"Mommy needs a drink!" Those were the words of frazzled mom-of-three JULIA ROBERTS as she pounded down three Grey Goose vodka drinks  in quick succession while attempting to wrangle her tots at a Malibu restaurant.

The normally easygoing Eat Pray Love star turned to the bottle after chasing her 5-year-old twins Hazel and Phinnaeus and 3-year-old son Henry around the seaside eatery Gladstones in early October, say sources.

"I think Julia was clearly stressed out about her children," a restaurant insider told The ENQUIRER.

She appeared "exhausted and nerve-wracked" as she knocked back the vodka-and-soda drinks while her twins ran around the restaurant’s oversized aquarium, the insider continued.

"Her toddler Henry was squirming away from Julia and screaming that he wanted to go see ‘the fishies’ with his siblings. As soon as the kids were away from her, Julia pulled the waiter aside and ordered the first of three cocktails."

The 42-year-old actress dined at the beachfront restaurant-bar with husband Danny Moder, their nanny, and about a dozen other friends and family.

While she initially tried to juggle the kids AND enjoy her meal, she eventually had to hand off the three to the nanny so she could unwind, says the insider.

Raising her glass to the party, Julia quipped: "Mommy needs a drink – I could really use this right about now!"