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Woman says she ‘would’ve lost custody of my daughter’ as result of ‘moms love wine culture’

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MARBLEHEAD, Mass. — It’s joked about on Facebook, in the movies and on TV — moms need wine. But according to a Massachusetts mother, there is nothing funny about it. She is trying to change a culture that she believes is ruining lives.

“It was definitely a thing that was prized in mommy culture, to drink, and to drink because you were a mom, because you had kids. You needed this,” said Laura McKowen.

McKowen said she knows because she was one of those moms. She and her friends got together regularly with their kids and more often than not, the wine flowed freely.

“It was like, a joke,” she said. “The kids have their sippy cups and we have our sippy cups — the wine.”

And why not? Movies like “Bad Moms” glorify the culture of drinking moms. Gift shops are chock full of signs that say things like: “In my house, the kids go to bed at wine-o’clock” and “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink.” There are mugs, napkins, and T-shirts that all pay tribute to moms and their seemingly insatiable appetite for wine.

“It’s all become so normal,” McKowen said.

But that norm almost cost her the most important person in her life.

“Eventually, I would have lost custody of my daughter. It was inevitable,” McKowen said.

According Angela Sheppard, director of Emerson House, an inpatient addiction treatment center for women run by Gosnold, the normalization of moms drinking is a problem.

“I think talking about needing wine, or needing to drink in order to be a mom, is really dangerous,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said over the past decade, the majority of resources at Emerson House have gone to help those with opioid addiction, but recently she’s seen a shift.

“Definitely over the past year, we have seen an increase in alcoholics seeking treatment,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard attributes that to the more open dialogue about addiction because of the opioid crisis.

McKowen is hoping to see a shift in that wine culture in the mom world. She’s writing a blog about living the sober live and finding women who are giving up the glass as a lifestyle choice and not necessarily because they have a dependence on alcohol. But she says even that comes with challenges.

“It’s the only drug you have to explain not using,” McKowen said.

McKowen said she hopes that society will eventually get the message that parenting is a gift, not a burden that requires self-medication.

“I think it’s a ship that’s going to take a long time to turn, but I think it happens one conversation at a time,” McKowen said.

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