Being pregnant for nine months is a challenge. And birth? Don’t even get me started. But you do the darn thing and deliver your sweet newborn, one way or another. This insanely beautiful, difficult, and challenging chapter is complete. Then, moments later a new one smacks you right in the face. Motherhood.
For some of us though, whether we are new in our journeys of being alcohol free or well into the depths of it, a new challenge arises along with the life alteration of becoming a mother. Now, not only do we have to look after ourselves, but we also have this other little bean to care for. We are stressed, we are often at times lonely and especially if it’s our first time, we might feel darn right out of our minds.
For me, I had just completed nine whole months without a sip of booze. Surely, I could self-regulate or abstain completely once I was signed off by the doctor. I had figured that being a mum meant no more nights out, boozy lunches or happy hour temptations. I had the perfect excuse! Little did I know that the narrative I had built in my head was far from reality. I was about to be cycled right back to my “relationship” with alcohol in a different way and I needed to come up with some ways to fight back and protect my mentality all over again.
We live in a society that absolutely glorifies drinking as a mother and/or parent. There are sweaters, mugs, wine glasses and even home décor that target moms and parents with their “mom juice,” slogans. Things like, “it’s not drinking alone if the kids are at home,” or, “mama needs her juice too.” Go ahead, type “mum juice” into google and take a gander at the lengthy quotes that will pop up and the merchandise that is targeted to the new generation of parents who drink. With parenthood, alcohol is praised as a type of escapism.
This is not the life that I wanted, and I knew I was going to have to fight the portrayal that I would, “need a glass of wine or ten” to get through the day. But I still wondered – how would I meet mums or parents on my new journey, especially living in a new town. Even more worrisome, how would I destress?
Meeting fellow mums without alcohol
1.Choose something else that can be consumed together. It can be awkward meeting new people without something to do with our hands, call us human. Coffee, tea, appetisers, dessert! There are endless options.
2.With newborns not being playful just yet and sometimes as interesting as watching paint dry, pick something easy that you can bond over. A craft, a new movie or an activity that is safe to do with your baby close by.
3.Utilise social media to find sober groups and other sober mums (hello sober girl society!) There are other mothers everywhere looking for the same thing that you are.
4.Rather than a “wine night,” host a different format for other moms to get together. This could be a potluck, a book club or anything that your hopeful new friends could partake in together.
5.Cook a meal that you haven’t before and invite a friend over to help out or just enjoy with you.
6.Push yourself out of your comfort zone when you get an opportunity to meet someone. You are so much more interesting without the alcohol than you’ll ever know. People deserve to know that version of you!
9.If you are US-based Look up “mommy and me” (or daddy!) classes in your area (yoga, swimming, etc.). You’d be surprised at the amount of people that attend these classes for the experience of meeting other parents.
De-stressing without the booze
There really isn’t a kind of tired like a new parent tired. There also isn’t any real escape during this time, especially in the early days. This may be why there are so many parents reaching earlier and earlier for that “5 o’clock” somewhere story line to their day. The alcohol provides at least some type of mental illusion apparently that they are keeping to their old ways or getting some type of mental release. BUT! There are so many options that are healthier both mentally and physically. Even in the days where that little newborn is taking over every second of your day, there are options for you. These aren’t things that you haven’t heard before, but you may need the reminder.Bath with your baby, or alone preferably if you get the chance
1.Read a book, make it as trashy or informative as you please
2.Go for a walk and listen to a podcast. Not only does this often result in a magical nap land for the newborn, but you also get to space out, exercise and get some fresh air. Get away from the TV.
3.Ask for help. This is easier said than done as not all of us have a “village.” Per say. But, if you have someone that you trust and can turn to even come over for one hour while you lay down, or do one of these things, take that opportunity. Mothers deserve breaks. Say it again with me. We. Deserve. Breaks.
4.Nap with the baby. Now, I am not saying “sleep when the baby sleeps,” because let’s face it – if we did that the house would be turned upside down. It is so tempting to take advantage of every single nap. Sometimes I find myself sitting on the couch just starring into space because I’m unsure where to even start? But sometimes it’s okay to take that nap with your little one. Decompress and sleep!
5. Meditation, exercise and calling a loved one are all extremely under rated tools/sources for relaxation.
6. Remember the things you liked to do before you became a parent? Don’t lose them.
During the early days of parenthood, we can lose ourselves so easily. The first couple months we are literally just trying to keep everyone alive. Be kind to yourself and keep your outlets true to you. Take chances when possible and put yourself out there to meet other moms and take care of yourself. You deserve it even more now!
We live in a world where the “wine mum” slogan is forced down our throats every time that you tap open an app or login to a social page. It’s unescapable. I have recently begun my millionth attempt at sober mum life. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. But I’ll be damned if I am going to let the narrative of mom juice creep into my life and alter the type of mother that I want to be for my daughter.
Now, not only am I doing it for me, but I’m also doing it for my little lady.
Written by Sara Becker
Sara is a healthcare worker and freelance writer. She is a new mama to little girl Zoe and poppy the dog. You can find her on Instagram at @saraannbecker