PARENTS

Is Motherhood Driving Women To Drink?

02/07/2009 09:09 | Updated 22 May 2015

Uncorking a bottle of wine and drinking a glass or two once the little ones are tucked up feels like a well deserved treat, particularly after a stressful day. But could those tipples be doing more harm than good?

Mother of three and author Stefanie Wilder-Taylor recently came clean about how much she was drinking and publicly declared that she was going to stop.

She did this by talking about her decision in her column "Make Mine A Double: Tales of Twins and Tequila" on Mommy Track'd, a parenting website.

Her story and decision to quit drinking on May 22 has resonated with lots of other mums, if the comments she receives are anything to go by.

But is motherhood driving women to drink?Perhaps, says author of "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop! What You Really Need To Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much", Lisa Frederiksen.

"Women often start drinking heavily as a way of coping with stress, and let's face it, parenting can be stressful," she says.

Frederikson also thinks habitually drinking in front of your children can cause problems for lots of reasons including teaching them how to handle alcohol, or not, as an adult.

"Believe it or not, they are watching," Frederiksen says. "As they get older and are faced with what they should do as a group of teens sitting by the pool on a hot afternoon, they recall our drinking patterns and have the sense that having a beer is the ticket."

Drinking and children don't mix, whatever the circumstances according to psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., author of "Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage".

"By all means, get together with friends, but let them do the drinking," she says, "Have lemonade instead, and be the mum you need to be."

In the worst case scenario, one drink could lead to another and before you know it, you could be driving while under the influence on the school run. But how can you tell if you, or someone close to you, has a problem?

Some of the signs could be if either mum or dad begin exhibiting behaviour like inconsistent parenting, fighting with loved ones about the drinking or "falling asleep" even though the kids are still up and going.

Wilder-Taylor began to see some of those patterns in her own life. "I need to be present for my husband in the evening; I need to be fully reliable for all three of my children at all times and, for me, if I'm 100 percent honest with myself, I can't do that if I drink," she writes.

Parenting can be hard, worrying and sometimes relentless and it's easy to see why some people find release in alcohol.

But in writing about her drinking habits, Wilder-Taylor may have opened the way for other parents to rethink their alcohol consumption.

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