Hey, New Moms, Stop Drinking
In her new book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, Ann Dowset claims that our need to drink a glass or two of wine a night is part of a systemic problem linked to a mother's desire for perfection.
Hey new moms, just in case you aren’t already stressed out about vaccines, Tylenol, your baby’s milestones, working, not working, breastfeeding, formula, sleep and your ruined lady bits—just to name a few—you now have one more thing to worry about: that glass of wine that you have to, you know, help you relax.
In her new book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, Ann Dowset claims that our need to drink a glass or two of wine a night is part of a systemic problem linked to a mother’s desire for perfection. In an excerpt from her book posted on The Daily Beast, Dowset writes, “Is alcohol the modern woman’s steroid, enabling her to do the heavy lifting involved in a complex, demanding world? Is it the escape valve women need, in the midst of a major social revolution still unfolding?
“For many women, the answer is a resounding yes.”
She goes on to chronicle her daily 1-2 glass of wine a night habit that she developed as a new mom and claims it led to a drinking problem. But as it turns out, her slippery slope argument is also based on slippery science. Most studies show that while rates of alcoholism in women are increasing, men still out drink women. And while the National Institute on Heath reports, “…among the heaviest drinkers, women equal or surpass men in the number of problems that result from their drinking,” the risk of alcoholism is more closely linked to genetics than stress factors. Further, a study by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a Professor of Psychology at Yale University, found that problem avoidance was more of a trigger for men than women.
By her own account, Dowset didn’t develop a true problem until her son left for college. Then, she used alcohol not to relieve stress or transition from work to home, but to fill the void left by her son. Of course, that doesn’t make for a compelling book. So, we’re left with alarmist headlines about moms drinking too much. Which is ironic, considering the premise of the book is that women are worried about perfectionism, so they drink.
Ultimately, the problem here isn’t drinking, it’s our societal inability to allow mothers’ to have a vice. It’s the problem of a pedestal. Mothers are highly valued until they screw up. Then they are the problem with everything. And Dowset, while bemoaning standards of perfection, is willing to look askance at moms grabbing a drink while cooking dinner. It’s a lose-lose isn’t it? And frankly, it makes me want to have a glass of wine.
I will say this: If they come for my coffee, I’m coming for them.
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