“They are almost down and then I can get my glass of wine and relax…” if you’ve been a mommy you’ve probably felt that instinctual urge to curl up in a ball and down a bottle of “mommy juice” after one of “those” days. I’ve definitely had this thought a time or two myself, but there have been a few times in my mommyhood when I have to pause and reflect a little on this sentiment and do a real “gut check”.

Aaaahhhhhh….that first sip is always the best. This is my reward for not strangling a kid today… Ok, I wouldn’t go that far, but at least I kept them alive and that should be something to toast to, right? Of course! You are a mommy, and that in itself should be celebrated daily. And, please don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a glass of mommy juice as much as the next basic, but where does this reward system turn into a problem? Let’s go down the rabbit hole a bit and talk about alcohol consumption for a second, moms (in a loving way of course!).

Now, I can only speak to you through my own personal experience and my knowledge as a personal trainer and health coach, so I’ll start with that. My grandmother was an alcoholic. She never drank until she was in her 40s, started with wine, and then, after many terrible incidents and years of addiction, went into recovery (praise God!). I only knew her as a recovering alcoholic and saw her daily struggle to stay sober. Her experience taught me a few things about life and how to watch out for addictive behaviors in myself, which I am genetically embedded with. I’ve personally battled issues with food, however, have luckily stayed away from any form of substance abuse.

But, something changed for me when I became a mother…I found this new “excuse” to drink. It’s like you are automatically in a club where it’s totally socially acceptable to drink for pretty much any reason, especially if that drink of choice is wine. Here began the conflict for me. Wrestling with the knowledge of my predisposition to addiction, and my desire to stay physically fit and healthy, I’ve found myself throughout the last few years saying, “Do I really need that drink?”

I’m not sure how your mind works, but mine is pretty reward focused. I set a goal and then aim to accomplish it and when I do, I get a rush. At the same time, my mind can find cause and effect (or work/reward) excuses for a lot of things. With this in mind, my attitude toward alcohol became, “I deserve this for all the hard work I’ve been doing as a mom” or even scarier, “I need this.” At those times, I immediately need to step back and reevaluate. What am I using this alcohol for? Am I actually enjoying drinking it or am I just doing it out of habit? How does my body feel about this decision?

Most of the time, I can’t come up with a good reason after that to drink, but only reasons NOT to drink. (1) It costs too much money…I’ll stick with my free water thank you. (2) I have to get up throughout the night with babies and feel like poo while taking care of them…uh nope! (3) Those extra calories are SO not worth not reaching my goals…a headache AND a big bloated belly, no thanks!

What’s my solution when I find myself at this point? I take a month off of drinking, just for the “fun” of it. I stop buying alcohol for my home and limit it to only times when I’m out with my husband or friends. I reach out to people who love me and can keep me accountable. These are some ways to just make sure you don’t embed those habits into your every day life and “normalize” them.

So, please, celebrate yourself as a mommy! Love on yourself, reward yourself with me time or baths or whatever you need! And, of course, feel free to drink that occasional glass of wine, but a little gut check never hurts every once and a while. Stay safe and stay healthy my mommy friends.