This idea actually caused some controversy recently.

By Marisa Cohen
Updated September 19, 2017
Dominique Johnson/EyeEm/Getty Images

A wine festival for moms got a lot of attention recently, with letters and blog posts coming from both sides who were enraged over the issue: Who decides whether it’s okay for moms to unwind over a glass of wine? Is this just another case of rampant mom-shaming, or are we encouraging a culture of dangerous behavior?

The controversy began with one Toronto woman’s simple desire to get out of the house during those isolating early months of motherhood. “When I was first at home with my son last year, I really wanted to find other new moms to talk to, so I posted online looking for ‘Moms Who Like to Wine’—19 women showed up at the first gathering,” says Alana Kayfetz, who just celebrated her son’s first birthday.

Kayfetz realized she had hit a major nerve for millennial moms, and founded MomsTO with a grassroots group of 12 like-minded women. The goal: to create a nonjudgmental community where moms could meet up, celebrate motherhood, and enjoy social events they would normally be excluded from with a baby on their hip.

In just the first year, MomsTO has hosted 15 events at some of the hottest restaurants in downtown Toronto. But the media didn’t take much notice until flyers started appearing for their latest event, which they cheekily called A Very Mommy Wine Festival.

First a few bloggers complained that the events were encouraging a drinking culture, especially since binge-drinking has been on the rise among young women. Then newspaper editorials caught on, too, questioning the wisdom of serving wine to mothers who may be breastfeeding, newly pregnant again, or suffering from postpartum depression.

But Kayfetz and her supporters are defending their group, pointing out that no one bats an eye when dads attend a beer-fest (of which there are plenty in Canada). “Not every mom is breastfeeding, and not every mom with a young child is looking to get pregnant again. It’s fear-mongering and mom-shaming,” Kayfetz says, adding that wine-tasting was just one element of the festival. Moms who attended could also listen to a dozen experts speak about everything from nutrition and exercise to legal planning and sleep training, hang with other moms in a dedicated baby play area with music, shop for baby products, and even check out a baby-food-tasting lounge. Moms who chose not to sample the wines could buy a discounted “dry” ticket.

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Despite the controversy, the festival on September 13 was a sold-out hit, with 550 women attending with their babies. “Moms on maternity leave want to go to a fun, chic event where they feel included rather than excluded,” Kayfetz says. “When you meet another mom, there is a real exchange of wisdom, but it’s often done from behind your phone or laptop, sitting at home. Our goal is to bring moms together to share that wisdom and create a community."