Hey moms with anxiety,
Maybe put down the wine. Yeah. The internet doesn’t need one more picture of that. Before you dismiss this as another “pitting women against women” or “moms against moms” hear me out, please.
I get it. I used to do the same because it seemed funny. Hell, it was funny. It made me laugh.
But that was before I realized how damaging that scene is; before I knew how many struggled with what’s under the filter.
It seems innocent because it is. You’re just posting something from your life. You are a good person and you’re not trying to harm others. But what you’re not seeing is every time you grab for an addictive substance that kills nearly 90,000 people a year in the US, you are sending yourself and other moms the message, “I need this.” And your body believes you; that’s what addictive substances do.
But I see what’s really under that attempt for some solidarity. It’s not the wine you really want; it’s the connection. What you really are trying to say is what ALL the parents are trying to say: Help. I need help. I’m drowning a little and I need relief. I need fun. I need to see that I’m doing OK, that I will be OK, that there are others out there like me.”
And that’s OK. We all need that.
Especially those of us who wear anxiety all day, we need lots of help. But we don’t need booze. Because booze doesn’t help. In fact, it is proven to make you feel worse, including your anxiety and depression. It’s a cover. Let’s be more to each other than a joke or meme or a cover-up. Let’s actually understand that behind every “mom with a wine bottle” meme is a regular mom just like you who is losing her shit. Who is feeling behind, not enough, scarce, and tired as shit, who is one drink away from another, and perhaps another, and perhaps another. All those extras now become the norm and that same mom can’t seem to find her way out of a trap that she put herself in because it seemed so normal to do so in the first place.
Can we make a new normal? Life without a crutch can be hard; I’m not saying it will be easy. But it will be worth it. Because a mom with a wine bottle and crying kids in the background, despite what she may pose as, is in fact hiding an even more anxious, more scared, more at-her-limit mom behind her in her shadow. You can’t see what your back’s turned to so let’s face this.
Let’s change the conversation. Let’s ask ourselves why we think that’s funny. Let’s ask ourselves why that’s the norm. Let’s ask ourselves why it’s hard to just say, “I’m struggling. Parenting is nuts sometimes.” Let’s ask ourselves why we need to turn to booze and why, oh, why we continue to glamorize it. Let’s ask ourselves what our own messaging may do to another person.
Let’s be more open, more compassionate, more willing to see the mom who’s counting down the minutes until she can drink, who’s worried her life won’t be fun if she doesn’t drink, who’s slowly getting weighed down by a substance that’s only ever going to pull her down more.
Maybe that’s not you, but it is another mom. Probably one on your block or in your neighborhood, and definitely in your city. We’re here to lift each other. So, let’s lift. Let’s send a different message. I’m not asking you to stop drinking (Ok, maybe I am a little), but I’m most certainly asking you to stop pairing Alcohol with Parenthood.
A mom who may or may not have been addicted to alcohol but most certainly relied on it; who for the most part looked like a regular drinker; who knew it wasn’t going to actually solve anything; who wasn’t willing to have the same life continue to play out; who brought change and hope and connection and love and compassion to herself; who sees her worth and wants you to see yours, too, so that the mom who’s hiding in her struggles can set herself free.
Dear Moms with Anxiety,
Hey moms with anxiety,