their stress in unhealthy was, such as with alcohol.
Wine Mom culture shines a painful light on how severely under-supported moms are in our culture. As Christians, people who are commanded to love and support those in need, we should be prepared to step up for the moms who lacks support. This means seeking out the moms whose overwhelmed and being the village she lacks. Find those moms in your church or community who are lacking a support system and step in for them. Become a fierce advocate for public policies that would benefit and support mothers and children.
Wine Mom Culture Sends A Bad Message To Our Children
As a child, I used to attend AA meetings with my dad. I heard story after story of people who would watch their parents drink. Their parents would say statements like “the only way I can handle you kids is with a beer in my hand,” and vice versa. From youth, these people recovering from alcoholism heard the crippling message that their parents needed to drink because of them.
The idea that “mama needs wine,” or “this is mama’s happy juice,” gives the idea that children are a burden, and moms can’t cope with their kids without wine. Yeah, most people don’t say those things directly to their kids, but the message can still be heard without the words. Whether it’s the cup that says “mama needs wine” that a friend gifted to you, or its the stark behavioral changes that happen after you’ve drank a couple glasses, the message can still be heard without actually saying it out loud.
I know not a single mom out there drinks as a means to purposefully hurt their children. In fact, moms who drink too much may be doing so because the pressure to be a good mom is so strong that it feels impossible to manage alone. Nobody wants to purposefully send a negative message to our kids through alcohol, but sometimes it happens regardless of our intentions.
The messages we speak to our child will at some point become their inner voice. Sending the message that alcohol is necessary to parent can be dangerous to a child. We don’t want our children to feel that crippling need to drink to cope, we want them to have better coping mechanisms for their future. That starts with us.
Wine Mom Culture Shines A Light On Our Need For True Connection With Jesus
As Christians, we should be leery of any messaging that sounds like we need something other than Jesus to cope. Jesus made it very clear, he is the way, the truth, and the life. He has made it very clear that when life is tough, our first line of defense should be Him. When we use alcohol as our first line of defense, we are saying being inebriated is more effective than Jesus.
Earlier I quoted Ephesians 5:18, which says again:
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
This scripture gives the perfect solution for a need to drink. The Holy Spirit.
God created us to be with Him. Sin severed that, but Jesus through his death, burial, and resurrection gave us that connection back. The Holy Spirit is meant to dwell in us every day. That means even on the days when momming feels impossible, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. You have been given the perfect solution for handling life, and that is Jesus dwelling right in your heart.
Resist the temptation to use alcohol, or any other substance for that matter, to cope with the stresses of life. Bring those stressors to the Lord in prayer. Spend time reading His word, connect yourself with other believers, and allow yourself to be filled with His goodness.
What Can Christians Do About This?
Regardless of whether you live in the “Christians shouldn’t drink” camp or the “Christians can drink in moderation” camp, there are steps Christians can take to help moms with alcohol related issues.
- Simply be there. Be intentional about reaching out to moms. Offer them non-alcohol related chances to socialize. Simply put, be a good friend.
- If you see a mom who is lacking a good support system, become their village.
- Be a staunch supporter of good mental health practices. Encourage others to seek professional help. Be available with resources for help if necessary.
- Churches can provide support groups for moms. Moms are experiencing loneliness and lack of support in staggering rates. Churches can fill that gap by providing support groups that help moms cope in healthy ways. Churches can offer to host Celebrate Recovery groups, which is an incredible 12 step addiction program that is faith-based.
- Offer accountability to moms who desire it. Often people struggling with alcohol use need someone to check in on them and hold them accountable.
- Give more than empty platitudes. Telling a struggling mom to just “pray about it” is going to do absolutely nothing. Dig deeper in your words of encouragement and really be a support.
How To Get Help
If you are struggling with alcohol use, and are in need of help, please don’t be afraid to seek it. Below are links to various resources on how to get help for alcohol use disorders.