Beware wine mums: Reaching for a drink to cope with the stresses of parenting could lead to problems down the line
- Experts warn drinking to cope with parenthood street could cause issues
- Those who drink like a ‘wine mum’ have higher problematic drinking issues
A long day battling tantrums and other irritations will have even the most patient of mums joking that they deserve a glass of wine.
But experts have warned that reaching for a drink to cope with the stresses of parenting could lead to problems down the line.
Researchers recruited 466 mothers, and gave them a description of ‘wine mum’ culture – which means using alcohol to ‘get through the day’ or ‘cope with the challenges of motherhood’.
The women were given a questionnaire about their drinking habits. The results showed that while many of them joked about their drinking – and were part of social media groups with light-hearted names such as ‘mums who drink wine’ or with the hashtag ‘#sendwine’ – those who said they drank like a ‘wine mum’ were found to have a higher level of problematic drinking.
This meant they admitted to binge-drinking, memory loss after drinking and feeling remorseful after drinking. They were also more likely to have issues around food, such as skipping meals to avoid extra calories after drinking wine, or eating less so they could feel the effects of alcohol faster after a stressful day.
Experts have warned that reaching for a drink to cope with the stresses of parenting could lead to problems down the line (Stock Image)
Dr Erin Hill, who led the study of British and American mothers at West Chester University in the US, said: ‘There is a light-heartedness around wine mum culture where women joke about having three glasses of wine after a long, hard day with a toddler, for example.
‘It helps women to bond, to feel camaraderie and social support when they might feel isolated or that they are not coping.
‘But the potentially negative effects of drinking too much alcohol are a risk and should not be overlooked.’
Women who agreed they drank like a stereotypical ‘wine mum’ tended to score more highly on alcohol-related food issues, which at their most extreme included making themselves sick after drinking to get rid of the extra calories (Stock Image)
The study, published in the journal Alcohol, gave women questionnaires on both problematic drinking and issues around food which were linked to alcohol. Women who agreed they drank like a stereotypical ‘wine mum’ tended to score more highly on alcohol-related food issues, which at their most extreme included making themselves sick after drinking to get rid of the extra calories.
The food issues fell into four categories including bulimic behaviour, exercising and dieting, eating less to get more intoxicated by alcohol, and skipping meals to make up for the calories from drinking.
Mothers who reported being more stressed were more likely to fall into the last two categories – and this was even more the case if they drank like a ‘wine mum’.
Women with poor body image, who agreed with statements including that they were afraid to gain weight, were more likely to skip meals to make up for the calories from alcohol. This was also especially the case among ‘wine mums’.
Dr Hill said: ‘The wine mum stereotype in popular culture may play a role in mothers’ decisions about alcohol use,’ adding: ‘More research is needed, but it is possible drinking ‘like a wine mum’ may be related to problems with coping. Women really need to be self-aware about how much they are drinking.’
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