February 20, 2018

Dear Moms: If we don’t stop the Madness, we’re Going to Drink ourselves to Death.

Last week, The New York Post aimed to shed light on a disturbing new “trend”: drinking among moms.

A recent study showed that between 2002 and 2013, the number of women consuming four-plus drinks per day rose nearly 60 percent, and those who met the criteria for alcohol abuse rose 84 percent.

What gives?

If you’re a mom living in 2018, you already know the answer to this question. Just take a peek at Pinterest, Facebook, and Snapchat. These days, there are the “room moms,” the “team moms,” the “hot moms,” the “granola moms”—and many of us feel like we need to be all of the above. We need to look good. We need to be involved. We need to buy non-GMO and organic. We need to drive to two different sports practices every night. We need to post pictures proving we are good moms on social media. We need to be there—for every skinned knee, classroom performance, drop-off, soccer game, skateboard stunt—not to mention the big meeting at work and the early-morning Orange Theory class.

For many, it’s pushing us over the edge.

I speak from experience. I personally can’t remember a single night in the last few years that I have not had a nightcap before crawling into bed, already dreading the thought of another grueling day the next morning. With two young boys, a full-time job, and extra freelance work, I would already be spent at the end of a normal evening. But today, when kids participate in numerous sports each season, schools require reading and fun time to be logged and calculated, and the expectations to have all, do all, cook all, and be all—I don’t just need a drink. I need a break from the life I’m living. Quite simply put, this kind of “mom-ing” is not sustainable.

Back in the day, moms worried about one thing: keeping their kids alive. But with the rise of social media and other cultural pressures, women themselves have bought into a whole new concept of parenting—one where there is literally no end to what we need to be doing as moms (or as women in general) be it baking organic food, sugaring our private parts for our husbands, or driving our kids to 10 different sports practices a week (not including games).

[Interesting fact: If you Google “stressed fathers turn to alcohol,” you won’t see the same kind of problem. Also interesting: women develop depression twice as much as men.]

This pressure has led many moms to feel depressed and stressed, turning to the bottle for some small semblance of relief. The pain is literally part of the culture, and we as women are making the decision—every single day—to buy in to it. The alcohol? It’s just our coping mechanism. It helps us forget how much we hate living.

You guys: the answer to this problem is simpler than people realize. We need to stop.

In the book Emotionally Healthy Women, Geri Scazzero tells us all the things we need to quit to get back to enjoying life again. The very first one: caring what other people think. We need to have the backbone to decide our kids don’t need three practices a week, we don’t need to attend every birthday party, we don’t have to make crafts for the classroom celebration or send pictures of every performance to the extended family. We don’t need to be on Facebook. We don’t need to prove we are good, better, or best.

We don’t need to prove—or pretend—we are happy.

The fact remains: Our kids will survive if we bow out of the pressures of modern-day mom-ing. On the other hand, if we don’t, we will face the very real possibility that we no longer want to be living. It’s time that we, as women, put an end to the madness. This week, I urge you: delete your social media apps from your phone, quit at least one activity, order take-out, and skip the gym in lieu of a hot bubble bath.

Find a new way—your own way—to parent in a way that is healthful and works for you and your family. In the end, that’s the only thing that matters.



Author: Jess Stonefield
Image: gparrish/Instagram; Pixabay
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson

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