Why Dry January Worries Me

Why Dry-January Worries Me

Why Dry January Worries Me

There’s something about Dry-January that worries me. Everywhere you look on social media through January, there are people sharing their woes of struggling through a month without alcohol, and today many will be embracing their first glass in 31 days.

There’s nothing wrong with the good glass of wine or two, or grabbing a glass of wine when the day has climbed on top of you and beaten you into submission. Most of us have done it.

But, somewhere along the line, alcohol and parenthood and in particular motherhood have become synonymous. That wine is the life’s blood that gets us through day to day. The only way we can wade through the quagmire of filthy nappies, tantrums, thrown food, pee on the floor and sea of primary coloured plastic.

The internet is awash with memes. You know the ones, here are just a few I found after a quick Google:

  • ‘I still don’t understand what a wine stopper is for’
  • ‘It’s strange how 8 glasses of water a day seems impossible, but 8 glasses of wine can be done in one meal’
  • ‘The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink’
  • ‘Technically you’re not drinking alone if your kids are home’
  • ‘If you have to ask if it’s too early to drink wine… you’re an amateur and we can’t be friends’

These memes seem to be particularly targeted at Mums. Most parents know that parenting is wonderful, but parenting is hard. It seems that it is a given that all Mums are counting down the time until it’s acceptable that they can have a drink to get over how hard it is to be a parent.

I think most of us all enjoy a glass or wine, gin, prosecco or whatever your poison is. But the popularist view that it’s the only way that mothers can cope is demeaning and damaging.

A modern day generalisation that Mums can only cope with all life throws at them by drowning their sorrows in a bucket of wine, undermines all that the average day to day mother achieves. The juggle of work, home, parenting and life is all-consuming, most of us know this. And there are days I know I smash it, and days when all the balls fall over the floor in a colourful mess. But that’s life. Am I a  heavy drinker because of this… no.

It also makes me uncomfortable that alcohol, or wine in particular is celebrated as an everyday escapism for many reasons. For example, when you come to rely on something everyday to change the way you feel, to make you feel better, to just get you through life, it makes me worry that at some point the line between treat and dependence will be crossed. And that there are mothers who are genuinely struggling with their relationship with alcohol that need help, but the flippant way it is addressed makes them believe it’s ok, that all Mums are doing it, and so it is normal. The belief that everyone’s drinking a bottle a day, so they don’t have a  problem. But I would argue – kindly – that maybe they do.

If you regularly enjoy a glass of wine then great. But, let’s not continue to undermine mothers. We’re not all a shaking mess counting down the time until we can drown our sorrows in alcohol.

Let’s also take out the shame. The shame of failure, exhaustion and the day when all those balls are running all over the floor like a tsunami. Life isn’t perfect. And quite frankly that’s ok.

If dry January is just a detox after the excesses of Christmas then great, but if you are genuinely worried about your daily consumption then reach out because there is always someone out there waiting to help you. And let’s stop sharing those memes, do they are really do any good? We want to build Mums up, not sink them down in the flippant and potentially harmful opinion that we’re all sinking our sorrows in giant wine glasses.

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