Stress and the overwhelming demands of being a busy working mum can take their toll. A client Sue describes feeling constantly uptight and wired trying to be the perfect working mum – from dealing with homework, pick-ups and drop-offs to cooking and providing the love and care her kids need, along with running her husbands busy chiropractic practice, leaves Sue exhausted and feeling like she has no life. Unfortunately this is a very familiar story for many women.
And in order to survive, around 5pm most weeknights the fridge door gets flung open with gusto. Minutes later a familiar sound of a wine bottle opening marks the start of a daily drinking ritual enjoyed by countless working woman and uptight working mums. Women are using alcohol to cope with the pressures of juggling too much, but at what cost?
According to the National Health Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women aged 30 to 49 drink an average of between 8.6 and 9.7 drinks a week.
Compared to men, women generally metabolise alcohol faster, and get drunk more rapidly on less alcohol than men and suffer health problems such as liver damage, breast cancer and alcohol dependence on a lot lower levels of consumption.
Another problem is the huge wine glasses used in most homes can increase the risk because the recommended safe daily allowance is 100ml but these glasses are holding 150ml to 200ml. This standard serve of 100ml is also based on a wine percentage of 12 percent but many reds and whites are now closer to 14 and 15 percent, so without realizing it a harmless “two glasses” a day is actually four standard drinks which means most women are drinking at high risk levels.
Are there better ways to unwind?
Breaking the cycle of reaching for a glass of red means coming up with new strategies to cope with everyday demands of life. Getting off the “wine” treadmill may also require you to make some big changes so that your life is less stressful. You may need to start delegating and get some help at home, you may need to downscale your house, work part-time for a while to alleviate the huge stresses that are often the root of most women’s drinking use. But a good place to start is to start drinking mindfully, which means setting limits and having alcohol free days. It is also vital to develop and maintain other pleasures such as exercising, listening to music, dancing, watching movies, connecting with friends, meditation and sleeping. Sometimes the best and easiest thing to do after a hard day is to simply eat a nutritious meal and go to bed early for a long restorative sleep and remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day.