Can We Stop Using Wine & Coffee as Crutches to Make it Through Motherhood?

Motherhood as a crutch_feature

When I read mom blogs or other parenting commentaries on social media, I notice that three themes frequently come up: Netflix, coffee, and wine. It’s as though they are inherent and universal elements of #momlife.

I’m a bit of an outsider in this case, because although I’m a mom, I don’t watch Netflix shows, crave coffee, or drink wine. Yes, really. It does happen.

My family leads a fairly low-tech life. I’m not on Facebook, my kids don’t play video games, and our TV doesn’t have a PVR. We got Netflix about a year ago, and surprisingly, it hasn’t captured our attention. We have a busy schedule of sports and activities, leaving us very little free time to watch anything. As a result, I’m not up to speed on the latest movies or shows (help me – is black the new orange or the other way around?) I don’t have FOMO; I have DAMO (Definitely Am Missing Out). If you’re thinking my old-school lifestyle can’t get any worse, spoiler alert: my family still watches tapes on our VCR. I know it’s archaic, but I’m not ready to part with my VHS copies of Disney classics like Mulan and The Emperor’s New Groove.

Also… and please don’t hate me for this… I don’t drink coffee. I truly don’t like how it tastes. In university, I went to Second Cup and ordered one in a desperate attempt to fit in, but I couldn’t get past the first few sips. I realize these comments may sound sacrilegious to the coffee lovers out there, especially those who frequently visit Starbucks. Ah, Starbucks. In mom culture, it has been elevated to the status of a beloved, trusted friend. But seriously, what is it with that place? There is always a long, slow-moving lineup, and I can’t decipher the complicated instructions or foreign lingo. It’s like an alternate universe where “tall” really means “small” and “hot” isn’t nearly hot enough (it needs to be “extra hot”). For all I know, a Venti Macchiato could be an Italian sports car.

I also can’t relate to the notion of going there to work or study. As an introvert, the idea of sitting for hours surrounded by strangers is nothing short of a nightmare. Plus, it’s so noisy. I suspect the constant sucking sounds heard behind the bar are coming from the milk-heater-upper machine, or possibly it’s large sums of money being vacuumed out of customers’ bank accounts.

Not only have I never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte, I’m not a wine drinker either. I’m not sure when motherhood became synonymous with needing a glass of wine at the end of the day, but I missed the memo. I don’t drink wine, beer, or any alcoholic beverages – not because of any religious or moral principles, just as a personal choice that I’ve held from day one. (I know, I sound like a lot of fun, don’t I?) I don’t judge others’ choices and have no issue with people “enjoying responsibly,” as the beer ads suggest. Still, when reading fellow moms’ social media posts, it doesn’t take long to hit upon a reference to unwinding with a glass of wine. The implied message is that it’s a must-have coping mechanism for life as a parent.

Although I’m comfortable with my choices, I still sometimes feel like there’s an exclusive club and I’m a non-member.

By glorifying binge-watching, coffee and wine on social media, I’m concerned that moms are doing themselves a disservice. These things are presented as crutches that moms have to lean on just to get through our day.

I’d argue that moms are self-reliant, not dependent. The day-to-day tasks of motherhood are powered by our unwavering, undeniable, unconditional dedication to our kids. No mom ever climbed out of bed at 2:00 a.m. to soothe a wailing baby because there was a prize for doing so. Ditto for sleeping on the floor of an unsettled toddler’s room or laundering a young athlete’s uniform at the end of a long day. It’s dedication. It’s instinct. It’s simply what we do.

Being a mom requires elite-level resilience, patience, and sacrifice. Is it a tough job? Yes, without question. Do we deserve to reward ourselves sometimes? Absolutely. I’m not questioning anyone’s right to unwind with an entertaining TV show or a favourite drink. But do we need to speak about these “treats” with such reverence, as if we couldn’t possibly manage without them?

I’m not sure we do.

There’s no medal for motherhood, but if there was, we’d be reluctant to accept it. And, if someone did praise our parenting, we’d be short-changing ourselves if we gave all the credit to a TV show, a hot beverage or a glass of chardonnay. Moms work hard. Period.

Now that’s a topic that should be trending.



  1. Ashleigh on July 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    I’m not quite sure I understand what the point of this article is. It honestly feels like you are shaming people who do enjoy those things that you are so above. Do you consider the wine, coffee, and Netflix comments to be jokes? I don’t completely get the whole Starbucks thing, but to each it’s own.
    As moms right now, we juggle and handle more than ever. I think it’s acceptable to enjoy a cup of coffee, a few episodes consecutively, or a glass or two of wine and being passionate about it.
    This article feels very condescending and as moms who are judged by every nitty gritty detail in this day and age, I don’t think we should be judging eachother and how we get through the day being sane. Everything in moderation!

    I am a single mom to two children and there is no father. It’s all on me. I do what I can by myself to get through the day. That’s all.
    If a cup of coffee or a glass of wine gives me 5 minutes of peace, it’s not really anything you should judge me by.

    I have a few friends who live their lives around their kids’ sports schedules and to be honest, I don’t think that’s any way to live. But who am I to judge. I just wouldn’t write an article about it. Sigh.

  2. Melanie on July 17, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    I agree with Ashleigh – quite a condescending tone to your article. Good for you that you don’t need caffeine or alcohol. Maybe you just needed a public pat on the back from those of us who do need it?

  3. Amanda on July 17, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Yes I completely agree with Ashleigh as well. She said it perfectly. The title of this article already had me upset. I think moms should have every right to do whatever it takes to help them make it through a day and be very proud and passionate about it! Why not? Maybe it helps another mom feel normal if she reads these blogs – that she’s not the only one who needs a good drink at the end of a rough day and not feel bad about it.

  4. Michelle on July 18, 2018 at 1:37 am

    Like the other readers, I was annoyed by this blog which is strange because I don’t have Netflix, I don’t drink coffee or alcohol…yet the article annoyed me. It was like the writer wanted a special medal or a public pat on the back. It’s like she’s so righteous because she devotes her time to keeping her kids busy with sports and doesn’t need Netflix, coffee or wine. Good for you…but to not only diss Moms who do enjoy those things…you also diss Second Cup and Starbucks? Very weird that you would even name the coffee shop…how is it relevant? Then again, how is this blog relevant to anything. Missed the mark on this one. But good on you for getting on your high horse. Even though you explicitly stated that you don’t judge…the blog is judgemental. You’re an English teacher, you probably should have read it from the other perspective before posting.

  5. Jane on July 18, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Wow, I feel like the other commenters must have read a different article than I did. As a non-drinker, I can relate to not feeling like I fit into the moms club. The author said there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cup of coffee or unwinding with a glass of wine. But the current culture takes it to an almost obsessive level that I don’t understand. I love my tea and my Netflix, but I don’t claim I need these things to survive motherhood, either. I feel like the other comments are defensive and demonstrate exactly why we feel like outsiders. Not relating to the obsession is being touted as synonymous with condescension.
    To the author, I think it was bold of you to admit your feelings, and know that you’re not the only one!

  6. Holly on July 18, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Call it what it is- parents are self-medicating with legal drugs to make it through. I know, I was that parent.

    A mix of stimulants and depressants (caffeine, alcohol and TV).

    THAT is the real underlying issue.

    Perhaps Kristi means that we all need to find other, more inclusive and healthy ways to cope- more sleep, yoga, meditation, walks…. instead of reaching for “drugs” which end up excluding people who don’t wish to partake in these habits.

    Is that so wrong to ask?

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