One of the more disturbing trends in the recent shift in the culture of alcohol and women is the promotion of “Mommy Juice”. If you Google the term, you can find a plethora of paraphernalia emblazoned with these words – wine glasses, t-shirts, there’s even a brand of wine called “MommyJuice”. But behind this cutesy phrase is an epidemic of women who have lost control of their relationship with alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), over 5 million women aged 18 and older in the United States have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Women who drink alcohol, especially in excessive amounts, can develop chronic diseases, such as liver and breast cancer, are at a higher risk of sexual assault, and may even experience “memory loss and shrinkage of the brain”. When considering the physical consequences of alcohol use among women, it seems outrageous that it is being marketed as something so innocuous as “juice for mothers”.
Women are being encouraged to drink as a way to deal with the stress of their lives as wives and mothers. And women nowadays are experiencing stress, especially married women. The American Psychological Association reports that 28% of women experience a “great deal of stress” (33% of married women and 22% of single women). So, what’s wrong with a few glasses of wine at the end of the day to decompress?
In addition to the higher risk of poor physical health, women who use alcohol to cope may actually increase their risk for major depression. But the consequences of alcohol use do not just affect the woman: children who observe their mother drinking may be at a higher risk of modeling the same behavior as they get older. This study concluded before the onslaught of “Mommy Juice”, so it’s yet to be determined if this new era will have an even greater impact on the drinking behaviors of children raised by wine-toting parents.
Maybe there are ways to put a stop to the “Mommy Juice” phenomenon. There has already been backlash on popular websites accurately calling out “Mommy Juice” for what it is – an attempt to normalize alcohol consumption and sweep the issues related to unhealthy drinking behaviors under the rug. However, our society needs to find better ways to support stressed-out moms and dads, give them outlets for dealing with stress in healthy ways, and tone down the “you can have it all” mentality that is pervasive among women who want careers, families, friends, and lives outside of the home.
If children grow up with parents who don’t have to turn to “Mommy Juice” in order to cope, we may be able to prevent another generational increase in rates of binge drinking. However, we all need to work together to find ways to combat the influence and power of a multi-billion dollar industry, that has spent an enormous amount of time and money targeting men, women, and children in order to sell them on a way of life that they argue can only be achieved through a nightly glass of wine/beer/liquor. We need to be vigilant in spreading the message that we know women are stressed, but there are ways to relax and enjoy life – even without “Mommy Juice”.