A lot of moms like to unwind with a glass of wine, but have some taken this coping mechanism too far? Women are drinking more than ever, moms included, and wine and cocktails at playdates or drunken book club meetings don’t really raise eyebrows. Moderate consumption of alcohol can easily get out of hand and turn into a bad habit or even an addiction.
Drunk Moms at School
You know a mom’s drinking has gotten out of hand when she turns up at school too intoxicated to take her child home. This is what happened in Florida last fall when a young mom came to pick up her child while extremely drunk. The story made headlines and the woman was arrested and charged with child neglect, among other things. This is far from the only headline-grabbing story of a mother coming to school wasted.
There are stories from across the U.S. and from the U.K. about moms using alcohol to cope and ending up in the terrible position of being unable to go a day without drinking, even when the kids need picking up from school. The common thread in these stories may be the shocking idea that a mom would drive drunk with her children. What needs more focus, though, is the other commonality: that moms often need help and that alcohol is not the answer.
Why Moms Drink
If you’re a mom, you can probably think of a million reasons why you might be tempted to reach for a drink. It’s not an easy job, and even worse, it can often be thankless and lonely. A study surveyed moms to find out the main reasons for drinking on the job. Unsurprisingly, the No. 1 reason moms turned to alcohol was stress. Motherhood is a round-the-clock, difficult job. Moms worry about their kids, their spouses, their financial situation, the future and myriad other things. It’s tempting to use alcohol to de-stress.
Other reasons cited by surveyed moms included problems in romantic relationships, pressure from friends and family, traumatic experiences and boredom. Not all of these reasons for drinking are unique to moms, but some can be amplified by motherhood. For example, some moms may struggle with the transition from a successful working life to being at home with a baby. The experience can be isolating and even boring, especially for those women who left fulfilling jobs with lots of time spent being with colleagues and feeling intellectually challenged.
Moms Can Get Help
It can be easy to justify or minimize drinking habits. If you’re questioning your drinking, there’s probably a reason. If you regularly drink more than you planned, if you try to drink less but fail, if friends or family worry you drink too much, or if you have ever put your children at risk or haven’t been present for them because of your drinking, you may have a problem.
If you make changes now, you can avoid years of battling alcoholism. Talk to someone you trust and make a plan to implement real changes to either cut back or stop drinking. If you find that you can’t stop or cut back, you need to seek professional help. A counselor or therapist can help you meet your goals and show you better ways to cope with stress, anxiety and other issues.