Word Nerd Wednesday: Dipsomania

Disclaimer: While I am for the most part, a teetotaler with a few rare exceptions, I do not view drinking a glass of wine as a moral or Christian offense. Nevertheless, the wine mom trend has given me pause about the current state of American motherhood.

When I was recently reacquainted with this week’s word, I decided its pleasant linguistics, combined with the current motherhood zeitgeist, made it a worthy WNW installment.

Dipsomania: An uncontrollable craving for alcoholic liquors

Dipsomania among moms is now one big meme; laughed off as harmless fun or a lifesaving coping mechanism. Raising children in the context of a society with few to no community bonds and little social support means many mothers are stretched thin, a problem that we need to earnestly address. And it can’t be properly improved with Internet “communities”.

Instead, we’re told that a glass -or two, or three- of wine supposedly takes the edge off. From the Atlantic piece:

Moms who enjoy wine certainly existed before the internet, but it’s the internet that catapulted the wine mom to meme stardom. In the mid-2010s, the phrase was popularized as it became commonplace for moms to joke online about drinking wine to cope with the stresses of motherhood: Self-identifying wine moms began to poke fun at themselves in viral videos, blog posts, and memes. “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink,” goes a particularly ubiquitous meme. “Wine is to moms what duct tape is to dads. It fixes everything,” says another. “Motherhood—powered by love, fueled by coffee, sustained by wine.”

I’ve been thinking a bit about dipsomania as the increase in drinking among moms of all social, economic, and religious categories has increased.

What do you guys make of the wine mom trend?

13 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday: Dipsomania

  1. Will S. says:

    Children are supposed to be a joy, even if a challenge; the “Gosh, I need a drink!” memes we see spreading among young mothers are a sign of their selfishness and immaturity; they should never have become mothers in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hearthie says:

    I tend to think of it as an extension of the “mother’s little helper” pills of the 60s. And I agree with you – we need to give mothers (especially young mothers) HELP and COMMUNITY, not endless wine.

    But “coping” with alcoholism and shopaholic tendencies is acceptable, and keeps up the facade of “being like the Joneses” without letting anyone into your struggles. Interdependence bad.

    To Will S’s point – not so much selfishness, but certainly immaturity. And a sign of maturity is asking for real help, not a liquid bandaid. But do they have real help available? Doubtful in many cases.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hearthie says:

    Further: When we tell people “you’re weak and shouldn’t have tried this” when they need our help, the likelihood is that they are NOT going to ask for help, they ARE going to try to cope on their own. If the available coping mechanisms include wine or pills or … whatever… that’s what they’ll use.

    This is not a Christian attitude. We are called to love one another. Yes, we can all say, “that’s a bad idea, sinful and etc” but just saying that isn’t enough. How do we help them repent/change course?

    This is when Titus 2 women step up and step in and “teach the younger women to love their children and their husbands”. And maybe babysit so they can have a few minutes of peace.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Bike Bubba says:

    What Hearthie just said. One thing I remember learning way back in high school is that the line between responsible use of wine and dipsomania is very often “community”: in other words, drinking alone is a hazard. (along with hiding it, etc..)

    The bright side of “wine moms”,along these lines, is that they’re not hiding it. Usually alcoholics don’t fess up until life forces them to–I’ve got an uncle and a cousin who are sadly in this position. Ruined a business they were involved in, too. So I’d be a bit concerned about the bravado of many wine moms, as well as the fact that they claim they’re using wine to cope, but the fact that they’re being open is actually a good thing.


  5. Elspeth says:

    Yes, Will, children are a challenge and a joy. I think Hearthie hit on some key notes about the state of post modern parenting.

    A lot of what we see happening is the offspring of immaturity and lack of community.

    It’s too bad that extended family and churches and community aren’t particularly helpful to young families these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Heidi says:

    I suspect there are more moms using this foolish joke than actually drinking to cope. However, the joke is harmful in the way that lazy stereotypes affect culture–see, for instance, the incompetent man-child dad.

    In the case of the “wine mom,” children are seen as so awful–and parenting as so hard–that the only reasonable response is to self-medicate. Now, Elspeth and Hearthie are quite right that more community support and fellowship could really help–especially now, in the time of lockdowns and isolation.

    But at least in some cases, we parents create more problems than we need to do; we don’t actually need to be worried about entertaining and stimulating our kids all the time, and they can sometimes be useful to us! Heck, even my 3-year-old, who creates much more work than he completes, is still good at taking my plate to the sink for me.

    Obviously, some situations are more difficult than others. Parenting as a single parent, while dealing with health or mental issues, in poverty, or with kids who have some kind of special need is trickier than parenting healthy, typically-developing kids in the context of economic and relationship security (i.e. mom and dad are married and going to remain so).

    I think that it’s absolutely correct to speak of “immaturity” as being one cause of this attitude that being a mommy is soooo awful that we need wine. As 21st-century adults, we have inflated expectations as to how much pleasure and leisure we deserve, which serves to make us unhappy when reality does not match these expectations; at the same time, for many of us, we have inflated expectations as to what our children need if they are to avoid failure in life.

    Non sequitur: “Dipsomania” is an awesome word. So much more graphic than “alcoholism.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. MK says:

    It’s too bad that extended family/churches/community aren’t particularly helpful to young families these days.

    True. But not just “young” families; any post ’65…e.g. I was in confession yesterday & the young/high-IQ priest gouged out my 2dig-family/2decade-marriage…then a long silence/wistful “that’s a long time” with a stiff prayer penance “for our struggling families”. Basically it’s a war zone w/ dead kids everywhere. And quite expected/deserved via feminism/colluding pastors (new pastors are getting it tho, heh).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Candy Keane | Geek Mamas says:

    What a crazy sounding word for this…had to look up the etymology and learned dipso is greek for thirst. I enjoy my wine. Yes I really really looked forward to it around evening bath time when my son was a screaming toddler and my husband was deployed for a year. Yes I posted funny memes about it (and still do). While I’m back to my usual consumption levels now, I’m certainly not judging anyone for feeling the need to wind down with a glass of pinot grigio. Now if it’s a bottle every night, I might raise my eyebrows a bit…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elspeth says:

    Welcome, Candy Keane.

    As I said in the post, I am fairly neutral on the issue of wine.

    However, I genuinely doubt the healthfulness of an approach to motherhood that requires a bottle of wine to get through it.


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