EP #166

It's Not About the Wine: The Loaded Truth About Mommy Wine Culture with Celeste Yvonne

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode, Molly Watts dives into the topic of Mommy Wine Culture with guest Celeste Yvonne, exploring its impact on society and motherhood. They delve into the loaded truth behind the cultural narrative that suggests moms need alcohol to cope with parenting, shedding light on the dangers of normalizing overdrinking. Drawing from personal experiences and research, they discuss the mental load of motherhood and the societal pressure on women to juggle it all, including domestic labor and career expectations. Both speakers advocate for changing societal attitudes towards alcohol, motherhood, and mental health, emphasizing the importance of support systems and self-care for new mothers. With practical suggestions and personal anecdotes, they challenge listeners to reconsider their relationship with alcohol and prioritize their well-being in the journey of motherhood.

Welcome to the alcohol minimalist podcast. I’m your host Molly watts. If you want to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, you’re in the right place. This podcast explores the strategies I use to overcome a lifetime of family alcohol abuse, more than 30 years of anxiety and worry about my own drinking, and what felt like an unbreakable daily drinking habits. Becoming an alcohol minimalist means removing excess alcohol from your life. So it doesn’t remove you from life. It means being able to take alcohol or leave it without feeling deprived. It means to live peacefully, being able to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling guilty and without needing to finish the bottle. With Science on our side will shatter your past patterns and eliminate your excuses. Changing your relationship with alcohol is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well, hello and welcome or welcome back to the alcohol minimalist podcast with me your host Molly Watts coming to you from it’s a marginal Oregon. I think marginals the best word for it been really raining. Golly, was it rainy over the weekend? But my friends on the horizon? I kid you not. There are 70 degree days in the forecast right now. For next weekend. I am absolutely ecstatic. I cannot wait. Please, please weather gods just let that forecast come true. Is it too much to ask? How are you doing? Welcome, and welcome back to the show. For those of you that are longtime listeners. Before I get into this week’s podcast episode, which is an interview that I did recently, I do want to just talk with you again about some free resources. So first and foremost, I have the ebook, alcohol truths, how much is safe, you can download that over at www dot Molly watts.com. And in it, it kind of outlines some of this science that we talk about all the time here on the podcast and the truths about why or why not we would want to include alcohol in our lives and some of the stories that we’ve held on to regarding alcohol being good for our hearts, maybe the the idea that alcohol helps you relax and unwind. Some of those initial science type conversations are outlined in alcohol through this. And there is also a risk reward analysis that is included that I have you look kind of at the way that you’re including alcohol in your life, and understanding how the financial burden the social risks and rewards and the physical risks and rewards. As far as a free resource goes, it’s pretty darn great. And it helps you understand what a safe relationship with alcohol might be. Right? Because that’s one of the questions I get all the time is how much alcohol is safe. So go check it out alcohol truths, and it is at www dot Molly watts.com. I will also link it in the show notes. onto this week’s show and with my guest, Celeste Yvonne Celeste is a author. She is a recovery coach. She is someone who is 100% sober. But we talk a lot about a different kind of topic and that is Mommy wine culture. Mommy wine culture is so prevalent, and having this conversation whether or not you’re going to include alcohol in your life in a minimal way, or not at all. It’s important to understand how much of this narrative is being driven right? By sources and society and the industry itself, the alcohol industry itself, understanding the narrative and the important story that we’re telling our children, right. I so enjoyed my conversation with Celeste and sharing her book, which is called it’s not about the wine. The loaded truth behind mommy wine culture is something that I really wanted to be able to do for all of you. I think you’re going to love hearing from her. I will link in the show notes where you can check out all of her work. Get a copy of that book. I highly recommend it. Here is my conversation with Celeste Yvonne. Good morning, Celeste. Thank you so much for being on the alcohol minimalist podcast. This is an important conversation we’re going to have and I appreciate you taking the time. Yeah, thank you Molly. I’m very happy to be here. And let’s be fair, it’s been a it’s been a few challenging invitations by because of me. So I appreciate your your patience in terms of me having to reschedule us a couple of times that I appreciate that too. Well, let’s face it. I feel like the winter season is just busy and chaotic and the weather’s everywhere. So we’re all there. We’re all in that place where it’s just like we’re all hanging by a thread. Yeah, yeah, it was a mean, for us in Portland, we don’t get snow and ice very often. But as I told you, I was on my way out of town and needed to get out of town. And thank God I did, because boy, I had to miss most of it down in southern Arizona. So enjoyed it, but then wasn’t able to do this. So glad we are connecting now. And let’s talk about the book that you wrote, which is a combination, I think of a lot of things of your kind of your journey. And I want to talk to you about that, too. The title of the book is, it’s not about the wine, the loaded truth behind mommy wine culture. Let’s discuss first, what is Mommy wine culture? And why is it so important that we have this conversation about it? Absolutely. And there is some confusion around what is Mommy wine culture that I’d like to clear up. I think a lot of people mistakenly think mommy wine culture is about mothers who drink wine. And I would disagree with that. My definition of monterey wine culture, is the social narrative that playfully jokes or implies that moms need alcohol to cope with raising their children. And it’s that kind of using parenting as an argument or an excuse to drink that I feel like really fills in the blanks of that definition. Right? Well, it makes it and it it, it has done nothing else. It makes it socially acceptable to fill up a tumbler with alcohol to go to the Little League game. And I agree with you that there’s a very dangerous narrative there as well. But it’s really increased the prevalence of overdrinking because it’s made it completely normal for moms to be sitting in the bleachers or sitting anywhere or you know, at the PTA meeting or wherever drinking while they’re doing it. It adds a level of justification to what we’re doing to Yes, this is hard that you deserve a drink. That can be really dangerous. I think a lot of people throw it out there as funny. Like, haha, me needs a drink. Yeah. But the context and the nuance is, many people, myself included, took that subtly as permission. And it gives that permission it normalizes drinking to cope. It normalizes drinking to parent. And that’s where the danger lies is that place where it between what’s funny, and what’s actually happening? I’ve heard several stories recently, where people have said, I started putting alcohol in my tumbler. And, you know, I, I made myself think it was okay. But deep down, I knew it wasn’t right. But the cultural narrative is, it’s okay or Wink, wink. And that’s where I feel like we get this gray area where humor becomes truth. Yeah. The danger that of the message that we’re sending to our children, too. I think that part is often overshadowed like, it’s just not really like it’s kind of like other kids that don’t really know what’s going on. Like, they won’t pay attention. But yet, as they grow up and become parents themselves, they see then these the onesies that say, you know, I’m the reason mommy drinks, like, like that’s, is that really funny? Is that cute in any way? Like, you know what I mean? Like, that’s a really weird narrative that we think is like, Is that really okay? The level of blame and shame that that puts on now the next generation of children cannot eat I can’t think of a harder thing to throw on our children. You know, I am a daughter of an alcoholic and I say this you would be viewed me both both. I you know, can you imagine if your parent walked around saying my kids are the reason I drink like to add that heaviness to what is something that I will is trauma I will always carry? I can’t even imagine how much that would have fed into that. I’m wondering to myself like outlet I was thinking, I wonder if if the humor, because back in those days, you know, back at least when my mom was drinking, I mean, mommy wine culture wasn’t, that wasn’t a thing yet, you know, that was not a part of it. That was just not the way it was. And I wonder now I’m thinking to myself, What did made that easier, less isolating for me? I don’t know, just to get back on my young self. But what I can say without question, and I’m sure you can, would say the same thing is that no one needed to ask me if I felt like I was the reason that my mom drank, right? Like, I mean, that was a narrative that I believed for a long time. So it’s, and yeah, I mean, it’s I. But she was problematic. She was, you know, she was definitely physically dependent. She had alcohol use disorder, the whole thing. The mommy wine culture, definitely, as you mentioned, isn’t directed at women who may necessarily have a problematic relationship with alcohol. It’s just more normalizing, you know, alcohol use amongst society, which, again, I think we need to, we always need to be willing to question it’s the stories behind why we’re drinking, that makes it that we need to be challenging. And I think really, at the heart of everything, that’s what your book is about. It’s the stories, right? And it’s the narratives, and it’s what we believe, what society believes about what a mom does, what what mothers the support that mothers actually need, and don’t get. And so let’s talk a little bit more about that. So let’s first share for my listeners, tell me a little bit about your background, how you came to be writing this book about mommy wine culture. Yeah, I, I dabbled, you know, I was, I was a professional doing marketing in corporate America on Well, for the most part for 20 years. But on the side, I was a mommy blogger. And I, you know, talk about being part of the problem I used to make, you know, Mommy needs wine means I was definitely a contributor to the culture. And what happened was, I saw my drinking, when I became a mom, my drinking changed. And not to say I wasn’t a problematic drinker, prior to having children, but there’s something about having children, that it changes, the everything changes. All of a sudden, I now have children dependent on me. And I like to drink to get drunk I often needed a morning to recover from the night before. And parenting is not conducive to that. And I quickly realized very quickly that I could not be the parent I wanted to be, and drink the way I wanted to drink. And that realization hit hard and heavy, to the point where I quit cold turkey after a panic attack. And now I’m six years sober, but I started writing about my sober journey. Once I hit one year sober and realized, this is the road I wanted to take. This wasn’t a temporary reset. Like I in my first year, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know all I knew is I couldn’t drink today. And once I hit one year, and I’ve seen just positive after positive after positive, come out of this new life that I had created. I just wanted more that and the allure of alcohol really distinguished or extinguished itself. And that made all the difference for me to the point where this didn’t feel something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of this is something I wanted to explore and get excited about and tell other people about. So my mommy blogging really took on this new level of sober motherhood and starting to share that journey, which is what really instigated the book, and also kind of feeding off this Why are mother’s drinking more than ever we are you know, women are drinking more than ever. Why are mothers drinking more than ever? How does Mommy why culture and this narrative and advertising and marketing feed that? How are they related? And then the last thing I was trying to figure out was how does the mental load of motherhood contributes to this message and to how mothers are drinking more than ever And I kind of tied it all together with my own story and with my recovery journey, as well as talking to other women who also quit drinking, and are now sober. Yeah. And that’s kind of the way, just kind of just exactly what you said, how the book is, is laid out, it’s the, what is it? What is Miami wine culture, your story, and then how to help people. You know, this is what I think that was the one of the reasons you and I wanted to, to connect and have this conversation. Understanding that addressing the mental load is really at the heart of what we’re talking about whether or not someone chooses to become completely sober, or simply drinks a lot less, or drinks less or doesn’t drink, you know. And I told you that before we jumped on the same talk that the same conversations the same work, I tell people all the time, becoming an alcohol minimalist is really the same work as becoming sober, because we have to address the why we have to understand what it is we’re trying to alleviate, with drinking, right. Because if we don’t do that, if we don’t do that, then we’ll just turn to something else to try to fill that void, potentially, with something else. That’s, you know, also not, if we don’t fill it with something else, constructive, we can fill it with something else destructive. So we want to understand all of that. And this part, the mental load part of motherhood is a big issue. It’s a big issue, not just for for women in general. So let’s talk about that, in terms of what your research for the book kind of led you to, you know, because we all have, like our own story of what happens to us as moms, you know, if you have two boys, I believe I have four. So I’ve got double the trouble. And I say all the time, I used to be one of the most dramatic people you you’d ever talk to, because I would just like look at you like, well, I have four kids, like duh, like, I mean, hello, this is my life, right? The narrative that I told about that was, was fueled by kind of the, the, the mental load of motherhood, that I didn’t really understand both the part that I was playing in it, and also how society contributed to it. So tell me about your research found about what what this what the mental load of motherhood is doing to women? Yeah. So the what I would call the mental load is, you know, the responsibility of parenting and household duties. But in addition to the organizing, the reminding the planning for family, and it all incorporates cognitive, emotional, and mental labor. So that’s what we’re kind of talking about, when it comes to the mental load, something that I saw and researched was how, over the generations, as women are going back into the workforce, more and more, the domestic labor has not shifted to accommodate that in a heteronormative a man and wife relationship where there is a man and wife or you know, husband and wife living in a home, for the most part, the the woman in that relationship is still taking on the majority of the labor, regardless of her workplace, and that I feel like has become this perfect storm of women are back in the workforce. And we have shifted that perspective in once you become a parent, you can go back to work, but we haven’t changed the messaging or the context around how household duties needs to change at home. Yeah, and do you think this at all, do you think, would you or I don’t know what you found? And but this thought came to me as you were talking, I also feel like women like to prove that we were worthy of being in the workplace. And being moms like, we feel like we have to do it all. Because it proves our superpowers like right, you know what I mean? Like we have to do it all because if we don’t do it all they’re going to take part of that the work part away from us. Yeah, the the cultural message messaging that we’ve seen over the years isn’t so much a demand for men, you need to pick up your share of the load at home. It’s women We were super human we are, we’re Wonderwoman. We have superpowers, look at us go like we are. We’re amazing. We can do it all. And social media really played into that, with mom influencers, making it all look seamless and easy. And making it feel like this is part of motherhood, that asking for help is a form of weakness. Yeah, if you can’t, if I can’t do it, if you can’t do it all, you’re not a good like, you’re not a valuable mother, like you’re not the right you know, you’re not you’re, you’re you’re screwing up, if you need help, if you need support, if you if you actually would like somebody else to help you in the household, you must be you know, you’re just not doing it. Right. Right. Right. And that’s the exact opposite of the message that mothers needed, which is, you know, if you have a partner at home, that partner needs to up the ante and stat because everybody’s working really hard, and domestic labor should not fall on the woman in the situation just by default. Yeah, I do have to say, and I’m going to shout out my husband here, because I’ve been very fortunate, my husband and people that listen to this show. No, I, you know, he’s very supportive. He allows me to, to be able to do what I do. And he’s always been very partnered with me, throughout my, throughout our raising of four children. Now, when, when initially he worked outside the home, and I did not so it felt, you know, like I was nor then I went back to work. And when I went back to work full time and had kids, there was a an adjustment period for us. But I just kind of lucked out in that department. Or we had conversations about it. I didn’t find myself. I think for me, I was like, I don’t understand how people do do it. I can’t. I’ve just like, this just isn’t gonna work for me. I you know, our or, and my house kind of looked like not every, you know, it was a mess. So I’m like, Well, I guess that’s just us. Just a quick break to talk with you more about sunny side. Did you know that Sunny Side uses science to help you reach your goals by focusing on three scientifically proven superpowers that you have. Number one, the power of pre commitment. Each week, you set an intention for the week ahead. That includes a tracking goal, a drink goal, and possibly a dry day goal. Number two, the power of conscious interference. You’ll learn the habit of tracking each day as soon as you finish it, which creates a mindful pause before you start the next day. And number three positivity. We know that this is a big step that can be tough at times. Right. And that’s why Sunnyside offers coaching through SMS and email to give you support advice and motivation. You can check out a free 15 day trial at www.sunnyside.co/molly. That’s www.sunnyside.co/molly. I probably have a little more I don’t know, just my, my, my mindset has always been a little bit less ensconced in the feminine roles. And so maybe that’s why maybe it’s because I have four boys. I just was like, Okay, well, whatever. The house is going to look like a warzone. I’m going to be okay with it. Yeah, um, but definitely, one of the things that again, in your book you talk about, and I this is something that I think is so important, and I didn’t really I never allowed myself the time to just to really think about it, I guess was just how much I was shouldering and how much I didn’t, I just felt I did feel very much like I had to get right back into it all like, even after I had my kids. Yeah. And I know you talk about in your book about postpartum depression and how we really don’t have good mechanisms in place for support there even for women. No, in our country, specifically, we, we don’t support mothers after the child is born, not nearly in the way that mothers need it. You know, at the federal level, we don’t offer any sort of postpartum maternity leave. We’re one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid or unpaid maternity leave. It’s up to state levels and when you I do take it off, when I tried to take this time off, I was in a company with less than 50 employees, thereby, they didn’t have to give me any time off as part of their rules, and I was just lucky because my boss, as he told me, he’s like, we’re gonna let you take this time off, and you’ll still have a job to return to. Because I’m a nice guy. And to have six weeks off to heal from what is such a massive instrumental life change to everyone involved, is not enough time. And I think most mothers would agree with that. And yet, many women in the United States returned to work within the six weeks postpartum. And you tell people from other countries that and they are shocked. Yeah. Because they know what they know, like we I needed much more time than that, well, we don’t have many of us don’t get that option. So we just deal with it. And if you are more inclined for postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, then you’re really in for it for the next six to 12 months, because that means that you have the additional mental struggle and mental health challenges that are then associated with postpartum health, while also being in charge of being responsible for a newborn life. And it’s just a lot, it’s really challenging. And again, you know, instead of people getting loud about, we need to take care of mothers better. Again, I feel like, the first message you hear postpartum is, wine is going to be your new best friend. Right? Lean on alcohol, like this is what’s gonna get you through it. And for somebody, especially somebody who might be more prone to postpartum depression, or anxiety, alcohol is probably the last thing they need to be consuming to take care of themselves. Absolutely. And I think that’s again, where the mommy wine culture and the marketing behind wine, which has been very, I mean, very much, they’re spending millions of dollars, ladies to, to market wine to women. And so that, that it all comes together, right, and it all just keeps feeding on itself. And then as women are in these moments of, you know, I don’t want to say they’re not there, they’re compromised. They may not be they’re not there. I don’t say weak, but it’s a moment, you know, times a season of life where you’re really stretched thin, where you’re feeling really where maybe you’re having hormonal imbalances, you’re not getting enough sleep, where you’re getting, you know, where the the postpartum depression is really real. This, the answer they’re hearing is just have a glass of wine. And it’ll be you’ll feel better. And when you dig into the science and the research of alcohol and how it works, and you see like, it does zero favors in terms of our mental health and zaps our energy. It’s ethanol. I mean, it’s a depressant, I mean, all of these factor into why, why would we be pushing this on mothers who are already more sensitive, and more prone to struggling than they ever have been before? That it’s the opposite of what they need. What they really need is they need more help. They need more support, they need better support systems in place, and they need longer maternity leave. I mean, there’s so many things they actually need. And I feel like we have just kind of filled in the blanks with this laughable message, that somewhere along the way, got completely thrown out of context and to be taken taken way too seriously. Yeah, absolutely. And the third part of the book, you’re talking about how like kind of how we can go about changing, really our relationship with alcohol, and how we can change things and not just our own relationship with alcohol. But you say these are some of the big topics we need to speak up about the dangerous undertones of mommy wine culture. We must continue to demand a more equitable distribution of labor at home In addition to more flexibility in the workforce, we should work to end the stigma around mental illness, including depression, we must start treating big alcohol more like big tobacco, by holding the alcohol industry accountable, pressuring them to communicate the health risks of their products. We must connect and communicate with teens, preteens, and even kids in elementary school on the risks of drinking and the effect of alcohol on the body. And we must demand workplaces make efforts to eliminate toxic workplace drinking culture. You hope, right that people read this book and that they, they get inspired personally to change their own relationship with alcohol. But also it sounds like you really hope that people will start working to change the narratives across those kinds of bigger topics across big alcohol across the workplace, across the mental load of motherhood. Yeah, I think once mothers or parents get out of the thick of early motherhood, where they get a little bit of their time back, I think that’s when we, like I’m at the my kids are at the age now they’re seven and nine, where I can actually start doing something to advocate. And there are organizations that are completely devoted to exactly what the list you just went through. And like chamber, mothers and moms, first us these are these are grassroots organizations that are doing the lobbying work. And we once we have time and availability, we can get involved, because this is what we’ve gotten through the thick of it, or I’m speaking for myself, I’ve gotten through the thick of it, I have to do something now. So the next generation isn’t stuck with these same cycles and same problems and same narratives. And this is how I can help contribute to reducing the next generations mental load. We talk about it all the time here on the show, it’s like, we have to be willing to address the reasons and the underlying stories and those narratives. And this is a different and I talk about it with people changing their own narratives, right? Because we got to change how we think to be able to change how we feel, to take different actions and to get different results in our lives. That’s true for everyone on a personal level. But I think it is critical that once you get to a place where you’ve got your space, you’ve got your own mental health shored up and you’re feeling better, we need to start taking action and advocating, because we don’t want. And that’s one of the reasons that I do what I do, because I don’t want other generations of people growing up with people with parents who misuse alcohol. And whether that’s over drinking or having a dependent relationship on alcohol. Regardless, we need to, we need to start using our voices collectively to change that. People, a lot of people argue that we’d lost the village, you know, the village mindset of parenting and of motherhood and of taking care of each other. And I guess I would argue this is the closest I can give back and be part of the village that I did not have in the world that we live in right now this is the closest that can come is me, being that voice for mothers who are are new to motherhood, or who got stuck in the drinking cycle. And don’t know how to get back out. I can I can be here now coming out from the other side of it to say, here’s the changes we need structurally and socially. And here’s what you can do to break the cycle. Yeah, and to that point, I want to I want to highlight for folks in your book in the in the last section in the house section. Each chapter ends with a subject of lighten your load. And it’s really just some ideas for whatever that specific chapter is on how people might you know, for talking about mental health, talking about the herd mentality talking about things that you know, all of this that we’re talking about all of those different areas, and you offer some practical suggestions and also some practice practical suggestions for people who are starting a sober journey and what that might look like. Yeah, I feel like it. The goal of that section was both to help people live lighten their load, like what can I do right now today cuz I’m drowning? Yeah. But there’s also things in there for I’m out of the chaos of early motherhood, what can I do to kind of build these, you know, these, these bigger narratives or to share these stories or to get the message out or to support the next generation. So kind of a little bit of a mix. Regardless of what stage you’re in, in motherhood. This book again, folks, it’s called, it’s not about the wine, the loaded truth behind mommy wine culture. Celeste, Yvonne, thank you so much for coming on the show. While I know you are completely sober. And that’s a great choice. And I say it all the time being a completely alcohol free is a wonderful choice. At the root of this conversation is what is fueling anyone’s decision to over drink, and what we need to be addressing that. And what that is, and in this instance, for you moms, because I know there are a lot of you listening, who are believing that you need to drink too, too, to destress to unwind to relax to get yourself through motherhood. I really hope that you’ll pick this book up. I will of course link it in the show notes. And where else can they connect with you, Celeste? Yeah, I’m on social media. My handle is the ultimate mom challenge. And you can also find me on substack I post weekly, sober inspiration pieces every week. Great. I will link all of that in the show notes everybody so you can find her. Celeste Yvonne, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you again for bearing with our recording schedules. And I can’t wait to share this message this book with my audience. Thanks for having me, Molly. Hey, thanks for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. Take something you learned from this week’s episode and put it into action. Changing your drinking habits and creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol is 100% possible. You can stop worrying Stop feeling guilty about over drinking and become someone who desires alcohol less. I work with people in three ways. You can learn about them over at www dot Molly watts.com/work with me, or better yet, reach out to me directly. It’s Molly at Molly watts.com. We’ll jump on a call and discuss what’s best for you. This podcast is really just the beginning of our conversation. Let’s keep it going.