Moms don’t “deserve” wine. We deserve better than that.

For years, I’ve spent my evenings “chilling out” with a few (or more) glasses of wine to relieve the never-ending pressure of the mental load.

I had the physical demands of three young children and an endless mental to-do list, and there always seemed to be things left unfinished at the end of the day. The laundry load that has not been folded. The homework I should harass my eldest in the morning. Meal prep that was abandoned resulting in the end of another week of products in the trash.

My work never felt done, and it never felt good enough. There weren’t enough hours in the day to take care of all the things that inexplicably fell to me ― noticing what needed to be done, making plans for how and when it would be done, doing or delegating work when I was exhausted, but still supervise this work to ensure that it is completed.

Even when I wasn’t doing the physical chores, nothing was ever wiped off my proverbial plate. I was still drowned in these responsibilities and unable to take care of my own needs in any meaningful way.

So I turned to wine, like so many moms do. It was quick and easy, and I know I’m not supposed to say that, but it worked. Those first sips of wine smoothed out the rough patches of my day. I could feel that tight lump in my chest relax. I stopped caring so much about the overstimulating noise of my kids, and I could look past the mess for a while and just be. It was an escape hatch with a short lifespan, but I took what I could.

Of course, those half-drink moments were the highlight. I didn’t like to think about the desperate feeling of craving wine earlier and earlier (and often giving in to those cravings, especially once the pandemic hit and time lost all meaning). Or the fact that one glass of wine was never enough, because my body started needing more and more of it to maintain that good feeling. Couple that with the fact that more than one glass of wine would have me waking up at night with a dry throat and nagging anxiety, and I half wondered why I kept doing this to myself.

“You deserve a few hours where you don’t feel weighed down by the mental load, don’t you?”

Sometimes I went through difficult attempts at moderation. I might even take a month off for Dry January or Sober October. But other times, I’d find myself drinking an entire bottle of wine with other moms, and no one flinched. We had drunk a few bottles – anyone could be guilty, so no one was. It was not an everyday occurrence. And then we said to ourselves, we merit this.

We deserve an escape. We deserve a moment to let our minds go numb. We deserve a few hours where we don’t feel crushed under the weight of the mental load, don’t we?

It seems crazy to me now that we so rarely stop to think if maybe we deserve more than that. Like real support. Like a life we ​​don’t need to escape from. But again, the wine blurred the edges just enough to take away that bright, clear desire for more. This kept the questions from getting too deep.

When I finally got sober, I had a lot of rage realizing that all the problems I was numbing with alcohol were systemic and they weren’t going away anytime soon. Sitting with this rage was extremely uncomfortable, but it was also revealing. I saw how society encouraged women, and mothers in particular, to drink as a coping mechanism to cope with their busy lives. Because wine is an easy solution to a problem no one plans to solve.

But we don’t call it coping, surviving or struggling, we call it something cute that can be put on a Target T-shirt like: “Sunshine & More Wine” or “A Day Without Wine Is Like Just Kidding I Have No Idea”. » or the eternal « Mama Needs Wine ». Because it’s easier to laugh it off in another glass than to face the fact that we don’t want to be fully present for our lives because we don’t have the support we want or need.

That’s why moms really “deserve” wine. Because society, government, employers and sometimes even our partners think we don’t deserve better. At least not enough to do better for us, if we are considered at all.

After two years of a global pandemic and a clear disregard for how much of the new burdens are being dodged onto women, let’s call it what it is. Let’s stop pretending that wine hour is an act of self-care and not a way to numb the overload caused by being forced to take on more than we can handle.

We don’t need wine. Or at least we wouldn’t be if society actually cared about mothers beyond the lip service of calling us “heroes” when we begged to take off our capes and just breathe.

What we really need is a comprehensive care policy, equal partnerships and recognition for all the work we do. To say that wine is a good enough bandage on a broken arm problem not only minimizes the serious weight of the invisible load placed on women’s shoulders – it ignores what is quickly becoming a major health issue like alcoholism affects an ever-increasing percentage of women.

Even when we don’t reach the classic marks of alcoholism, we often use alcohol as a way to numb, to cope, to escape. Quitting alcohol was not difficult for me because I was too dependent on it or because I was a problem drinker. It was difficult because I suddenly had nowhere to hide from these rage-filled questions about why the burden of the mental load never seemed to lighten. About why women don’t get the support they need, even when we ask them again and again. I’m done wanting alcohol. What I want are answers. Solutions. Following.

Moms don’t deserve wine. We deserve better than that.

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