Is Mum Drinking Culture Out of Control?

I like to joke about “mummy’s little helper” coming to visit on Friday nights. It smooths the week away for me, often insisting that I invite my friends over to join us. Having a few wines on a Friday is a way for my friends and I to kick back and relax after doing it tough in the trenches all week. We talk about what’s happening in our lives, laugh about our #mumfails and solve the world’s problems for good measure. I’ve never really thought anything of our Friday night ritual. Until now.


Last week alone, three mothers were picked up in the afternoon for driving under the influence. One of the mothers had a blood alcohol reading of 0.246, or over four times the legal limit. That’s a terrifying thought when you consider that she was doing the school run at the time. She was prepared to put her own children at grave risk, but she also put everyone else’s children at risk too.

The police and alcohol researchers believe that drink driving is on the rise for mums and that our attitude towards it is ridiculously (ironically) childish. Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive Michael Thorn says that “lunching mums have this defiance of ‘you can’t tell me what to do. I’m going to lunch and I’m going to have a few wines. It’s other people who are the problem, it’s not me.'”

Are you surprised to hear that? I know I’m not. There has been a groundswell of mums acting out for quite a while now. Mums who blame their kids for anything that goes wrong in their lives. Mums who proudly show their mum fails on social media for us all to laugh along with. Mums who have almost convinced me that “near enough is good enough”. Mums who proudly boast that their kids make them drink. I’ll never judged them for it — god knows, it’s hard enough being a parent without the do-gooders side-eyeing you — but I’ve often wondered where the “defiant mum” culture is going to end up. It seems likely that place might be a jail cell if we keep it up.

It’s possible we’ve been laughing a little too hard at the defiant mum, or “slummy mummy” as some call it, attitude. As our own mums told us, “it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” Or a brain, it seems. Fact is, most of us have been glorifying the mum drinking culture for quite a while now. We idolise wine, we joke about our dependence on it with our girlfriends, we share the memes because they are so usStrong drink

Via Red Tricycle

It’s been well-documented that alcohol makes it difficult to think clearly, impacting on our common sense. Never was this more true than when it comes to parenting under the influence. Alcohol lets us pretend that we’re doing the “best we can” when the fact is that “near enough” isn’t good enough when it comes to raising our kids. Little kids deserve and need proper supervision at all times and it’s doubtful whether a drinking mum is a present mum. I know I’m guilty of being way too relaxed on a Friday night. I’m not watching my kids like I would if I wasn’t drinking with my mates and my alcohol consumption fools me into thinking that it’ll “be alright.”

Is that what the three mums caught DUI this week thought too? Did they think their kids were going to “be alright” in the car with them? Were they pissed off off that they got ‘caught’ doing something they think everyone else is doing too? Alcohol is a tricky one, because we want to be able to wind-down with our friends and in our society alcohol has long been a way to do that. Mums shouldn’t have to give up the wine, but it’s worth thinking about our priorities. Being a mum means keeping our kids safe above all else. Safe from threats, safe from inappropriate things they don’t understand, safe from themselves and, when we refuse to grow up and put our kids first, maybe even safe from their mum, too.

See, there’s a line and most of us don’t cross it. A #mumfail is being ten minutes late to collect the kids up from school, not drinking five glasses of wine and doing pick up regardless. Sure, drink the wine if you want to, but please have a buddy on hand to collect the kids. Anything less is a #lifefail, not a #mumfail. There is absolutely nothing humorous or relateable about a mother who endangers her kids’ lives. So, as much as I’d like to think my Friday night ritual is nothing more than relaxing good fun, now I’m not so sure.

Do you think we’ve gone too far?

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Image: Getty