The Sober Realities of Motherhood

A conversation with Emily Lynn Paulson, founder of the Sober Mom Squad
November 9, 2020 Updated: November 9, 2020

You’ve seen the mugs, the T-shirts, and the memes all laughing hilariously at moms and their reliance on “mommy juice” to get them through the day. How reliant are some mothers, though, on alcohol to cope with the pressures they face today? What impact is this “mommy juice” messaging having on families?

I recently spoke to Emily Lynn Paulson, founder of the Sober Mom Squad, about this and other concerns. Here’s what she said.

The Epoch Times: What is the Sober Mom Squad?

emily lynn paulson
Emily Lynn Paulson. (Courtesy of Emily Lynn Paulson)

Emily Lynn Paulson: The Sober Mom Squad is just as it sounds. We are a community of moms who desire to raise our children without “mommy juice.” We offer virtual meetups (over Zoom), a forum for sharing, parenting resources, masterclasses, live expert webinars, group coaching, and so much more.

The Epoch Times: What inspired you to start the Sober Mom Squad?

Ms. Paulson: At the start of the pandemic, there was a huge uptick in the number of women reaching out for sober coaching. Many were women who previously considered themselves social drinkers, but found that they were drinking more than ever, as well as women who were uncomfortable with the amount they were showing their kids that they were drinking. And most women were finding that the extreme stress and pressure were increasing their “treatment” by using booze.

At the same time, the messaging hitting our inboxes and social media feeds was all about needing to drink to get through the pandemic! I knew there had to be a way to help support women and create a community, to help share tips and give moms a place to vent about their unique challenges without the added pressure of wine-mom culture.

The Epoch Times: How pervasive, in your opinion, is “mommy juice” culture among today’s moms?

Ms. Paulson: Extremely pervasive, and sneaky! We make a joke about it, but we don’t make a joke about any other drug. Alcohol is a drug. It kills more people than all illicit and prescription drugs combined. When you see the cute pink cans of wine and spiked seltzer, and alcohol messaging all around you, it makes you subconsciously believe that it’s no big deal. What women need is connection. Alcohol doesn’t connect, it numbs. Women need stress relief. Alcohol doesn’t relieve stress, it exacerbates it. Women need a break. Alcohol may temporarily numb pain, but it makes everything worse in the long run. Alcohol is not a requirement for motherhood, yet it’s sold as such.

The Epoch Times: What common struggles have you uncovered among moms in the Sober Mom Squad community?

Ms. Paulson: The need for escape. Alcohol is often used as an escape, which is certainly why I used it. Unfortunately, whatever you are trying to escape doesn’t go away, and alcohol further exacerbates the problems, creating a need for itself. Learning how to deal with the feelings beneath the drink is the key in giving your body and brain what it really needs. Women need connection and support and a place to share what is on their hearts. That’s what we want to give them in Sober Mom Squad.

The Epoch Times: What benefits of sobriety have moms shared in your community?

Ms. Paulson: That they feel more connected and present in their lives. That they are less irritable with their children. That the “problems” they drank to deal with are no longer problems now that they aren’t drinking. That they sleep better, feel better, can get more done in their day, and make better choices. 

The Epoch Times: What impact do you hope the Sober Mom Squad will have on families?

Ms. Paulson: I hope that families will be more connected, lean on each other, and talk more about the challenges facing them, while finding positive outlets, together. Increasing awareness about alcohol and what alcohol does to the brain, body, and relationships is positive, and doesn’t require becoming a fully dry or anti-drinking household! It’s about communication, education, and harm reduction. My dream is that future generations grow up with the knowledge that alcohol is a dangerous drug, not a requirement for being an adult. 

The Epoch Times: What advice would you give a mom reading this who finds herself turning to “mommy juice” more often than she’d like?

Ms. Paulson: You are not alone, and it is not your fault. Alcohol is an addictive substance, so if you find yourself wanting it more often, that is not your fault! The fact that you are questioning before it gets to a problematic place—and it’s not if, it’s when—is a very good thing. My advice is always to ask yourself what you’re drinking for. What is the feeling? Are you thirsty? Drink something else. Stressed? Go run around the block! Bored? Read a book or turn on the TV. There is always a remedy that doesn’t include ingesting a neurotoxin.

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