Mommy Doesn’t Need A Drink


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sobriety in motherhood

I have a fraught relationship with alcohol, and I’d hazard a guess that I’m not alone, particularly when it comes to motherhood. 

The “mommy needs a drink” notion is pervasive. It’s everywhere we turn: social media, clothing, television, etc. It’s lauded as the reward from a long day of momming or as a way to bond us to our fellow mom friends. We see influencers doing Instagram Lives of their cocktail recipes or close friends posting photos of filled-to-the-brim glasses of red wine after a long day.

We live in a society where alcohol — and the choice to consume it — is celebrated and encouraged at every turn. The majority of social events are built around drinking alcohol, making abstinence even more challenging. When someone declines to drink, she is often faced with scrutiny and sometimes downright opposition. Why is alcohol the only drug that we, as a society, allow to have such power, so much so that if someone abstains, we see it as weird or abnormal?

Mostly Sober

During the past year or so, I’ve lived a mostly sober life (and that’s not because I was pregnant at any point). It’s because the pandemic, and giving birth to my second child at the start of it, finally made me question my relationship to and usage of alcohol. I decided that in order to be the mom I want to be — patient, intentional, unruffled — alcohol could have very little role.

Lest you think me a saint, let me be clear: I used to drink. A lot. It’s a common trope of our society that college is a no-holds-barred kind of party, and I bought in, big time. Many of us have reasons that our drinking can go too far. For me, it was a way to numb painful childhood trauma, though at the time, I thought I was just having fun.

As I entered adulthood and am now well into my 30s, while I certainly don’t booze like I used to, I still find myself questioning my motives for drinking and how much is too much.

sober curious momIt’s a really gray area for me. Sometimes I crave a chilled glass of pale pink rosé on a warm summer evening or a crisp beer while watching a football game, but I know how easy it is to say you’re going to have one and then continue to reach for another . . . and another. 

Sober Curious

Alcohol use occurs on a spectrum and just because one drinks, it doesn’t mean she has a drinking problem. But many of us are questioning why we drink and what benefit it has in our lives. Choosing not to drink can be for a season or it can be for a lifetime. 

The “sober curious” and “conscious drinking” movements are quickly gaining steam, giving voice to those who, like me, are in those gray areas. Like many others, I don’t have a dependency on it and don’t feel that I need an active recovery plan, but the questions of how it affects my health and wellness are enough to make me abstain.

I’ve decided, for the most part, that drinking alcohol is just not worth it to me in this season. Any time I have something to drink, I wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep until it’s nearly time for my kids to wake up. It makes me tired. It makes me want to eat food that I don’t typically eat. It makes me a very impatient and quick-to-anger mom.

I’ve experienced nothing but benefits from living my mostly-sober life: I sleep better, I eat better, my clothes fit better, I don’t wake up groggy or with a headache, I have more energy and clarity. Best of all, my anxiety is way down. I didn’t realize how anxious drinking made me until I stopped.

sober curious motherhood

Sober Source

I’ve found other ways to cope with emotional pain. I’ve found other things to do that fill my time (Hint: hobbies help. As do lots of bubbly soda water concoctions).

But most important, I don’t want my kids to see me drunk or see me have a fraught relationship with alcohol. I don’t want to scare them with the truth of alcohol at a young age: It changes who you are and how you behave. I want them to have the safe, secure childhood I didn’t have. There’s no way my drinking is going to give that to them. 

If you’re curious about sobriety (even if it’s just for a season), here are a few resources to check out:

If you feel your alcohol consumption is beyond your control, you can get help through the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator.


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