Is it OK to mix babies and booze? That's the question currently up for debate thanks to an event called A Very Mommy Wine Festival that was held in Toronto on Wednesday. Advertised with the tagline "Babes on the Hips, Wine on the Lips" the fest was a place for wine-drinking mamas to connect, have fun, and hear parenting talks while sampling vino from all over the world.
Initial reaction? How come there was a wine festival for moms and no one told me about it?
But Ann Dowsett Johnston—author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol—was not down with the idea of moms boozing it up while hanging with their tiny humans. In fact, she objected to it big time, in a lengthy opinion piece she penned for thestar.com.
"Call me critical, but is there not something intrinsically disturbing about mothers 'getting their wine on—big time' while they bounce their babies?" she wrote. "Hey, what could go wrong?"
"Since when did wine and motherhood become synonymous?" she continued. "Is there not something a little creepy about the meme of the wine label: 'The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to buy.' How about Indigo selling wine glasses emblazoned with: 'Best Mom Ever?' Or Real Simple magazine announcing the 'Best. News. Ever.' Namely, Amazon Prime will now deliver wine to your doorstep within the hour. I am no prohibitionist; far from it. But this is not harmless fun."
On the one hand, she's not totally wrong. But on the other, can't we just live? Do we really have to make this about more than it is—one event, of the course of a few hours, that offers a bunch of isolated mamas the chance to connect and unwind? Of course, it wasn't long before festival organizer Alana Kayfetz sent in a response to Dowsett Johnson's rant in order to try and set the record straight.
"Wine is always optional," she explained. "We create a safe and fun space for new moms to connect. We give women permission to be human. We put their well-being first. Those who claim we have any other agenda misunderstand our goals. As you can see, a witty event tag line is not our call to action. We tried 'Mommies that like to drink tea,' but nobody came."
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HA! And TBH, I wouldn't have shown up for event that revolved around sampling tea either. Spilling tea, maybe. But drinking it? Hard pass. So while it's true that somehow over the last 10 years or so, drinking wine has become just as much of a cliche associated with motherhood as driving a minivan and wearing yoga pants, as long as these mamas were Uber-ing home afterwards I don't have a problem with it—just make sure I get an invite next time, OK?