Since a young age, the message that motherhood is stressful was clearly communicated. I recall with clarity the Calgon water softener commercial where a mother behind a locked door is ignoring the chaos of her life while taking a luxurious bath. "Calgon, take me away!"
Well, times have changed, and it's not Calgon that mothers are calling for. This week, a Today's Moms article piqued my interest about how moms who smoke pot to unwind at the end of the day are tired of the criticism directed at them by wine-drinking moms who imbibe for the same reasons.
“Being judged for doing something nontoxic and totally organic, enjoying a god-given plant, by moms who suck back two bottles of Chardonnay like sports drinks feels like s---,” complained one of the pot-smoking moms in the article.
According to U.S. Department of Health surveys, about 4 percent of women categorize themselves as heavy drinkers, consuming more than one alcoholic drink per day or binge drinking (five or more drinks) more than five times over the last 30 days and 7.8 percent of women reported marijuana use in the past year.
While this is a minority of women, drinking wine has become a popular topic among the maternal crowd. Perhaps it is just that drinking is more socially acceptable for women than it ever has been before, or no topic is off-limits with the boom of social media and blogisphere. Some of my favorite mommy blogs discuss taking a timeout for some wine, drinking some "mommy juice" or "mommy elixir." Just because they write about it doesn't mean I think they are half in the bag every night from the overwhelming stress of mommyhood.
However, does making light of stress-induced drinking make it seem too normal? Are there moms out there taking what is meant to be self-deprecating humor at face value and saying, "bottoms up" because they thinking it's the thing to do? According to Pot Mom, why stop there--if a mom's going to drink to unwind, why not take a hit of marijuana?
It seems that it's becoming easier to publicly excuse inappropriate behavior as an escape from reality. I'm worried that we are only one horrible reality TV show away from completely desecrating the name of motherhood: something very dear to my heart.
As a "mommy writer", I feel a sense of responsibility to throw a disclaimer out into the world. While I do like having wine at the end of the day to unwind, I drink in moderation and not everyday. There are many other ways to relax at the end of the day that do not involve any substances at all! Here are 20 ways to de-stress without the use of a substance:
- Go on a walk
- Browse Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter
- Read a book
- Work on a craft
- Call a friend
- Send an email
- Write a letter
- Chat with your husband
- Have sex with your husband
- Read a magazine
- Go to the gym
- Play a card game
- Watch a DVR'd show
- Give yourself a mani/pedi
- Find new music on iTunes
- Listen to your favorite music
- Take a bath
- Write in a journal
Yes, motherhood is stressful, and has its ups and downs to contend with. However, if you feel like you need a substance, be it marijuana or alcohol, at the end of every day to recover from the trials of parenting, seeking help or counseling may serve you well.
Moms, please de-stress responsibly.