Alcoholic Housewife Used Booze To Cope With Being A Stay-At-Home Mom
The stress of staying on top of childrearing while also pursuing a career is the new “problem with no name.” The “juggling act” as it’s now being called across the blogosphere is no longer a term of endearment for an on-point mother, but rather indicative of the silent struggle that continues to claim the sanity and mental health of many, many women.
So was the case for Brenda Wilhelmson, mother of two, who worked from home as a freelance writer while also raising her first son. Educated and dedicated to her career, Brenda decided to become a stay-at-home mother after the birth of her baby. Like a lot of new mothers, the isolation of the home began to consume her and she started to feel detached from both her family and her friends. Brenda eventually started drinking to cope with her aloneness and also to reward herself for meeting both her writing deadlines and domestic responsibilities. Eventually her drinking became so excessive that she was awakening hungover each morning. She has penned a book about her efforts to get sober while also being a dedicated mother entitled Diary Of An Alcoholic Housewife.
Most telling about Brenda’s experience is how detached she felt from her friends and her community. As the first in her friends to have a baby, the housewife began to feel estranged from everyone. While her life abruptly changed after the birth of her son, her husband’s did not. She told TODAY:
“I felt very isolated. I had a rich social life before I became a mother and as much as I loved being a mother and I loved being home with my baby, I felt very isolated. I was not having adult conversations very much anymore. I was at home. I was one of the first of my friends to have a child…My husband was working, going out with his friends and I was at home.”
Brenda’s alcoholism sets her apart from the conventional motherhood experience, but her feelings of isolation and detachment from both her spouse and her community are certainly a common sentiment among many mommies. It’s speculated that one of the reasons mothers are so active on social media is because they are in search of such a community that can support them through motherhood. Anthropologists note that contemporary mommies have much less social support than in previous years which has resulted in higher rates of depression.
Brenda’s story, although unique considering her disease, follows a trajectory that many women know so well.