The Consequences of Mixing Alcohol and Parenting

In the media today, it’s common for the stressed mother to be depicted as the drinking mother, one who is not stable without a drink in her hand. The trend was the topic of discussion in this recent blog in the Washington Post as the writer recounted a recent mom’s group event. She noted the drink selection consisted only of fresh juices, smoothie shooters and high-end teas, but no alcohol in sight. Its absence highlighted the point of the meeting – to discuss the consequences of play dates with wine accompaniments.

The unofficial keynote for the event was blogger and author Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, someone who has admitted in a public forum to an alcohol addiction. Wilder-Taylor commented that so many women she knows took to drinking more once kids arrived. These women are not only learning how to be mothers, but also struggling to survive in a culture that pushes its acceptance as a coping mechanism.

Hosted by the Century Council, the event gathered women together to discuss the organization’s latest report on women and driving while intoxicated. Research conducted for this report showed that the number of women arrested for driving while impaired increased 36 percent in the last 10 years. With this figure, women now claim nearly 25 percent of the drunken driving arrests in this country.

While the report itself doesn’t dig too deeply into drinking while parenting, it does highlight that the profile of the average female arrested for drunk driving is in her 30s, tends to be better educated, and is more likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety than the male drunk driver.

The culture of the “perfect parent” increases the stress women place on themselves in an attempt to raise the “perfect kids” and many feel they cannot cope without help from alcohol. This demands a renewed focus and a clear understanding of the consequences when parenting is mixed with alcohol.