Do you ever find yourself reading something so ridiculous that you automatically go, “OK, there’s no way this isn’t fake!”
It almost feels too on-the-nose for a U.S. company selling spiked, flavoured water to call itself “Mom Water.” But just like all the unbelievable news 2020 has given us, Mom Water is real and the booze seller that thought it was an inspired idea is marketing drinks to suburban moms with flavour names like “Karen” and “Becky.” Because there’s nothing like cracking open a cold one and thinking about the internet’s least favourite entitled white women.
Mom Water’s website states that Indiana-based couple Bryce and Jill Morrison were inspired by their struggles hiding a homemade concoction of flavoured water and low-sugar vodka — which filled their fridges and coolers — from their kids.
“The problem then became distinguishing the ‘special water’ from the actual bottled water,” Jill wrote. “So we would scribble the word MOM on the water bottles to set them apart, so the kids wouldn’t accidentally grab one. It then became our mission to make this drink possible in a ready-to-drink beverage.”
Their website has given personalities to each of the four “spirit-infused still water” flavours announced so far and, as you can imagine, Mom Water’s product line borrow plenty of middle-class-drinking-mom clichés:
Karen tastes like lemons and blueberries. The “bold” mom spends her time at social get-togethers “near the beverage fridge.”
Becky, their coconut-mango flavour, is a mellow mom who loves watching “This Is Us.”
Passionfruit-flavoured Julie is a party animal who is most likely to tell her kids “because I said so.”
And the blueberry-peach flavour named Linda is a mom who loves to make lasagna and drink sweet red wine.
So is Mom Water actually making these unfortunately named drinks? While Mom Water’s products aren’t currently on shelves, the company has at least existed since last year according to a directory that draws on official state registers. And a cursory glance at the couple’s social media accounts suggests the whole thing is authentic.
The products have yet to be launched, but the Dubois County Herald reports the drinks will be available in local stores in the Indiana region by the end of this year.
HuffPost Canada reached Mom Water’s packager, named by the outlet, to verify the drinks’ existence, but received no response prior to publication. If Mom Water’s packaging is a PR stunt, it’s a very committed one.
The problem with booze marketing to moms
Mom Water, along with similar products and memes like “mommy juice,” come from wine mom culture. And while some light-hearted humour can be harmless, marketing that capitalizes off this cliche has been criticized as harmful towards women.
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The danger comes from how innocuous and normalized these mom jokes are. In a report by Huffpost writer Catherine Pearson, one mom summed up how many women in recovery feel about the trend: ”... one of the biggest problems with mommy wine culture is that it makes everything about drinking murkier. Are you drinking too much? Are you just doing what you need to take care of yourself? Isn’t this just what tired moms do?”
It can be especially murky during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a Canadian study suggests more parents are drinking to cope with stress.
Not to be a buzzkill, but at times like these companies like Mom Water should reconsider whether profiting off stressed-out parents’ reliant relationships with alcohol is really a laughing matter.
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