The liquor industry has been stunningly successful in its efforts to market directly to mothers. So much so that it's become an acceptable way to deal with the stress of parenting.
From play dates to birthday parties, the wine always makes an appearance; juice for the little ones and mommy juice for the grown-ups.
The "Moms Who Need Wine" Facebook page has more than 700,000 followers!
As the t-shirt says:
- Motherhood: Powered by love, Fuelled by coffee, Sustained by Wine
The harsh reality is that parenting is hard – but alcohol isn't going to make it any easier. Parenting "under the influence" can be dangerous.
Supervision of small children requires total attention, as does driving the older ones to their various activities.
That glass of wine at the end of the day seems like a just reward for a busy working parent, but how many people just have one glass? That glass can easily become two and over the years become a bottle every evening.
Alcohol is particularly hazardous for women and drinking more than a bottle and a half of wine a week is considered a health risk.
Women are prone to heart and liver disease as a result of risky drinking - not to mention the proven link between alcohol and breast cancer.
Many moms know in their hearts that parenting and alcohol don't mix but have no idea how to make a change. The normalisation of drinking has become so ingrained that it takes confidence and courage to make a stand.
Why Sober Curious?
That's why the Sober Curious Movement is an exciting development. It started with a book published in 2018 by Ruby Warrington and is fast becoming an international movement.
The Sober Curious are not people with a drinking "problem" – they are people who choose not to drink – because they are curious to see what their life would be like without alcohol in it.
It's about noticing the normalisation of alcohol – and challenging it. It's about having an open mind – and being prepared to experiment. It's about asking the question "what would my life be like without alcohol?"
The Sober Curious drink much less or not at all – and broadcast their alcohol-free lives proudly on social media.
We have Millennial influencers and bloggers on Instagram conveying the message that it's hip not to drink – and of course, drunk is not a good look for all those selfies!
Sober Curious is an essential part of the Wellness Revolution. It just doesn't make sense to eat gluten-free, non-diary, vegan, etc., to spend time meditating and practising yoga – and then drinking the toxin, which is alcohol.
Whereas sipping mindfully on a "botanical cocktail" fits right in. An essential part of being Sober Curious is the ability to drink "mindfully".
To have a glass of very good wine now and then and to savour the taste – quite different from knocking back a bottle of wine every evening to "take the edge off".
People are prepared to go alcohol-free
Mindful Drinking has come to SA and on 20 October Cape Town hosted South Africa's first-ever "Mindful Drinking Festival" which was a resounding success — proving that people are prepared to go alcohol-free, but they want a choice, rather than having to drink water or coke all evening.
There were 40 non-alcoholic beverage exhibitors there as well as some great bands. Plans are afoot to take the Festival to Joburg and to make it an annual event.
The liquor industry has invested heavily in market research and picked up on this trend. By 2025, AB InBev expects 20% of its market to be alcohol-free beers.
How to be a Sober Curious Influencer
The Sober Curious Movement means that the concept of alcohol-free living will reach millions more people and could even represent a societal culture shift towards sobriety.
It will open up a whole new conversation about alcohol – and the role it plays in society. No longer will people have to feel left out or uncool for being sober.
So it looks like the stranglehold that alcohol has had on society could be loosening.
In the meantime here are some tips for sober curious moms:
Take a break from alcohol
Start your Sober Curious experiment by taking a break from alcohol for 30 days. If you want some support then sign up for our Dry January Challenge.
Start anytime up to 31 January and get community and online support. Sign up here.
Be prepared to give some events a miss
If you know that the pressure to drink will be overwhelming then just don't go. Your child doesn't have to miss out. Ask another parent or a friend to take your child to the event.
When you do attend events, arrive late – and have an exit plan
You can ask a trusted friend or parent to bring your child home if they want to stay on.
Have your go-to drinks
Start exploring the alcohol-free choices that are available and find one that you really like. So long as you have a drink in your hand and look happy about it, the other moms will be less likely to pressure you.
Be a Sober Curious Influencer!
Host your own alcohol-free events and meet-ups with moms – have lots of AF choices for people to discover and build up your own Sober Curious Crew. Host an alcohol-free club and a coffee meet-up. Never feel you have to provide alcohol at your child's birthday party.
Wine mom culture is pervasive and dangerous, but it doesn't need to be isolating. It's possible to make mom friends, take your child to events and still remain sober. It's time to be a rebel and not a sheep!
Janet Gourand is the founder of World Without Wine – a social network offering workshops, subscription membership, recovery coaching and online support. Her vision is to support and inspire an alcohol free lifesyle.
Do you feel that many moms are relying on wine just a little too much? Share your story with us, and we could publish your mail. Anonymous contributions are welcome.