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Why do New Moms Feel Pressure to Succeed at Parenting?
March 09, 2016

 

Why is there so much anxiety today over raising children, especially amongst new mothers?  I don't remember my mother or aunts being concerned about whether or not they were doing a good job at raising their kids.  I also don’t recall my mom and her friends discussing and dissecting every move to feel more confident about parenting.  

 

Today there is a dearth of resources available – parenting blogs (like this one!), magazine articles, online workshops, and television shows all claiming to have the answers and providing steps on how to crack the nut of excellent parenting.  

 

There are even these supposedly lifestyle experts who constantly try to guide young moms adding pressure on them.

 

 

 

So why do new moms feel so much pressure to succeed at parenting?

 

The “Pinterest” Effect

When I was growing up, I don’t recall it being quite like this. Women had their own challenges in previous generations, however, competitive landscape of parenting and constant self-driven and society pressures of parenting were not one of them. Life was simpler – kids went to school, did the best they could, got support from parents, and parents did the best they could.

The demand on women and in fact parents, in today’s world are different compared to past generations. With an increasing number of women entering into the workforce and sharing equal burden of household income with their husbands, many women feel torn because the want or need to work. Even for those women who choose to have successful careers, the constant ‘mom’s guilt’ never goes away. From not being able to pack a Pinterest-inspired lunch to missing a school event due to work related travel to forgetting a permission slip for a special project; parenting feels like a losing game.

Communication and information flow has added additional burdens on new moms today too. Blogs published on a daily basis relaying how and what seemingly ‘super moms’ do to raise seemingly ‘super smart and accomplished kids’. Tips are provided on the best organic, non-fat, low sugar, gluten-free, high protein, and fancy store mutant cereal to feed infants and kids.  Let’s not forget the multitude of parenting related books available on Amazon.  All this results in a complex world of parenting that is both demanding and daunting.

In parallel to their work, women also feel pressured to help their children succeed in an increasingly competitive world. Is the child academically prepared for kindergarten? Is the child able to work cooperatively with others? Is the school highly rated enough? What and how many extracurricular activities will boost the child's chances of excelling? Whether it is soccer classes or piano lessons, gymnastics or foreign languages, parents push these kids to learn and perform to succeed so that they could be as accomplished as their neighbors child, sometimes sacrificing the happiness and interests of the child themselves. How many times have we witnessed that happen?

Newer generations are also more fractioned in terms of households and family life. With increasing demands on work and pressures of everyday lives, moms are holding down jobs to support their families, they are helping their kids with hours of homework, shuttling them from one activity to another. At the same time they are trying to keep up with all the household chores and endless errands – cooking, laundry, cleaning. This, and the desire to have a happy and healthy family with a strong relationship both with their partners and kids, adds pressure to the already mounting pyramid of emotional, mental and physical stress.

Demand on kids

School itself has become an increasingly competitive landscape where kids are no longer just kids. They are competing just like their parents to do better, do more, and do it well. 

 

    New mom

 

Possible Solutions

  1. Make it personal with a few priorities – identify the 3-5 things that are most important to you and focus on a few quality things rather than getting caught up into what everyone else is doing. There may be impressionable moments of your own childhood, or behaviors and action of role models, figure out what you want to focus on and stick to a few rather than a long unmanageable list. Make it personal. It’s not about competing with the other moms of the block or school, but rather look deep into what is important to you. For example it could be having dinner around the family table 3 times a week or teaching your kids’ manners or ensuring they make their beds every morning. Whatever it is, it’s personal and it’s important to you.
  1. Spend quality time with your family vs. running from one place to another – again it’s about priorities and focus. Your kids will remember the picnic you had under the big maple tree in your back yard, or the long walk to the duck pond.  Time spent enjoying the little things in life is important.  Don’t spend entire day dashing around from one soccer practice to another. Taking time out to spend quality time with your kids, with your husband, with your family as a whole has more of an impact on kids than all other things.
  1. It is all relative so relax. Redefine what the perfect mom means. It’s actually more about being a good one than a perfect one. If your daughter comes home from school, does homework, goes outside to play with friends pretty much every day and is involved with soccer, would you consider yourself a perfect mom? Or would you like her to play Mozart on the piano or be the next LeBron James?  Attain balance that makes you feel confident and accomplished.  This will reflect on your kids.
  1. Surround yourself with positive people and remove the negativity. We lead busy lives around, and having negative people adds unnecessary unpleasantness. Instead be selective on who is around you. You can control this vs be controlled by it.

 

Final thoughts

So why do young Moms Feel Pressure to Succeed at Parenting? The young moms of today feel a lot of pressure in today’s world due to changing technologies and communication flows. They are under increasing pressure to play an equal role in the workforce while at the same time the need to continue to uphold their everyday family lives. We need to support these moms as much as possible. They deserve a lot of attention and praise for all they do.

 The article in Psychology Today sums it up well: set expectations and abide by them.  ‘Being a good mother is a good enough mother’, and therefore it is all about developing realistic expectations that are self-defined and personal. By following this thought process we don’t indulge in the unnecessary pressures to be perfect. Good enough is as good as it gets and accepting this helps the emotional side and that is good for everyone.

 

Sandra S,

Sandra is a marketing expert and a blogger extraordinaire. Sandra brings years of experience related to digital marketing and communication. She is a mom and a passionate writer about all things parenting. 

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