When you Google the time period “wine mother,” you’ll discover an array of comedic returns, together with numerous memes of celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus maniacally waving a bottle of wine or Amy Schumer ingesting from an outsized glass, or numbered lists pointing to “indicators you is perhaps a wine mother.”
You’ll additionally discover in style media articles highlighting that whereas this trope initially seems to be innocent enjoyable, it additionally alludes to a darker underside of contemporary motherhood.
As fetal alcohol spectrum dysfunction (FASD) prevention researchers, we’re more and more within the rising reputation of this phenomenon and its portrayal on social media.
A wine mother is a mom who drinks wine to take the sting off each day duties related to motherhood. Whereas the usage of substances to deal with challenges shouldn’t be new (like “mom’s little helper”), the time period wine mother turned in style within the mid-2010s when moms started to self-identify and joke on-line about ingesting wine to deal with the stresses of contemporary motherhood. This self-identification helped girls to generate social connections (although maybe superficially) with different moms in on-line areas.
#WineMom fights again in opposition to the image of a “good mom”
What constitutes motherhood is a set of behaviours and values that ladies embody, which are sometimes influenced by social and cultural norms.
Ladies are described as “good moms” after they exhibit behaviours related to being a doting caregiver, having an immaculate dwelling and interesting in flawless self-care. Ladies who fail to attain these excessive requirements run the chance of being characterised as “unhealthy moms” and being shamed or ostracized.
In our current examine, we explored posts utilizing the #winemom hashtag on Instagram to raised perceive how alcohol consumption was juxtaposed with motherhood.
Per what has been reported in in style media, we discovered that alcohol, and particularly wine, was usually used to combat again in opposition to conventional social constructions of what it means to be a “good mom.” Ladies used the #winemom hashtag to convey that alcohol is an appropriate type of self-care and a way of dealing with each day duties.
The darker facet of #WineMom
What we discovered regarding had been the messages that normalized common binge ingesting and steadily used humour to specific potential critical underlying psychological well being issues.
Well being critics have described alcohol as “no peculiar commodity” given the intense organic, psychological and social impacts of its use. Rising proof reveals that alcohol use amongst girls of childbearing age in North America is rising.
That is the place the #winemom hashtag can develop into problematic.
The hashtag was used as a type of empowerment and connection — however these messages normalize binge ingesting and encourage the usage of alcohol as a one-stop coping technique.
More and more, in in style media former wine mothers are sharing their tales of how taking part in “wine mother” tradition led them to develop a problematic relationship with alcohol. They’re now sharing posts celebrating their sobriety after they used to share memes about ingesting.
#WineMom and COVID-19
COVID-19 prompted new variations of the “wine mother” meme, centred on ingesting to cope with the pandemic and its related challenges. On the identical time, researchers reported that 18 per cent of Canadians elevated their alcohol use in the course of the pandemic to deal with lack of a daily schedule, boredom and stress.
As extra analysis emerges on the influence of COVID-19, rising proof speaks to the compounding influence of the pandemic on girls and moms. Psychological well being and substance use issues have remained very excessive. Females reported probably the most psychological well being issues, notably amongst these dwelling in households with younger kids (underneath 13). Thirty-seven per cent of females reported each moderate-to-severe anxiousness and elevated alcohol use.
Ladies are being pushed out of the workforce primarily because of youngster care obligations; COVID-19 restrictions are limiting alternatives for social connection; and closures to gyms, companies and outside facilities means lowered entry to wholesome retailers for stress.
Ladies who’re searching for methods to deal with further stress and rising psychological well being challenges could discover shelter and connection throughout the digital ‘wine mother’ group.
Ladies want assist past wine mother tradition
What began out as a method for ladies to unite and poke enjoyable on the challenges related to motherhood has revealed an alarming indication that ladies’s wants are usually not being addressed in actual and critical methods. The COVID-19 pandemic has additional pressured psychological well being wants and highlighted how girls are more and more juggling a number of roles.
Whereas #winemoms supplies an area important for empowerment and connection, we have to be certain that girls have entry to the helps and sources that present more healthy alternatives to deal with their stress and psychological well being challenges. It’s evident that each throughout COVID-19 and past, girls want assist that extends past wine mother tradition.
Kelly D. Harding works as a Analysis Affiliate for the Canada Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Dysfunction Analysis Community (CanFASD). Publication of the analysis mentioned on this article was supported by CanFASD.
Lisa Whittingham is supported partially by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Analysis Council.