Long before I gave birth during the pandemic, I wondered how “mom wine” culture would impact my recovery. Drinking has been on the rise for women for years now, and alcohol consumption rose even more during the pandemic… again, especially for women. Why? “People’s depression increases, anxiety increases, [and] alcohol use is often a way to cope with these feelings,” said Michael Pollard, lead author of the study about drinking during COVID-19. “But depression and anxiety are also the outcome of drinking; it’s this feedback loop where it just exacerbates the problem that it’s trying to address.”

For women, the stresses of the pandemic have multiplied issues in the home. Women are leaving the labor force, women are taking on more responsibility for children’s remote learning, and women aren’t getting the same promotions as men right now. Some are saying that improvements in gender equality in the workforce could be set back by 10 years due to the pandemic, and moms are STRESSED. It’s no wonder that more moms are turning to wine during this time since our culture perpetuates the myth of “mommy juice” when what women really need is help to deal with the crushing mental load.

So, we at The Temper decided to ask YOU how you deal with it all. In particular, how you deal with “wine mom” culture, especially now during the pandemic. It’s not easy being a sober mom, and it’s not easy being a mom who drinks. Let’s face it: Being a mom just isn’t easy. It’s a wonderful but exhausting job. But moms don’t need to suffer in silence. What we need is support and help to navigate today’s uncertain and anxiety-inducing world. Below, 35 women (myself included!) share how they navigate “wine mom” culture and manage to stay sober… today and every day.

1. “Early in recovery, I completely avoided any gathering at which alcohol was served. When I was still drinking, I participated in many happy hours with moms with young children present. I can be around drinkers now, but leave if people get very sloppy. Since I am short, I especially don’t like being around drunk people who spit when they talk! During the pandemic, there are not many gatherings, so this is not much of an issue. I am grateful for this, because I don’t experience any FOMO now. I also think, as the moms I know are aging, they are all drinking less. I usually get together with my mom friends now for lunch or walks.” – Maria, sober for 8 years

2. “Very well. I am not attending any event where people expect me to drink with them to blend in.” – Elle, always sober<

3. “I’ve been finding other ways to manage my stress and anxiety running, eating yummy foods, sleeping. And I remind myself that while drinking seems like an easy fix, it actually makes me more depressed and the hangovers now that I’m 40 are brutal.” – Colleen, sober for 3 months

4. “I try my best to ignore it. Sometimes I call it out on my own platform (not to individual folks).” – Kristy, sober for 18 months

5. “I’m a first-time mom (my son is 4 months!) with very few mom friends, so it’s not *too* much of an issue minus the fact that I’m an ex-wino.” – Tanya, sober for 2 years and 8 months

“Maybe we should encourage mental health resources and shared parental responsibility.”

6.  “I find it exasperating. We encourage alcoholism in adults because of… life? Maybe we should encourage mental health resources and shared parental responsibility.” – Stephanie, always sober

7. “Turn the channel, flip the page, ignore the meme.” – Amy, sober almost 8 years

8. “Mom wine culture doesn’t bother me, when it’s people I know I offer to be their DD if they’re going out. I laugh along because I remember a point where I was in that place mentally; I know it came from a place of just needing a break both mentally and physically from my kids. What I really needed was a friend to have coffee with or some attention from my spouse. I couldn’t ask for those things because I didn’t want to seem needy, it was so much easier to say ‘mommy needs her wine’ and find a bunch of other wine moms to agree. Being 4 years out of it, I don’t miss it and I’m far enough removed that it doesn’t feel weird or awkward.” – Ani, sober 4+ years

9. “I block as many ads as I can on Facebook and unfollow meme pages that share memes that contribute to wine mom culture on Instagram.” – Katie, sober for 13 months

10. “I ignore it. it’s not for me!! Therapy, AA, exercise, report ads to Facebook. It’s much easier than starting over!” – Allie, sober for 3 years and 9 months

“Turn the channel, flip the page, ignore the meme.”

11. “Handling it is a lot easier during lockdown than at any other time. Alcohol isn’t being shoved in my face since I’m not going out to eat or to bars anymore, or really surrounding myself with my family who chug wine like it’s not a problem. I also do smoke marijuana and maybe that’s how I’m handling it, with THC instead of alcohol. Since abusing alcohol and pills tho, I make sure not to abuse weed or any other thing I may partake in.” – Faith, sober for 3.5 years

12. “Avoid social media.” – Nicole, sober 5 years

13. “Honestly, it doesn’t bother me a bit. I got sober for a couple of different reasons rather than addiction. So I’m not really triggered by it. I got sober for health reasons. For anxiety, for my allergies, and for my potassium levels dropping after a night of drinking. My dad is a recovering alcoholic so I understand the struggles on that level as well. I just feel that whatever someone else does in their free time or in their home is none of my business unless it is causing neglect to their children. To each their own.” – Desirae, 5 years

14. “I AVOID! Because wow, an escape button would be nicer now more than ever. So I unfollow, ignore, and avoid like the plague.” – Gaby, 6 years

15. “I wish there were more groups for sober moms. I don’t really get triggered by everyone saying they drink, I just more feel awkward. I feel like society wants moms to relax by drinking wine at night and not offering more support for those that don’t drink.” – Emily, sober 1 year and 7 months

“Therapy, AA, exercise, report ads to Facebook.”

16. “It makes social situations *really* awkward. Like Jim Gaffigan says, people take it personally when you don’t drink like you’re judging them for it. Or they feel they shouldn’t drink because you’re not. Once people find out you don’t drink, you stop getting invited to social gatherings. Nobody knows what to do with you. Being a nondrinking mom also makes talking about stress with others difficult, because the default response always seems to be ‘have some alcohol.’ People get really defensive when you point out that drinking offers zero solutions, and doesn’t even provide short-term relief.” – Nicole, sober 10 years

17. “Just ignore it. It’s annoying but, what can you do. Just keep scrolling!” – Marie, sober 8 years

18. “I laugh at the jokes but feel sometimes like an outcast because I don’t drink.” – Jaclyn, sober 14 months

19. “I don’t engage with it and don’t go to events where it’s expected that people will drink, and don’t talk about it. If people are drinking at an event, I just don’t and no one cares.” – Haley, sober 3 years

20. “Sobriety is the best decision I’ve made second to having my daughter, so not drinking is easy for me.” – Nicole, sober 2.5 years

“I laugh at the jokes but feel sometimes like an outcast because I don’t drink.”

21. “Ignore it at all costs! I mute friends who are most likely to be sharing ‘mommy juice’ memes.” – Cal, sober 7 years

22. “I tell people I’m ‘on a health kick’.” – Susanna, sober 6 months

23. “It is frustrating to see it now that I’m on the other side of it how prevalent it is, how accepted it is. And it’s frankly, pretty awkward to be around many of my friends (actually, this is so much easier with the pandemic, since gatherings aren’t really happening anymore) who are constantly asking, ‘oh, are you STILL not drinking? Wow!’ I also spend a lot of time with youth in recovery, so I cringe every time I hear someone talking about ‘mommy needs wine,’ knowing how it lands on their ears as they struggle with sobriety and these women are cavalierly talking about how wine solves everything.” – Kari, sober 18 months

24. “I used to say I’d only have one drink and it would ALWAYS turn into more. Now I co-sleep with my baby and I know that one of the safe seven rules is you have to be sober. Anytime I get the urge to drink, I think about this and it really makes the temptation go away. I don’t ever want to put myself in the position where I jeopardize my baby’s safety.” Rosy, sober 2 years

25. “I just scroll past the memes and pictures and comments. I feel like friends already think I’m a Debbie Downer for not drinking, so sometimes I even participate in the boozy talk so they don’t totally leave me out of things and I can convince them I’m ‘still cool’.” – Angie, sober 5 years

“I tell people I’m ‘on a health kick’.”

26. “It just saddens me but I haven’t done anything about it. I’m definitely more aware of it now. I am into fake wine and mocktails so trying to normalize that. I’ve talked to my good friends about not drinking but I’m not very public with it. I love not drinking though!” – Jessica, sober 8 months

27. “Avoidance, mostly. Unfollowing social media accounts who post this type of content, and I don’t associate with people who drink regularly in my day to day life. There’s a neighbor a few doors down from me who has a weekly ‘wine Wednesday’ in her driveway with the other moms and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad jealous I can’t join them. But I just know from my past behavior it’s not realistic for me. There are some days it feels like I can be ‘normal’ again, but I just know that if I drink I would never be a ‘normal’ mom.” – Kasey, sober 5.5 years

28. “I think about wine, but then I realize the effect it has (I’m allergic to sulfur), such as headaches, and I avoid it.” – Tessa, sober 2 years

29. “I was looking for a job when the pandemic hit and, suddenly, I was a full-time stay at home mom that wasn’t the plan! Two things have helped me considerably: 1) Deleting social apps off my phone. Not seeing what random acquaintances are up to every second of every day keeps me focused on my kiddo and not spinning out over things out of my control. 2) Throwing myself into my recovery program. For me that looks like 3-4 meetings a week as well as working with sponsees and my sponsor. I have to carve out time during naps or after bed, but it’s what keeps me in the moment, accountable to my family, and more or less immune to ‘wine mom culture.’ Sobriety has allowed me to take the whole pandemic (and wildfires because I live in Northern California) one day, one hour at a time. I just know wine and alcohol are not for me. I don’t judge those that can drink! A lot of people, my husband included, can have a glass of wine or a beer to get a relaxed feeling, but that’s not me. Do I wish I could drink enough to feel tipsy but not hungover? Absolutely!! But I have enough evidence to know that I am not someone who can have one glass of anything. When I have a drink, it sets off an allergic reaction in me where I just want more and it’s all I can think about. I lose all control  even if I only planned to have one glass, it’s always more. I then wake up feeling miserable and useless. I am extremely grateful that I haven’t woken up feeling those things in almost 10 years. It hasn’t all been easy, but when I use the tools, it makes my life manageable.” – Melanie, sober 9.75 years

30. “Zoom meetings, keeping up with my sponsor, and having an open line of communication with my support team.” – Stevie, sober 2 years

“I don’t associate with people who drink regularly in my day to day life.”

31. “Try to ignore it, but it’s hard when my colleagues and friends talk about it so much. I usually keep quiet, but if people are giving cocktail recipes or suggestions, I’ll suggest a mocktail.” – Traci, sober 9 months

32. “Ignore it. I feel sorry for others that think it is great. I see it as exploitive and damaging to women and our desire and need to demand better partners, a better culture, and more support. I also make time to exercise, which really helps.” – Ra, sober 1+ years

33. “I uncomfortably laugh along and wish I could join in.” – Erika, sober 6 years

34. “It can be a bit frustrating we’re made to feel as though wine is our only means for escape, self-care, or help.” – Ann, sober 1 year

35. “I talk about my sobriety openly, so my friends know that I don’t drink and don’t invite me to any events that involve heavy alcohol. But my baby is still young, just 7 months old, and because of the pandemic, I haven’t had a chance to make new mom friends. I expect that, when I do, I will continue to be up-front about my recovery so that it’s a non-issue from the start.” – Irina, sober 5 years

Whether you got sober after indulging in “wine mom” culture for years, you’re a first-time sober parent, or you got sober before having kids and have vowed that your children will never know a mom who drinks, we can all learn something from these women. Navigating the world as a sober mom isn’t easy, but the strategies above can help.