Real Talk for SAHMs: Why Christian mommybloggers need to put down the shot glasses

It’s practically a trope among popular Christian mommybloggers like Simcha Fischer to promote liquor drinking among SAHMs as a coping mechanism.  It’s increasingly hard to tell how much of it is is haha only serious or just serious.  And it’s got to stop.  It’s incredibly alienating to the average SAHM because most people don’t drink, much less drink at the bingey rates implied by some of those ostensibly Christian mommybloggers.

And it’s especially the case that most women don’t drink.  Alcohol tastes gross or smells gross to most women during the time in their lives when they get pregnant and nurse (ask me how I know!), so the kind of conservative Christian housewife reading these bloggers for commiseration is going to feel weird that she doesn’t want to turn to drink when things are overwhelming and wearying.  She’ll wonder what’s wrong with herself for not being able to consider such a cheap and easy means of short term respite.  Or she’ll wonder if all the other SAHMs do that and she’s just the puritan weirdo who’s too uptight.

Or she’ll take a chance and try it, and end up like this dame.  Before she broke up her marriage, she was big on posting pictures of her drinking and doing “Girl’s Nights Out” as a SAHM.

That’s the other poisonous aspect.  It positions having a few drinks as the only respite housewives are allowed that’s socially acceptable, so support among friends and family shifts to providing “Girl’s Nights Out” rather than actual help when they need it during the day.

It’s insidious even though it looks like joking, but it’s way too frequently thrown about to feel very funny.

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36 thoughts on “Real Talk for SAHMs: Why Christian mommybloggers need to put down the shot glasses

  1. I agree that talk of day-drinking is not as ha ha funny as people make it. These days, you can walk into just about any novelty store and walk out with a pile of “mama needs wine” paraphernalia (or similar).

    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/1/261199-mama-needs-some-wine-stemless-wine-glass.html

    A friend said she only realized that her drinking had gone too far once she got pregnant and couldn’t drink anymore. So there is a natural brake (especially as these days, most women are very scrupulous about observing the Thou Shalt Nots of pregnancy).

    I am skeeved out by this product (although I realize it’s useful):

    http://www.toysrus.com/buy/accessories/milkscreen-home-test-for-alcohol-in-breast-milk-8-pack-ms008-11514939

    I’m afraid there may be a stealth epidemic of alcoholism among mothers. And it hasn’t been this socially acceptable in at least 40 years.

    (Historical note: St. Augustine’s literally sainted mother had a drinking problem.)

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  2. I lost a previous comment–apologies if it pops up again.

    I agree that the mama-wants-wine thing has gone way too far. It’s not funny anymore when you can walk into any novelty store and come out with an armful of stuff celebrating female alcoholism.

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  3. The answer is: TEA! (And music).

    It’s just more middle class female whining about first world problems. World’s smallest violin and all that.

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  4. I’m surprised to hear about the drinking thing. I thought this was a problem left behind 50 years ago.

    It also makes you wonder what’s going on with these women who need a daytime drink so badly. Instead of spending the money on alcohol, why couldn’t they use those same funds to pay for the services they need during the day? Or ask a neighbor for help and offer to pay them to take care of a few chores? Alcohol is freaking expensive! I fail to see how borderline inebriation is conducive to homemaking. I think my mom would’ve been nuttier if she had taken on this habit…

    This is exactly why my husband insists on keeping a dry house, and why he doesn’t drink.

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    • I don’t know anyone who day drinks, people joke about it because it’s the only thing acceptable to joke about. A lot of women I know are on antidepressants and stimulants, but it’s not acceptable to joke about that.

      I must confess the “most people don’t drink” and “women don’t want to drink during pregnancy and nursing” statements are completely baffling to me. I’ve never known a person my age in this country who didn’t drink, except for a guy of Korean descent who had the allergy gene.

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      • That’s a good point about it being socially acceptable to joke about alcohol, but not antidepressants and stimulants.

        I was trying to find an old music video joking about moms putting oxycontin or oxycodone (?) in their ice tea to get through the day, but I can’t find it.

        I don’t drink, but I grew up in a non-drinking Protestant subculture and got an earful about all my alcoholic grandpas and great-uncles and great-aunties when I was a child. Among the males, especially, it seems to have been more the rule than the exception, including my grandpa’s brilliant, successful and ill-fated veterinarian brother. I also grew up on stories like, “And this is the last dish from the set. Your great auntie used to wash dishes drunk.”

        So, I’ll pass.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @AmyP Understandable!

        Now that I think of it, jokes/non-serious comments about taking pills to cope with stuff have gotten a lot less common recently, maybe because they’re perceived as making fun of mental illness?

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  5. I agree with you that the mommyblogging tee-heeing about drinking is not great, but most people do drink, and mommybloggers aren’t drinking shots, they’re drinking wine.

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  6. Not sure about the day drinking, but I know I was a little surprised to learn (via a community we are a part of which has a lot of homeschool mothers) that it’s not uncommon for a few Christian ladies to go out every now and again and have a couple of drinks to unwind and de-stress.

    Even though I’m a teetotaler myself, I don’t think that drinking in sinful or anything like that. It’s just that I was raised in an era where drinking was largely frowned on among Christians and women in particular. So this new turn of Christian women openly admitting they drink to help them deal has been and interesting turn from my perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mostly don’t drink, but am not opposed to it. (Most alcohol makes me ill). I wouldn’t dream of day-drinking, and one of the reasons we drink so seldom is that we are obsessive about making sure that there is no *chance* that we might need to drive after imbibing. Since I often am driving one or both of my children around to activities in the evening, that reduces my “potential times to drink” substantially. (I didn’t drink while preggy – which is how my work found out I was preggy). I think I average something on the order of a drink every two-three months, which I treat like dessert.

      The wine jokes are getting a little old, yes. And it does seem like social drinking is making a come-back. This may be because of the number of gastro-pups in my town, we’re quite the expensive beer mecca. So the paleo people have a martini instead (my gym people go drinking after workouts sometimes).

      In theory, if I had the constitution for it and someone to drive me, I’d enjoy a cocktail with my best GFs. Not a “girls night out”, ugh. Bars are horrible. But at someone’s home, or nice restaurant? That would be nice. Except it makes me ill. Vexing. I also quite enjoy high tea. Maybe I can be Maeve’s designated driver?

      But to your point about “I need X to deal with my children” – um, yes. How do you balance, “I need an outlet” with “I’ve turned into a shrew”?

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  7. Hearthie said:

    “I wouldn’t dream of day-drinking, and one of the reasons we drink so seldom is that we are obsessive about making sure that there is no *chance* that we might need to drive after imbibing.”

    Yep.

    Also, with little kids, you need to have your wits about you.

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  8. Bear in mind that alcohol is just one of many options for self-medication.

    Food is also an option. (And that one is tricky to avoid falling into for an SAHM, because you can’t be a food teetotaller and by virtue of the job, you’re dealing with food ALL DAY long.)

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  9. I’d be interested to see that graphic on drinking habits…that is so mind-blowing! It’s just always seemed plain as day that most people *do* drink. To see evidence to the contrary would be a) fun and b) reassuring.

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  10. Maybe they didn’t *graduate* but dude, everybody goes now. These women are younger than we are.

    Not all of the ones I know are older than me. A lot of them are in their 30’s, but quite a few are like me, in their early to mid 40’s.

    It seems as the post modern church has abandoned the notion of complete abstinence from alcohol as an absolute Christian requirement that more and more believers of all ages are imbibing in greater numbers.

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    • Elspeth said:

      “It seems as the post modern church has abandoned the notion of complete abstinence from alcohol as an absolute Christian requirement that more and more believers of all ages are imbibing in greater numbers.”

      That’s the “low church” American Protestant norm that I grew up with, but it wasn’t historically true of Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and (I’m guessing) Presbyterians. Martin Luther was very fond of his beer. Hard liquor also used to be part of daily socializing and daily life in a way that it just isn’t today. (Remember all the movie scenes from mid-century where a visitor to an office is automatically offered hard liquor–that would be unthinkable today.)

      Today’s Americans drink only 1/3 as much hard liquor as we did in 1830.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31741615

      However, even in the drinking churches, there probably were more taboos on women drinking than on men drinking.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I was certainly born on the” wrong side of the tracks”, so point taken. Acceptable Christian behavior was much more narrowly defined and rigid.

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      • Elspeth said:

        “Well, I was certainly born on the” wrong side of the tracks”, so point taken. Acceptable Christian behavior was much more narrowly defined and rigid.”

        Yeah.

        When the financial margins are tighter, spending family funds on alcohol and cigarettes is viewed as an unforgivable sin.

        I think nowadays, there’s a large minority of people that kid themselves that they’re foodies and connoisseurs when they’re actually alcoholics. I don’t know that that group even existed in any sort of numbers when we were kids–and certainly not for beer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • While on the subject of Christians and alcohol, I have a long-standing bee in my bonnet that I’d like to get out. *shoo shoo*

        In Catholic circles, one not infrequently encounters men who pride themselves on a Chestertonian love of red meat, alcohol and cigars. Unfortunately for them, even G.K. Chesterton himself wasn’t able to indulge safely in these passions:

        http://www.catholichousehold.com/chestertons-lack-temperance-block-canonization/

        For whatever reason, there doesn’t seem to be a female version of this particular Catholic type.

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      • You Know Who said:

        “Complete abstinence from alcohol as an absolute Christian requirement is just as strange an idea to a lot of us as drinking Christian mommies is to you.”

        I think part of the issue is that drinking culture is very different in different US subcultures and ethnic groups. A lot of US ethnic/cultural groups (including the one I was born into) do not have the equivalent of the genteel glass of wine at dinner.

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  11. I don’t have a problem with drinking, by Christian mommies or otherwise. I don’t think it’s a sin or an absolute Christian requirement. I was specifically sharing what I grew up being taught. In fact every Sunday, we read the baptist church covenant, which was in a frame on the wall, and included this line:

    “To abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drink as a beverage.”

    There is a difference between having a drink of red wine with a steak or white wine with scampi and drinking for the express purpose of dealing with the stresses of wife and motherhood. That is what I was referring to.

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  12. When the financial margins are tighter, spending family funds on alcohol and cigarettes is viewed as an unforgivable sin.

    My dad drank beer and smoked cigs until I was well into my teens, LOL.

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  13. I was just at World Market yesterday and I discovered they have quite a few “ha ha female alcoholism” Mother’s Day cards. So, yeah, this is a thing.

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