Why Mummy DOES NOT need any wine

Why Mummy DOES NOT need any wine

By Rachel creator of @thesobernotebook IG and TikTok linktr.ee/thesobernotebook

 

I wore my virtual ‘Wine Mum’ badge with some kind of strange pride because it offered a fun, normal and justified perception of my drinking rather than a shameful, unhealthy or problematic one…

 

Not long after my eldest was born 8 years ago, I began popping the corks at home ‘to celebrate’ whenever we had visitors over. They’d be saying “ah you deserve it, have another one” or “you’re making up for lost time” The encouragement and the subliminal messages to drink alcohol as a new mum was coming from literally everywhere. From thoughtful online care packages from friends with gin bottles in, to mothers on social media who were actively encouraging ‘mummy wine time’. There were films, TV series, books and I even had one of those god awful prints (I thought was hil-air-i-ous at the time) framed on the kitchen wall “fuelled by coffee, powered by love and sustained by wine” you know the type!? It became my daily mantra and validation to drink. The mummy wine culture of being ‘deserving of a drink after a hard day’ hit a chord, and it was something I was keen to cling onto.

 

I wasn’t drinking huge amounts in the early days but ANY opportunity for a night out, I was there. I drank to excess and I was a big binge drinker. I genuinely didn’t see the point of drinking unless it was to get tipsy or drunk. It enabled me to reconnect with my old party girl identity and was a quick and easy way to reassure myself and my newfound mummy friends that I was still “young and fun”. The approval from others in this new world of motherhood meant everything to me. What started as a great night whereby I’d be laughing and dancing on the tables, would more often than not result in me either losing something (usually a phone, bank card or a shoe!) being unattractively sick or equally grim – an emotional crying mess. I nearly always regretted it the following morning when the children were awake and demanding my attention at 6am. I’d tell myself “ugh, never again” but I quickly excused my drunken antics from the night before as just another funny story. Boy, I could have written a book with the number of stories I collected! I wore my virtual ‘Wine Mum’ badge with some kind of strange pride because it offered a fun, normal and justified perception of my drinking rather than a shameful, unhealthy or problematic one.

 

Over time and as my children grew older and less dependent on me (and during a national lockdown!) I began to drink more at home. It creeps up on you. One glass a night, led to two glasses, quickly led to a whole bottle 3-4 evenings a week. I began to have a niggle that maybe I was drinking more than I should when I kept making all these silly rules about it. I used to force myself out of the house hungover some weekends and do loads of activities with my boys, just TO PROVE I was still functional and didn’t have a problem. The doom cloud of anxiety became darker and harder to shift after each binge session and used to linger for days. I began hiding bottles in the recycling and was feeling increasingly embarrassed, anxious, tired and irritable. I was far from being the Mother or role model I wanted be for my children. 

 

In the end I’d had enough of my own excuses and the way I was feeling. The very thing that I used to love and look forward to, was having a negative impact on my life, relationships and wellbeing. I decided one rainy day in the library (I’d taken my boys there as I needed some quiet!!) that I’d had ‘completed’ alcohol. It had been good for twenty years or so, but I was OUT. It didn’t align with what I wanted from life anymore and it was making everything so much harder. I picked up some self-help books and started to educate myself about the harmful effects of alcohol and addiction.

 

I am now (and very proudly) nearly 6 months alcohol free. A milestone I NEVER thought was possible back in that dreary library aisle! I can clearly look back and see now how damaging and toxic the wine culture was and STILL is for so many women. What I needed after giving birth and in the years that followed wasn’t alcohol but help, love, support, connection and a break to escape some responsibility. Removing the booze isn’t a magic fix for solving everything life throws at you, but it’s given me the freedom and time to work things through and to rediscover myself again. As life changes, so do we and it doesn’t make us any less fun. I’m loving making new connections, getting involved in new hobbies and doing some of the things I probably would have laughed at when I was drinking like a boozeless afternoon tea or brunch! I still LOVE being sociable and going out with other Mum’s but it’s the meaningful chats, connections with friends, the music, the food, the dancing and the break itself I enjoy. Looking back, this is what I ALWAYS loved from a night out, I never needed any alcohol to be who I am or who I thought I was supposed to be. Alcohol was nothing more than an addictive accessory.

 

Having an awareness that alcohol could be affecting you negatively is the first step in changing your relationship with it. If you’re noticing that this trend has an effect on you, then you can start to separate from this ‘mummy wine’ culture and adopt a healthier relationship with alcohol or maybe even ditch the booze completely. Whatever age you are, it’s never too late to change. You don’t need to wait for alcohol to take more from you than it already has. Ditching the booze is honestly the best parenting hack of them all! I am excited for the next chapter of my life as a Mum who’s present, happy and who’s found a genuine passion for living and for life again. 

 

She’s always been there, she just got lost for a while.

 

This mummy DOES NOT need any wine.