Hey, Moms: Can We Please Stop Calling Alcohol “Mommy Juice”?

updated Sep 30, 2020
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Maybe you’ve seen the memes online: a mom, wine glass in hand, saying something snarky about her children and referring to her pinot as “mommy juice.” Mommy juice wine culture seems to be everywhere, from Instagram to Facebook, and even slapped onto party napkins and travel wine glasses. And while I’ve shared a few myself in DMs to my group of mom friends, I’ve grown so tired of the “moms love wine as a relief from their terrible children/stressful work life” trope. Not only is it sexist and demeaning — no one is labeling beers as “daddy juice” (although it’d probably sell well, TBH) — but it also creates a problematic view of alcohol for our kids.

In a recent episode of the podcast I host with my friend Stacie Billis, Didn’t I Just Feed You, we discussed the layered problems with “mommy juice” culture and how to model responsible drinking for our kids that doesn’t show up in memes.

Why I’ll Never Call Wine “Mommy Juice”

I love a good cocktail or sharing a bottle of wine with my friends, and I don’t feel uncomfortable doing either in front of my kids, but you will never hear me call either “mommy juice.” The fact that dads aren’t walking around with wine tumblers full of “daddy juice” is just one of the many problems surrounding mom wine culture.

I grew up with a sober parent in a family where alcohol addiction was prevalent. My childhood gave me a wide perspective on alcohol consumption — I saw parents having fun without alcohol at AA picnics, and I also saw parents drinking too much at family gatherings. Now that I’m a parent myself, it’s important to me to model healthy habits around all food and drink, but especially alcohol.

For many of the same reasons pediatricians and physiologists champion using the correct names for our kids’ body parts, calling alcohol — wine, whiskey, or whatever it may be — by its name will help our children develop healthy relationships with alcohol. Calling wine “mommy juice” normalizes and minimizes drinking habits that could be problematic or unhealthy at best.

Pushing wine as “mom’s only relief from the stresses of parenting,” as mommy wine memes often do, is damaging to our kids, too: I doubt any of us want our kids believing they drive us to drink. And yet, mom wine culture creates the idea that moms drink wine as an escape from their children and as one of the few ways to socialize with other parents.

Parents of all ages should model healthy habits around drinking. Order wine because it pairs deliciously with whatever you’re eating. Offer non-alcoholic options when you’re entertaining at home. Most importantly, stop giving alcoholic drinks cute names and just call everything exactly what it is. Your kids aren’t judging you for drinking — they are learning from you.

Didn’t I Just Feed You is a candid weekly podcast about feeding families hosted by Stacie Billis and Kitchn’s Associate Food Editor, Meghan Splawn. Each month, Meghan brings the best of Didn’t I Just Feed You to Kitchn with practical takeaways for parents who want to make family meals easier, more fun, or just a little more delicious.