There is a meme currently making the social media rounds that encourages mothers to use predictive text to complete the sentence “Mommy drinks because…” My responses have centered around the fact that normalizing the association between motherhood and alcoholism through thoughtless memes isn’t really all that funny to me. I’ve been called a party-pooper and a stick in the mud. I’ve been told that I have no sense of humor. (These people obviously aren’t privy to the fact I was voted “Most Fun to Be Around” by my high school graduating class of 1998, but I’ll spare you the yearbook photo. I’m clearly a riot to be around, but I digress.)
Many women can drink alcohol without it ever becoming problematic. If you are one of those women, I’m honestly happy for you. I get that this is a joke.
However, if you are saying, “Mommy drinks because…” and the honest answer is anything other than “I’m a grown-ass woman who can do so responsibly and enjoys it,” then you’re using an external reason to justify your alcohol consumption. That seems problematic to me.
I will never find it amusing to laugh at the expense of women instead of empowering them to handle life’s situations in healthy and sustainable ways. Call me a party-pooper, but I just don’t think that’s funny.
According to the CDC, drinking (even not in excess) can cause more long-term health problems in women than in men. I personally really like my mom friends and I don’t want them to be ill. Call me crazy if you want, but I’d like them to feel well and ultimately stick around long enough for us to ride old lady scooters around the retirement home together while we complain about our adult children.
Drinking heavily is much more risky for women than it is for men. It’s fair to note here that I likely won’t applaud you if you take up smoking or street-racing either. I won’t judge you, but I certainly stand on the sidelines and laugh while you take unnecessary risks.
It’s Not Funny if it’s True
I’m not going to laugh at you while you try something that won’t work for the long haul. If drinking helps alleviate your stress and problems now, it won’t be long until that doesn’t work anymore. I’d rather try a hot-yoga class and sweat and fall on our butts together or go get pedicures and chat if you feel stressed. There are so many ways to take care of ourselves and relieve stress that don’t include a health risk. I would much rather spend time with you doing something empowering that makes you feel alive and happy.
It’s Not Just About You
The most sobering (pun intended) reason I won’t be laughing at your meme is that more than ten percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems. It maddens me to think that many of those children will grow up believing their parents drank because of them. It may seem harmless and funny, but when we say things like “my kids are driving me to drink” it places the blame on them. Nope. Just nope. I own my poor choices. Those are not on my kids, those are on me. Only me. I will not raise a daughter who believes that she is responsible for the choices of the people around her. I cannot expect to do that if I’m not willing to speak out against it.
It’s a Real Problem for Many
Recent statistics show that 5.3 million women are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. That number is staggering and that’s just among reported and diagnosed cases. Now, you can chose what you want, but I’m not going to take a chance I’d be harming a friend by sharing a meme that pokes fun at her expense any more than I’d give a diabetic friend a sugar-laden cupcake. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Blaming others for our drinking or justifying it based on other people is dangerous and unhealthy. I’m not going to laugh at that, no matter how harmless some may think it is.
My personal choices are not a judgment on yours, but I am not obligated to laugh at another person’s expense.
I am for moms.
I’m for moms who are real and fighting their battles in the trenches of parenting with me. I’m for empowering moms to handle what life throws at them.
I will stand beside you and laugh and cry with you, but I won’t laugh at your expense or demean your struggles for a cheap laugh at a meme. You mean too much to me.