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wine mom culture

It’s Wine O’Clock in India

In the past few years, some point between Starbucks and H&M, a more insidious foreign brand rolled up in India: the Wine Mom.

It was so subtle. At first, we were just glad to see more women shaking off traditional dictats and deciding for themselves that yes, they would like a drink, thankyouverymuch. But now it’s a trend. You definitely know one. You probably follow one on social media. You may be one. In fact, you may be one without ever taking a sip of wine or any other alcoholic drink.

You can tweet or post on Instagram about how mommy needs a drink, or join the Facebook group Moms Who Need Wine (more than 700k followers and counting) – without ever taking a sip. You can WhatsApp one of hundreds of memes about motherhood and drinking to mommy groups without actually pouring yourself a glass. You can Like or respond with baby face + snoozing Z’s + wine glass + wine glass emojis to someone else’s post about moms drinking wine. That is the hallmark and the appeal of wine-mom culture: No expectations or duties, just acceptance.

And if there are two things Indian moms need, it’s fewer expectations and a little less duty. We are already the most stressed women in the world. We are shouldering both the physical and mental load of childcare and household management, even when we have support from egalitarian-minded partners or domestic helpers. More and more of us are working, too, often in environments still operating by an outdated, men-only standard of professionalism.

And we’re failing – every day, at something we can’t quite put our finger on. Sometimes at multiple things that, with painful specificity, we can identify (or others can, for us). By circumstance, we’re not meeting the modern expectations of motherhood we aspire to, and by choice, we’re not meeting the traditional expectations of motherhood certain generations aspire for us.

Little wonder that #mommyneedswine. It’s always wine o’clock somewhere — normally right here, right now.

But even while wine-mom culture offers us a balm – a sisterhood of cheersing to failure without judgment, a reward for the long, often unappreciated hours we put in – there’s danger there, too. The classy, socially-acceptable rebellion (there’s a reason you don’t see Moms Who Need Tequila groups, or #mommyneedsajoint) might dull the complaining voices and reward us for our hard, invisible work at the end of a long day, but it also drowns our desire for getting what we deserve. It’s a self-medication, not dangerous in the alcoholic sense (though, that potential is real), but in the soma-induced haze-of-complacency sense. We’ve got our wine memes and each other, which is, perhaps, more than what our own mothers had.

And so, our IDGAF wine-mom messages keep us from confronting an essential truth: that maybe moms could drink less if others – partners, inlaws, employers, government — GAF more.

So, have that glass of wine. Have two. Have your favourite cocktail or beer, or have a mocktail or soda. But cheers to a day when mommy doesn’t need wine. Then make a mental load meme and tag everyone you know. Because if we let the conversation become about drinking, we really will have failed.

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