When Mama Pops Pills


Typically, when we think of drug addicts, we don’t think of beautifully put together, mini-van driving soccer moms who seem to have all their ‘stuff' together

We don’t think the pill-popping mama is our neighbor with the perfectly manicured house, with the ‘perfect’ kids. 

No, instead when we think of addicts, we think of street people and people who have a certain ‘stigma of addiction' that is hard to shake and far too easy to judge.

As of late, and much to my surprise, however, I have realized that plenty of people I know (and love) are pill popping mamas.  Look at social media and you will see plenty of references made by mothers – often jokingly – about how badly they need Xanax or a bottle of wine.

Recently, however, I was dumbfounded to realize that a mother I have known for years is addicted to Xanax and pain killers

I promise, if you met her you would never know that she needed pills in order to get through her days, and that her pill popping has eventually become a habit.  Her kids are awesome, she holds down a great job, she seemingly does everything right.  But there's this one little thing.

Perhaps I am just naive.  But after doing some research I found out that there are more middle class MOTHERS taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications than any other demographic today.  These medications are, of course, prescribed by doctors for a myriad of reasons that range from insomnia to panic attacks. But it seems that all a woman has to do is show up in her doctor’s office, say she is tired or exhausted or stressed out and has 4 kids at home, and a physician will happily hand her over a prescription.  

(I know this is the truth, because this happened to me – but I turned the prescription down.)

I am not judging the use of such medications.  But I do think that sometimes as women, we have to realize that “We are not okay” and take proactive measures to help ourselves.

Trust me, there are times when I have wished for a little something, something extra to help me get through my day. 

What does concern me however, is the ease of getting these medications, the ease of becoming addicted (in less than a month), and the nonchalance with which doctors and patients treat these medications.

Not to mention, that these meds are Band-Aids.  They don’t cure the wounds, or heal the stress, or deal with the issues common to every single one of us as mothers, as women.  They simply mask it and add to our feelings of inadequacies.

According to a report by Working Mother Magazine, drug use among MOTHERS ages 30-44 has increased 400% over a period of 10 years.  This essentially means that 3 out of every 5 mothers that you know, is likely taking some sort of anti-anxiety medication. 

Would you know who she is?  Is it you?


And what does this say about our current state and expectations of motherhood? Perhaps we are trying to do too much for too many and neglecting ourselves in the process. 

What do you think?

When Mama Pops Pills

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. I’m among the women who take anti-depressants. I wouldn’t call myself a pill-popping mama, although I suppose there is some truth to that. I take my meds every day because they make me a better mother.

    You’re right – they don’t solve my problems. They don’t cure my wounds or heal my stress. What they do is allow me to feel capable of doing that myself. Depression can take over your life, and leave you feeling that simply getting out of bed is more than you can handle. There is no way to be a mother to your children when you can barely get dressed. But taking the meds means that I can be responsible, care for my kids, be successful in my job.

    There are certainly plenty of cases where medications are abused, but I think that there are even more women out there who are just doing the best they can to be the best they can – not perfect (not even close!) – just happy. Finding the solution to anxiety or depression is an important step – whether that solution is counseling or exercise or medication depends on the person and their unique needs.

    I do think there is a lot of pressure on women to be a certain way, to present a mother who has it all together to the world. It’s when we’re honest with one another about how hard it is to do all this, and how far we are from perfect that we all can do a little healing. Talking about it is good. Listening is even better.

  2. KITTYNOLAND says:

    I don’t even know what to say about this article.I take an anti-anxiety medication that doubles as an anti-seizure medication.I honestly don’t know how some do all that they do without"help".
    My sister has 3 boys all between 5-10 years of age.She works full-time at a very serious job that requires court appearances for the prosecutors.Her husband is retired but is working full-time as a firefighter.He is home for only 3 days and at the station 24/7 for four days.She is now starting a M.A.program and the University is a roundtrip 2 hour drive.Her mother-in law and sister-in law take care of the children when she is working.
    They are exhausted all the time.They wouldn’t take and do not take anything beyond caffeine.I know that many of us, including myself, feel that we cannot live up to other parents and how well some seem to manage things.I often get depressed, and don’t take anti-depressants, just hearing about all she can accomplish. Most of us deal with inferiority issues and it is so difficult to believe that what my husband and I do is just as worthy as others. We need to support mothers/women in general and I wish we were all viewed and judged equally.Unfortunately, our world simply appears to be becoming more competitive.
    Caffeine is my drug of choice!
    Far be it from me to judge what anyone else does as long as it does not interfere with my families lives and our sanity.

  3. Melody says:

    No addiction is a good thing. Of course, people should be able to get the help that they need (stress on NEED) but that is to be determined by the individual with their family and a good healthcare professional. It’s important to pay attention to trends in our society–and unfortunately, this is just one more example of how we’re trapped into looking for "quick fixes" to solve many of our problems. And if those so-called fixes lead to addiction, that’s not going to help the mother, or her family, in the long run. Medications are costly and have ranging side effects.
    Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t real people with real problems. There are. Obviously, there are. But a 400% increase? In only 5 years? Either way too many sick people went undiagnosed before, or something in our culture has changed to make us sick(er). Now, this is just me musing…but maybe it has something to do with the pressure women are under to have a fabulous career, beautiful home, nice family (complete with children who are equally fabulous and involved in everything) a husband who likewise has a fabulous career. We want to be great cooks, look perfect, and have a finger in a lot of different hobby pies. We’re constantly told that we can "have it all." And if things aren’t working out the way they do in the picture-perfect magazines and blogs? Then we are told (and a lot of this telling comes from ourselves) that we are weak. Anxiety follows. Perhaps I’m speaking from a place of experience.
    Why is it so hard to take a step back, simplify our lives, and maybe give up a few things? (Or even just put them on the back burner for a while?) Wouldn’t many of us be happier if we let go of things that we don’t really need, (and sometimes don’t really even want?). I agree with the article pointing out that the medications don’t fix the actual problems that contribute to the anxiety in the first place. If the cause is having way too much to do and too much pressure to be a certain way, a pill isn’t going to make that all get better. And developing a new need for the pills…well, I wouldn’t want that for me.
    Again, I don’t mean to say that this would be the solution for all women. I’m sure there are plenty of women who have simplified their lives and for various internal reasons, still have to cope with all kinds of things. Every woman’s situation is completely different, and we don’t have the right to get all judgmental on someone else.

  4. brittney says:

    This makes me sad. That something like this, something most people would probably not have openly discussed can make an article. Obviously people have issues in their lives but im actually pretty positive they wouldn’t want it discussed like this. Some people have depression so they take something for it, some people like myself have extreme anxiety so they take something for it. So what!! As long as they are able and willing to take care of their children in the best possible way they can who is anybody to say anything about it?! Some people need the medication, they can’t help themselves no matter what they try. Its not always that easy even if they don’t want to be on medication.And no maybe it dosent always cure or heal as some would say but i know plenty of people who would probably be in a very different place if they didn’t get the help. There are people who honestly wish they didn’t have to take medication but they couldn’t get through their day without it. That dosent mean there is something wrong with them by any means! And it’s no ones place to judge or put them down because they do need that little push or extra bit of help! The world we live in is a messed up place and it’s suprising that more people arent on something to help get through!


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