Becoming a mother is a transitional period in a woman’s life involving a number of personal, social, and biological changes. However, researchers have found that our view of motherhood is influenced by our social and cultural norms. Motherhood is performative, meaning that women are expected to behave in ways that correspond to how we (as a society) think mothers should act. For example, “good” mothers must fulfill a number of requirements, including:

  • Successfully juggling their personal and professional lives;
  • Dedicating their lives to their child; and,
  • Fulfilling all socially expected roles that make up what we think a woman and mother should be (e.g., a cook, a cleaner, a protector, a driver, etc.)

However, women do not all fit into these socially constructed boxes. Their identities are made up of so much more than those three elements listed above, and many women are turning to alcohol as a way to subvert those social norms. Alcohol is an important tool that women are using to re-create their own identities of what it means to be a mother and a woman.

The ‘wine mom’ is typically a middle-aged mother who enjoys drinking refined or “classy” wines. The wine mom culture is an intentionally comical portrayal. It uses alcohol to subvert the idea of constant perfection that is often associated with motherhood. Mothers will share photos of themselves drinking wine while performing typically “motherly” duties, like cooking, doing laundry, and watching their children. The wine mom culture involves jokes comparing wine to “mommy juice” and puns such as “when they whine, I wine.”

A number of articles and editorials written by self-proclaimed ‘wine moms’ have been published in online blogs and news outlets. From the information shared in these articles, it appears that mothers are using the wine mom culture as a way to talk about the challenges of motherhood in a supportive, judgement-free community. (Read more…)