The Serious Problem With Those ‘Hilarious’ #Winemom Memes

We parents love us some memes. We share them almost as much as we share pictures of our kids. But while these little squares are great for a quick laugh and helping us feel like we're not alone on this crazy adventure called parenting, it's impossible to ignore that many parenting memes revolve around a common theme: Mommy needs a drink.



There's absolutely zero wrong with a mom enjoying an adult beverage. Maybe you're tossing one back because it reminds you of the person you are, independent of your role as a caretaker for little people, and you want to honor that side of yourself. Maybe you're celebrating an accomplishment at work, or the fact that all of the socks in the dryer somehow had a match. Maybe you're having a drink because yes, being a parent is hard work and sometimes a glass of liquid courage is what we need to wake up and change diapers for another day. 

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But there's obviously a difference between enjoying alcohol responsibly and morphing into a sloppy freshman every night after the kids go down. And at the rate these wine memes are shared, liked, and commented on, it's easy to believe that every mom you know is nursing a major hangover every morning.

Newsome Harlow Wines/Facebook

A study cited by Psychology Today looked at the most common reasons why moms drink. Stress or anxiety, troubled romantic relationships, pressure from family or friends, traumatic experiences, and a general feeling of boredom rounded out the top five -- things we'd all easily raise a glass to. The problem is, these wine memes normalize a culture that encourages women to reach for the glass (or the bottle) whenever life gets hard, and that can have dangerous consequences.

While we think we're sharing these memes as a way to show solidarity with one another, all these "mommy needs her juice box" jokes could be doing more harm than good. For those moms who really are struggling with alcoholism, seeing everyone else talking about drinking all the time could make it easier for them to deny that they need help. And the constant images and jokes about "wine o'clock" being right after bedtime do seem to be having an impact on the rate at which moms are drinking. A recent study in JAMA Psychiatry found that between 2002 and 2013, "high-risk drinking," which is defined as having four or more drinks a day, rose 58 percent among women (which presumably includes a fair number of moms), compared with a 29.9 percent rise in the population overall.

We might be adults, but peer pressure seems to still work on us. All those wine memes just might be part of what's encouraging us to reach for that cork, even subconsciously. "Problem drinking," which is defined as drinking so much you can't stop or drinking so much that it causes significant problems in your life, rose a whopping 83.7 percent among women during the study's period, compared to 50 percent in the population overall.


Whether or not you agree that all these mom wine memes are encouraging or perhaps glorifying alcoholism, there's another problem with them -- if you're a mom who doesn't drink, they can leave you feeling really out of place. Because it's not just memes on the internet. There's tons of #winelife shirts, signs, cards, bags and of course, wine glasses all geared toward moms who drink. The message seems to be everywhere -- being a mom is having a diaper bag in one hand and a wine glass in the other. It can be hard to relate to other moms when the punch line to so many jokes is, "Mommy's having an extra glass tonight!"

I genuinely prefer my calories in cupcake form over liquid. In fact, I'm not sure if there's even a corkscrew in this house or if pinot is white or red. But at the same time, I agree with the underlying sentiment behind these wine memes -- that even though we love our kids to the moon and back, it can be hard to find the silver lining when you're scraping poop out from under your nails or tucking them back in bed for the Ninth. Freaking. Time. 


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I fully admit I'm guilty of hitting that share button on a "It's wine-o'clock" meme or two, not because I have any plans to drink anything other than Coke Zero after sundown, but because I relate to all the moms out there who love their kids but are also very thankful to see bedtime that day. Perhaps I'm not the only one. Maybe there are other moms out there who aren't reaching for a wine glass after their day is done, but are also just looking for that connection with fellow moms who's lives don't look like a Pinterest spread. 

But we should be careful. We caution our kids all the time about what they put on social media, and yet how much do we think about our own feeds. Even if our kids are toddlers, one day they'll have Instagram and Facebook accounts of their own. Do we really want them to see that Mommy posted 87 memes about needing a glass of wine when they were toddlers? 

Perhaps the time has come to branch out our humor a bit, fellow moms. Leggings are going out of fashion, let's send the wine memes with them. Go ahead and toast the end of the night if you still want to, but let's remember that your joke about getting wasted as a mom might not be so funny to everyone. 

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