A 2013 study that appeared in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research reported that college women…
When Supermom Becomes Drinking Mom
Being supermom isn’t easy. You have a job. You take care of the kids. You feel like everyone relies on you and you feel the pressure to keep up with what other moms are doing for their kids, even if they don’t work outside the home. To cope with it all you reach for a glass of wine after dinner. That’s not so bad, right? They say a glass of wine a day may actually be good for you. So when does that one glass of wine transition to problem drinking?
Pressure and Consequences of Being Supermom
Being a supermom is an ideal that no woman can live up to, at least not without suffering the mental health consequences. Most moms struggle with decisions about child care, staying home and working and are never fully satisfied. Moms choosing to stay home full time may feel they’re missing out on a career while working moms struggle with the guilt of passing child care over to someone else.
Research suggests that the pressure a woman puts on herself to do it all, to work and be a totally involved mother, can cause her to suffer from anxiety, stress and depression. In one study from the University of Washington, researchers found that working moms suffered fewer mental health issues than stay-at-home moms. They also found that women who rejected the ideal of the supermom had the best mental health. Those who tried to achieve supermom status were most likely to suffer from depression.
‘Mommy Needs a Drink’ Phenomenon
It comes as no surprise that women who subscribe to the idea that they can be supermoms and be everything to everyone end up stressed and depressed. It’s also no surprise that these women might turn to alcohol to decompress and to cope with negative feelings. Social media has certainly helped to contribute to the myth that all moms need a drink, with popular groups like “Mommy Needs a Beer” and “Moms Who Need Wine.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the gap between men and women is quickly closing when it comes to drinking. Women are drinking more than ever and more heavily than ever, with one in eight women binge drinking at least three times a month. And this increase in drinking isn’t just for young singles. Career women and married women, both with and without children, are drinking more these days.
Crossing the Line and Coming Back
How can you tell if you have crossed the line with your drinking? Ask yourself why you drink and if you could cut back drastically or stop altogether. Also consider whether drinking is getting in the way of any of your responsibilities or affecting your relationships. A drink a night is within the range of moderate drinking, but more than that may be crossing the line. The real test should be to stop for a week and see how you feel. Are you craving your nightly glass of wine? Or do you actually feel better in the morning and more rested after forgoing alcohol?
If you’re worried about your drinking, cut back or stop for a period of time. If you find you can’t, you may need some extra support. Tell your spouse or someone else you trust and work together to get your drinking habit under control. If you still struggle to stop, consider seeing a counselor or therapist to help you work through not only the drinking, but also the underlying issues and the pressures you feel to be a supermom. You and your children will benefit when you take these steps.