There’s been a lot of talk, discussions and more memes than you can shake a stick at, on the woes of motherhood and the accompanying wine we are apparently drinking to get through the day.
Isn’t that all we need to get us through yet another exhausting day as a mom? Wine, wine and more wine right? This is what we are inundated with as moms; from social media posts and memes to blog posts; it’s virtually everywhere we turn online. In addition, the merchandise for this ‘slogan’ can be found in nearly any retail store.
Wine time or My time?
Many of you right now are thinking that I’m sitting here wagging my finger at you for choosing to drink a glass of wine at the end of the night to relax and unwind.
Nope, nada, ain’t gonna do it. Because that is your right to choose and do what you will. You know how much is too much and you got it under control. No Sanctimommy moment needed.
I only ask that for those of us who choose not to drink that you also reign in on passing around judgment. Because that is our right to choose and do what we will; right? Keep in mind for some it’s not just a choice, but a necessity to keep and maintain a sober lifestyle to regain control of their lives once more. (Please, please, please support those who are struggling with sobriety; their very lives may depend on it.) For some, it may be for religious beliefs, for others it may just be not liking the way it makes them feel or even as simple as not liking the taste. Again, no Sanctimommy moment needed.
What I AM concerned with is the constant diatribe that pushes the idea that we as mothers MUST drink to get through the day, and not just a glass, but several, or even an entire bottle or more! Just as concerning is the message we are sending our own children. We’re essentially advertising that we simply cannot make it through the day as a parent without alcohol. That our kids essentially are such a handful and make us so miserable that we need to drink to deal with motherhood.
Think on that a bit, how would that make YOU feel? If your spouse was going around saying “She’s the reason I need a drink” that wouldn’t really give you warm fuzzies about your relationship would it?It's easier to build strong children than repair broken men ~Frederick Douglas #mentalhealth
Frederick Douglas once said, “It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men”. I believe this to be true as there are so many adults in therapy due to enduring a traumatic childhood. I’m not saying enjoying a glass of wine is traumatizing your child by any means. It’s the conversations we’re having behind it, the neglect from alcohol abuse and the potential for emotional abuse that concerns me.
More on that in a bit, but first…
Here are the four things I actually NEED to get through motherhood:
Besides the obvious items such as a home to live in, money for bills, food, etc; the following is what I actually NEED to get through each day as a mom.
- Heavenly Father: Note he is first and foremost on my list. I simply CANNOT get through the day without him. Not as a mother, not as a wife, not as a woman, not as a human being. I truly believe that a mother’s prayer is the most powerful form of prayer.
- Myself: As mothers, we often put our children and spouses’ needs above our own. Remember that bit of wisdom imparted to us every time we fly on an airline? “Please place your oxygen mask on first before assisting others”. How do you expect to help your loved ones if you are literally running out of oxygen for yourself? Self-care is the most important care of all mamas.
- Support System: Whether it’s your own faith, spouse, partner, parents, family, best friends, or your community, you NEED a support system. Find someone who GETS you, who understands what you’re going through and can lift you up in the process. Stay away from those who pull you down and want to hold pity parties for all their woes like yours. That’s not going to do anyone any good. Trust me. ‘Negative Nellies’ are more like quicksand when what you really need is a life preserver.
- Children: Whether they’re yours biologically or through other means, the children you care for daily are what make you a mom. I have three and my life has changed immensely because of them. Sometimes there are bad days, but mostly and especially I look forward to the good. I can barely recall life before kids. Every day is a new challenge, a new adventure, a new beginning of something I’d never expected and oftentimes unprepared for. I’ve learned more about myself and life as a mother than I ever thought possible and I continue to learn and grow with each new day. It’s hard as HELL some days, don’t get me wrong. But I always reflect upon the first three needs previously mentioned; I remember who really has my back when it comes right down to it and eventually put myself back together again for the sake of my children as well as myself.
- Love: Full stop.
Going back to the previous four needs; Heavenly Father, Myself, Support System, and Children. All four involve love. The love of our Heavenly Father and my love for him, the love for myself and on behalf of myself, the love for my support system and their love of me, the love for my children and their love of me. I truly cannot FATHOM my life without this reciprocation of love. Love is unconditional and has no bounds. It is vulnerable and brave and courageous. All those wonderful things you NEED to get through motherhood.
What I do NOT need to get through Motherhood
- Alcohol, drugs or stimulants
- Comparison; it can be the thief of joy. My journey is mine alone as is yours.
- Pity parties (don’t wallow too long or it will swallow you whole)
- Sanctimommies (the judgemental moms who feel the need to comment on everything we’re doing wrong with our lives)
Moderation in all things is key. Whether it’s the amount of wine, coffee, or diet soda you drink in a day or whether it’s how much time you spend on your smartphone. Too much of anything isn’t always a good thing.
When it’s no longer just a glass
At what point do we stop and evaluate ourselves and ask “how much is TOO much?”. If you literally believe that you cannot GET THROUGH THE DAY without a substance, then that my friend is bordering on an addiction.
We also need to be aware that there are many forms of addiction and it’s not just drugs and alcohol.
Many of us are finding ourselves addicted to our smartphones, streaming TV (binge-watching show after show, after show) video games, pornography, coffee, soda, sugar, the list can go on and on really.
How do you know if you genuinely have an addiction that requires more than just cutting back? What are the signs and where can you find help?
**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, specialist or therapist. If you believe you have a problem, please consult with a professional. Resources are linked below**
**Signs of an addiction include:**
- Feeling that you HAVE to use it daily and often several times a day
- Needing more and more each day to get the same effect, eventually increasing the amount of use over time
- Spending money you don’t have for it
- Work, family and social life suffer due to overuse and/or abuse
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut down or quit
Taking a good hard look
These are just some examples and not an exhaustive list of signs of an addiction. It’s also important that we all pay more attention to those around us and understand that it’s not always just one problem that we’re dealing with. Especially before it starts to tear apart our families, our marriages, our work, and our lives.
Please know you are not alone. So many have been where you are and there are many more who are willing to help you find your way again. We also need to be observant of those around us who may be suffering in silence; stand by their side and find them help when and if needed.
It’s hard to know what came first, depression or addiction, but there is help:
- If you are having thoughts of ending your life PLEASE call, text or chat with a representative to help. You are not alone I promise!
- Suicide Preventional Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- For survivors of suicide loss find info here or here
- If you or someone you know struggle with mental illness, find help here.
- If you think you may have a drinking problem find help here
- If you think you may have a drug or opioid abuse problem find help here
- If you think you may have a pornography addiction, find help here or here.
Sometimes we need to give a voice to those who don’t have one.
Be that voice, be that change.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Do you feel there is too much focus on drinking while parenting? Do you feel snubbed by those who drink or do you feel snubbed because you do? Leave a comment below!