mother guilt

‘Mama Needs A Drink’ Jokes Exist Because It’s The Damn Truth

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shutterstock_92508637__1393263845_142.196.167.223I love it when people get all up in arms about “mama needs a drink” jokes. Chill out, people. The only reason the joke even exists is because women always have to explain themselves. Also – because it’s the damn truth.

There is no parallel “Daddy needs a drink” market because they aren’t as harshly judged for it. I understand that alcoholism is a serious issue, but can we separate alcoholism from this totally harmless mom meme? Are moms the only ones who reach for a glass of wine at the end of a long day? Nope. Are they the only ones who are constantly justifying it? Yup. Why?

“Happy Hour” is a thing – maybe you’ve heard of it. It starts typically at five o’clock on weekdays, right around the time that the general public gets off work. Coincidence? Of course not. Happy hour exists so people can reward themselves for working all day. Happy hour memes are everywhere – and I don’t see people who enjoy happy hour being constantly shamed or made examples of. People simply don’t feel the need to justify stopping by the bar after work for a drink. Everyone seems to understand this behavior.

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Somehow, we don’t have a hard time understanding that while there are definitely people who drink to excess, everyone who enjoys a happy hour drink on the way home from work doesn’t have to be shamed for it. Not true for moms though, as evidenced by a post on Babble recently, A Sobering Look at the Impact of Mama Likes To Drink Jokes. The writer opens with this:

Did you know that the catchphrase “there’s a chance this is vodka” is trademarked? Did you know that the trademark owner is a mother of three and a wildly popular blogger?

Are we supposed to be more shocked that the phrase is trademarked, or that a mom is the one who trademarked it? Moms are ridiculed constantly for taking their jobs too seriously, then also harassed when they aren’t perfect at all times. What is really going on here?

Beth Burgess, an addiction therapist and the author of The Happy Addict, thinks all mothers would do well to cut back on the booze jokes — not just for the sake of more vulnerable moms, but for their children too.

“There is a danger that using alcohol to cope might be seen as the norm, but having a glass of wine to unwind is not the healthiest way to deal with problems – it just masks them temporarily, and has the added risk of becoming addicted to drinking,” she said. “Moms would be better off having a responsible attitude to alcohol, so that they are effective parents and good role models for their children. Leave the joking for other, less harmful, topics.”

“Having a glass of wine isn’t the healthiest way to deal with problems.” Fair enough, I guess – although there is plenty of research that says it’s okay. I would venture a guess that expecting moms to be constantly buckling under the pressure that every, single moment of their day be utilized to exhibit perfection as an example to their children is much more harmful.

“Mama needs a glass of wine” may be an overused and annoying phrase, but damn if it isn’t the truth after a long day. When we all start believing that moms are actually putting in some hard work with their kids – maybe we’ll stop questioning why they feel they need to enjoy the same harmless reward as the general public – who enjoys happy hour without anyone batting an eye.

(photo: Everett Collection/ Shutterstock)