This is so the worst thing you're going to read all day.

[Content Note: Alcoholism; misogyny.]

Our old pal Peggy Drexler, author of the terrific "When mom earns more, it's tough on dad" that we discussed last week, is back with a new, equally terrific piece examining the reasons why women are reportedly drinking more.

And by "examining the reasons," what I mean is throwing out every conceivable theory: It's younger women who are drinking more; it's older women who are drinking more; it's businesswomen who are drinking more; it's stay-at-home moms who are drinking more; it's women who are binge-drinking; it's women who are drinking alone every night; it's women who are concealing the amount of alcohol they drink; it's women who are bragging about the amount of alcohol they drink! "Many women don't realize what problem drinking looks, or feels, like." But "more and more women fit the profile [of an alcoholic as defined by medical professionals] quite nicely, though often come to the realization on their own."


It's tough to pick out my favorite part of this piece, but I'm going to go with:
Sarah, a stay-at-home mother, began to drink more frequently after having her third child. She was often drinking alone, because her husband traveled a lot for work. "My social life is just so restricted; I'm home every night," she said. "I used to have an active social life. Now, most of my evenings are about feeding kids, cleaning kids, putting them to bed -- and then collapsing in front of the TV." Sometimes, she said, having a drink was a way to remember some of the excitement of her old life. Other times, it was just something to do.
Or, maybe like millions and millions of other people who use alcohol (or cigarettes, or drugs, or food, or gambling, or compulsive behavior of any sort), Sarah was using alcohol as a coping mechanism because she was anxious and/or unhappy. Obviously, that's not something that we're allowed to say, because THERE IS NO GREATER JOY THAN BEING A MOTHER and you are a monster-lady if you suggest otherwise.

(Which is no judgment at all on the women who are perfectly content to be stay-at-home mothers. I am pro-choice! Choose what makes you happy!)

But the truth is that, for a lot of human beings, sitting at home alone every night because your partner travels and trading a satisfying social life for looking after children isn't enough. And saying that is not the same thing as saying "I hate my children," but it's often received as though it is.

And maybe that's why more women are drinking. Because the world is opening up for women, and yet we're still being told that nothing is better or more fulfilling or more important than being at home with children. And we're still judged harshly if we assert that we want more than that for ourselves. We're still side-eyed suspiciously and critically if we need more than babies to make us content. We're made to feel guilty and ashamed and less than if we don't regard motherhood as the be-all end-all of our existences, especially if we're already mothers.

Being told "the world awaits you," and then negatively judged if you want more of it beyond the walls of your home, well, that might warrant a glass of wine.

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