Sober Moms vs Using Moms: Who Handles Stress Better?

Meet Diane

The stress of motherhood was taking its toll and Diane was glad she no longer had the drinking restrictions she did while she was pregnant. After a few hours with her kids, she needed a drink or two – or three. Although, she noticed the last time she tried to relax with a few drinks, her toddler’s tantrums were harder to deal with, not easier…

Meet Vicky

After months of meth use, Vicky enrolled in a recovery program and got clean. The stress of caring for a newborn finally pushed her to get help. She simply couldn’t do it anymore. Vicky discovered that her new-found sobriety made motherhood less stressful and the parenting classes she was taking were actually pretty helpful with the challenges she faced.

Substance Use and Motherhood

Diane and Vicky are discovering the same truths recently unearthed by researcher Antonia v. Mata of the Department of Social Work at California State University.

Many moms, like Diane, turn to substances in an effort to cope with the stress of motherhood. While some abstain during pregnancy, once the child is born, a lot of moms return to previous habits or develop new ones. But does substance abuse truly help to relieve the pressure? Mata decided to dig into the topic and find answers.

Exploring this issue, Mata asked, “Do mothers have a more difficult time coping with their child’s challenging behaviors when they’re using drugs than they do when they’re sober?’

To answer this important question, Mata interviewed women about their drug and alcohol habits – during and after pregnancy – and the challenges they faced with their children.

There is Strength in Sobriety

Mata’s research produced some interesting findings:

  • Mothers who used substances noted their kid’s excessive crying and tantrums were increasingly difficult to handle.
  • Sober moms found their children’s outbursts less challenging.
  • Mothers reported their overall challenges with motherhood decreased after enrolling in a treatment program.
  • As these moms got sober, their child-related stresses decreased.

This research confirms it’s a bad idea to rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with challenging little ones. Plus, treatment programs can provide mothers with helpful parenting classes, education, and counseling to further reduce stress.

Let’s be totally honest: the road to recovery won’t be easy, but a life free from the chaos of substance abuse will help to relieve some of the overall strain of parenthood.

Additional Reading:   5 Appealing Rehab Features for Single Parents




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