Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mommy's Wine: The Controversy

I don't know many women, unless they don't drink at all, that would argue with the fact that at the end of the day a nice glass of wine is like a big hug. Some women stay at home all day, and there is not a break to be had. No matter the age of your children, there is always something: the changing of diapers, clothes, feeding - whether it be breast, solids, or regular meals - reading, entertaining, potty training, driving to school, day care, sports, music classes, homework....need I go on? Someone else relies on you to exist in their daily life. You are living for two, sometimes 3, 4 or 5. There are others, like me who work outside the home. I start my day early, work out before the sun comes up because that is the only time I can do it. I feed my kids, get them dressed, ready for school, transport to school, commute for too long, work all day, commute for too long again, feed kids dinner, bathe them, read to them, put them to bed, and COLLAPSE. I look forward to my wine after the night is winding down. Am I an alcoholic? No. I get up, I go to work, I am responsible, I take care of my family. I don't get obliterated in the presence of my children and if any emergency were to happen I am fully able to react.

There are some smart business women out there who have creatively marketed their wine brands to women, particularly frazzled mothers who, at the end of the day really look forward to that glass of wine. One is Mommy Juice. Adorable label with a typical mother juggling a million things at one time. The  wine is so aptly named because the owner's children would call their mother's wine "Mommy's juice." Is that so wrong? It's cute, and its true! Wines such as this are under fire for promoting alcoholism in stay-at-home-moms. Guess what, mothers who are going to drink wine are going to drink wine. I don't think its fair to fault brands such as Mommy Juice for marketing their wine to be a contender amongst the many wines moms could choose at the end of the day. That is called business. There are some people, men and women that have a propensity for alcoholism. You cannot blame the booze for that.

Take Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, for example, who blogged about her experiences with motherhood. She gained popularity for her posts about the not-so-glamorous side of it all. She got book deals, for titles such as "Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay" and "Naptime is the New Happy Hour." As the article in this months Parenting magazine details, it turns out Stefanie had a drinking problem. She would often drink several glasses of wine a night and wasn't always the best functioning parent. She had alcoholism - she was not like most women who could have a glass at the end of the night and stop. Fortunately, Stefanie recognized her problem and quit, before any major harm was done to her family. The moms who supported Mrs. Wilder-Taylor's blog and books in the beginning cannot be viewed as helpless victims who were lured into this booze-filled play-date lifestyle. I'm sure a lot of the mothers who read these books enjoyed Mrs. Wilder-Taylor's honesty, humor, and maybe didn't take every word all that seriously. Books are another form of entertainment, after all. I believe we should also have faith that these women were able to make their own decisions, and were responsible for their own actions and hopefully knew when to say when.

I was a Sociology major in college and I can go deep into the topic of how men and women in our society are viewed differently. Men's drinking is accepted, supported and lauded - this is evident in advertising, particularly for hard liquor. This goes way back...think of Mad Men and how it was fashionable in that era for powerful and successful men to drink at all hours of the day. I'm not going to bore you with all that. My point is, it just doesn't seem right to call out a particular brand of wine for pushing alcoholism in stay-at-home-moms or women in general. We are all adults here, which is why there is an age requirement to drink. Hopefully we have the sense not to get sloshed in front of our kids, and make sure we always have our faculties when they are in our care. If someone is not able to drink responsibly, don't blame the alcohol.

How do you relax at the end of a busy day, managing your house and children? How do you feel about "mommy marketed" wines? Do you think they promote alcoholism in women? 

I was not compensated for this post by Mommy Juice or Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. I mentioned their names and products for reference purposes only. 


  1. I spend all day with 2 children whom I love tremendously but I too look forward to my glass of wine and "me" time in the evening! I am not an alcholic and drinking wine marketed to me will not make me one. My wine in the evening is the one drink that I can have all to myself with no little grubby fingers and floating food particles! I intend to continue to enjoy raising my children and appreciating a good glass of wine!

  2. I agree with EVERY point made in this post - and I don't drink wine. I also don't like beer. What I do like is the occasional cocktail or malt-liquor beverage. I'm a full-time work-outside-the-home mom, as well as having my own freelance side-business, with a 2.5 year old daughter, and a night-shift cop Husband... it's rare for me to have a drink every night, but just because I like to sit and enjoy a drink while I'm having it - instead of taking a gulp while in the midst of laundry, dishes, or myriad other household or work-related tasks. I might have two drinks in a week, but I don't see a single thing wrong with having some wine/beer/cocktail at the end of the night to relax and have some "me" time, and I CERTAINLY wouldn't attribute any drinking problems to the makers of the drink itself. Blaming a company and their marketing for others' alcoholism isn't just ridiculous, it's also irresponsible. Get the facts, and get over it. Leave the company alone.

  3. I have to agree-just because you enjoy a glass at the end of the day doesn't make you an alcoholic. Definitely don't drink while taking care of your kids. Put them to bed adn then have some ME Time. There is a new wine for moms called just that-Me Time!

  4. Bree, I will check out Me Time. Cute name. Glad hear I am not the only one who thinks adults should be held accountable for their own actions and not play the "blame" game. There are some nights I don't even drink wine, because I am too busy, tired or simply don't feel like it. But I truly relish in the nights that I do...after my kids are out and I can watch my reality shows or blog. It's the little things!

  5. Dr. Drew brought this up and he pointed out the percentage of SAHMs who are alcoholics. But like you said, they're going to drink, this isn't going to all of a sudden SPUR them on.

    I know it sounds awful, but I ABSOLUTELY need a drink at the end of the night. It's just my way of marking a boundary between Mommy time and Me time.

  6. I definitely enjoy a drink a couple times a week, especially with a good dinner on a stressful day. It's the easiest way to unwind, since knitting, sewing, or drawing are time consuming.

    I grew up in a household where wine was commonplace (Eastern European family who made their own?. No one was phased by a bottle with dinner. In fact, I found it weird going to friends' house and no seeing a half glass on the able.

    I figure I'll worry when we're skipping food for booze.

  7. What a great topic to dish on!
    I am 25, work full time, helping my fiance through school, have a dog, write a blog, try to work out, juggle family obligations and housekeeping and at the end of the day a glass of the good stuff isn't a bad thing!

    Marketing to mom's or women in general isn't a bad thing, it's tactical though. We do deserve a glass now and again. The marketing strategy the employs we need to be TOLD that we deserve that glass at the end of the day is what's a bummer.

    We work hard and we should know we deserve a treat - not because a label or manufacturer tells us so. It's very cleaver though, to market to one demographic who juggles life and can pop that top at the end of the day and be told to not feel guilty about it.

    Loved this post, I'm hooked!

  8. The wine or the cocktail doesn't drink itself, people drink it. And yes, it is considered professsional and part of the job for men to go out for drinks and socialize or do business.

    But, the social politics aside, marketing alcohol to women was an untapped market, until recently. Skinnygirl Margarita, anyone? And personally, I think kudos to the women who are successful at it. Nobody is forced to drink to excess.

    I'm a SAHM and I didn't drink during naptime (my goodness, I'd never have the energy to keep up with my kidlets if I did!!) and don't drink during the day. I do enjoy a cocktail, when I want one, which can vary from a few nights in a row to nothing for months. But, I refuse to buy into that mentality that if I were male and a professional it would be fine, but being a woman, a mom, and staying home makes it wrong. Nope, not buying it.

    Oh yea, I was a sociology major too! :>

  9. As soon as I started reading I thought of Wilder-Taylor.

    I'm a drinker and have been since high school. Fortunately it's not a problem. I do not drink when I'm caring for my son. Where I'm from I don't think women are looked down on for drinking. NYC is the Sex & the City, "cosmo" scene so I supposed I'm lucky from that standpoint.

    Marketing wine to mommies with such a ridiculous name is a bit low brow but it makes sense that someone would want to exploit us. I personally don't like shitty wine so I'm not their target market despite being a mom. The problem is that alcohol impairs judgement so it's a fine line encouraging moms to drink. You have to hope that they're drinking responsibly and not while caring for children.

  10. Jill, why do you automatically think because MommyJuice has the word "mommy" on it that its shitty wine? Do you think Moms are that stupid that they woud be fooled by a cute label but bad wine? I actually find that the cuter and more whimsical the label, the better the wine needs to be...otherwise people will buy it once for the novilty, but not come back for more. And repeat business in this industry is everything! Full discloure, I am the creator of MommyJuice. But it seems like you feel that the wine is bad quality if it doesn't have a fancy, hoity toity label on it. Can't wine be fun and quality too? MommyJuice has won a number of third party awards, including a very positive review from Gary Vaynerchuck. Don't knock it till ya try it, just saying. Cheers!

  11. Cheryl, my comment is disrespectful and I apologize. Best wishes in your endeavor.


  12. What I really can't stand sometimes is the fact that men can have their beer after a long day of work and they're just that... Men. But when women decide they need something to help calm the stress, they're alcoholics. ridiculous. There's absolutely nothing wrong with our night cap, we work just as hard if not more than Men to be able to relieve our stress. The responsible one's drink enough to help them unwind but never to the point where they scare the kids or can't even function... I'm drinking my beer to this post tonight!! Cheers!

  13. I really loved all the responses to this post, and it got me thinking about so many things. A) I have tried Mommy Juice and it's pretty good (and I am not easy to please)...B)I can't say all women work harder than men but I would say anyone who goes to a job all day does have a bit more control over their day than say, a SAHM who is constantly at the whim of the little people and C) I don't think there is anything wrong with a Mommy or anyone for that matter who has a cocktail or drink at the end of the day as long as someone has their wits about them to mind the mini-me's.

    I love topics that get people thinking and sharing! xoxo

  14. At the end of the day I usually just fall asleep!

  15. I enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner. That is all I can handle. I get tipsy easily so I watch myself. I couldn't agree with what you've written more. I have yet to try Mommy Juice and might now have to!

  16. No matter if a woman drinks a glass of wine alone or in a social setting with kids around... there will always be various opposing opinions on what is appropriate!

    It is so frustrating. The Mommy world is filled with so much judgment. This Wine is an example of something that one woman can say "Hell yeah, this is my Mommy Juice and I am proud of it" while another will say "This wine defines the drinking problem amongst Mothers in our society"

    Everyone has a different perspective.

    They say that the most successful/profitable wines (not the best quality) are largely because of their labels. Most novice wine drinkers are likely to pick up a bottle they find amusing, relate-able or funny. This corners its target demographic but does not promote Mommy alcoholism. Does that mean the sexy (either by pictures or sexy names) marketed wines make people who like sex alcoholics?

    Or maybe it makes alcoholics who drink it sex addicts if they drink that wine?

    Or maybe if you drink that wine you might get laid?

    Okay see how ridiculous that can get? :)

  17. As with anything, moderation is key. I didn't have wine for a year while I was pregnant and having that first glass when my LO started sleeping early was just divine! BTW, Central Market sells a wine called Mommy's Time Out!

  18. For better or worse, I think cocktail hour is The Way to separate between work and relaxation. As clever as the names of those wines are, I don't think that anyone has ever been driven to drink because of them.

    Should we be aware of the fact that alcoholism can be and is a problem and a very real struggle for some? Absolutely. But the reality is, for the masses, that end of the day drink is just a moment to unwind.


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