Life has changed. When we were in our teens and twenties, how often did we watch our moms go out with a group of girlfriends and come home a little worse for wear? It just didn’t happen.
I am not a particularly heavy drinker and I don’t get out-of-control drunk, but I can’t say my fifties have been immune to me arriving home and struggling to get my key in the front door. Recently a friend dropped by one Sunday afternoon. After several bottles of wine we turned the kitchen into a dance floor, resulting in a sprained ankle for her, hysterical laughter from me, and my 20-year old son looking on, horrified. And I won’t even mention the singing.
If I think back to my mom, much of her socialising was based on coffee mornings, cake, and hobbies like flower arranging or playing cards. As anybody who knows me will confirm, while I enjoy copious amounts of coffee and cake, the flower-arranging gene passed me by, and I enjoy meeting friends for a drink. I can happily remain alcohol-free for weeks, even months, but if I have a glass it can easily become a bottle.
If I kept a drink diary, I fear the facts would have medics branding me a binge drinker. Just writing that down is quite a sobering experience. But I’m not alone. It has become part of our everyday culture, with many women drinking more than recommended. According to a 2015 UK survey, ‘empty nester’ moms were at the forefront of middle-aged drinking, with 28% of women over 45 admitting they drink as much as or more than their grown-up children. As they don’t get drunk, they often don’t see it as a problem. Yet every glass of wine or draft glass of beer over the recommended limit will cut half an hour from the expected lifespan of a 40-year-old.* And, alarmingly, according to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there’s been a marked increase in the number of women over 40 attending AA meetings.
Think of Mother’s Day – in the past, gift suggestions included chocolates, perfume and flowers. Now bottles ofâ€‹ bubbly, craft gin and wine make up a huge part of multimillion-rand Mother’s Day marketing campaigns. We all smile at birthday cards and signs with slogans like ‘It’s not a hangover, it’s wine flu’; ‘This house runs on love, laughter and Champagne’; or ‘One Prosecco, two Prosecco, three Prosecco, floor’. These are gifted to loved ones affectionately without any stigma or insult intended.
But when does all this stop being a joke and turn into something more serious? Even if you don’t have a reliance on booze, the fact is there’s a reason we’re told not to exceed 14 units a week, in the same way we know it’s not healthy for us to light up a cigarette.
There is a suggestion that middle-aged women’s drinking patterns are a spillover from the ‘one of the guys’ culture of the ’80s and ’90s. We have simply taken those habits into midlife. The trend is also attributed to many more women having professional careers, with drinks after work seen as the norm. Even if you are no longer leading that office-based lifestyle, you become accustomed to knocking back a few glasses in the evening as you help your kids with their homework, prepare the evening meal, or relax watching TV.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Put To The Test: Radiance Enhancers
Maintain a youthful glow in any weather with these tried-and-tested buys.
Be more Baby! (And other things I learnt from Dirty Dancing)
As a teenager, actor Katy Brand was swept away by the thrill of Baby’s story in Dirty Dancing – and she’s still living her life by the movie’s key lessons
THE WAY I AM - ‘I'VE LED A LIFE full of adventure'
Dietician, model, and author Maye Musk talks to Marike Watson about growing up in SA, raising successful children, staying positive when times are tough, and what it’s like to grace the covers of magazines at 72
DAD, the things I'd like to tell you...
Thirteen years ago, Jenny Tucker’s dad, Dennis, died. As Father’s Day nears, she opens her heart
Fashion WITH HEART
The women behind sustainable-fashion initiative Vintage with Love successfully turned a love of thrifting into shopping for a cause
I had to tell Prue to STOP TALKING SO MUCH!
Great British Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith talk to woman&home about their friendship and what happens when they disagree
I'm so much BOLDER now!
Radiant English actress Emily Blunt talks about the joy of hiking, reading Kate Atkinson novels, loving her own company, and working alongside her husband in the dramatic thriller A Quiet Place
Make yourself HEARD
Try our expert tips to confidently navigate difficult conversations at work
Could You Repeat That Please?
Listen up! It’s time to start looking after your ears
How Your Relationship Can Survive & Thrive When You're Cooped Up Together
Spending every day at home during these extraordinary times could take its toll on couples...
Rethink How You Drink
2020 was the year of over-imbibing. Here’s how to adjust your consumption compunction.
Invisible Ropes of Love: ON CROSSING THE BRIDGE OF YOUNG ADULTHOOD
TREVOR WELTMAN describes the rite of passage he has experienced moving from youth to adulthood, how he navigated this crossing, and how meditation and yogic Transmission supported him along the way.
MATTHEW PERRY: DUMPED & OFF THE RAILS
AFTER HIS LONGTIME LOVE CALLS IT QUITS, PALS SAY THE TROUBLED FRIENDS STAR IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL.
Drink More Coffee And Alcohol!
The best New Year's resolutions are the ones you'll keep because you actually want them
Whiskey & Tariffs Don't Mix
The weaponizing of trade isn’t irritating just bourbon and Scotch drinkers. It’s crashing headlong into the interwoven realities of a global industry
The American Whiskey Rebellion
Its hard to miss the veritable explosion of American whiskies popping up on the shelves of your neighborhood spirits shops and watering holes lately.
Demi's Shocking Confession: Booze Killed My Unborn Baby
Star reveals mania for alcohol, cocaine & pills
The Rum Diaries
An overlooked spirit comes into its own, and it’s cause for celebration
13 Things - You Can Prevent Many Cancers
One in six deaths worldwide is from cancer, yet research shows that at least 42 percent of cancers could be prevented. Along with healthy eating and not smoking, add these habits to your list of ways to lower your risk.
How To Imbibe Gin With Style
The gin renaissance is in full swing. Here’s how to imbibe with style