Motherhood is difficult AF. And it’s getting worse by the minute. Why? because we have a new set of problems to deal with every other day, with where the world is going. What’s even worse is that we cannot turn to our mother’s for advice, because their struggles were completely different. And even so, we are being held to the standards of how our mums parented us. It really irks me that us millennial moms are expected to do the exact same things our moms did because we turned out alright! How many times have you seen that kind of comments on social media?
We have all been there, being compared to our mothers. Over and over again. Although I have nothing against it and in some cases the comparison may be the highest compliment we receive I feel somewhere down the road we have all made our mothers a benchmark for ourselves.
It’s human nature to try and do better and better for our children. We as parents, hustle every single day to give our children a “better” life than we did. That does not mean that we did not have a good life, but it’s only natural to keep working for better. So then why are we expected to “parent” the same way our mothers did, or live up to their standards.
Parenting is full of judgment (well so is every other thing nowadays, thanks “Social” media!) and we do not need to add another standard to the list, to live up to. Motherhood is hard work physically, but in this age, it has become more of an emotional struggle than anything else.
Why we are not our mothers
To state the obvious, our mothers parented in completely different times. Sans social media, internet and some even did not even have televisions or phones until later. These are external factors that obviously affect the way we bring up our children. For example, they did not have to worry about internet safety or screen time?
Everchanging trends and technology
The world has changed so much in the last few years and it is hard for parents to even keep up. Trends, teaching methods, education, technology, everything is changing at great speed now. Not saying that our mothers did not have to deal with this, just saying they had to deal with “different” things, so how can we tackle every new problem the same way?
World health is getting worse every day. Now mother’s have to debate about organic vs non-organic, the deal about BPA, phthalates, artificial coloring, products with “carcinogenic” ingredients. Again NOT saying previous gen mothers did not have to worry about anything, but these are real “first world” concerns now.
Just a small thing like school lunches have become such a big deal. Bento lunches, more fruits, and veggies, no-nut zones, hot lunch vs deconstructed whatnots, cannot repeat the same lunch this week, oh and throw in some “decor” to make your kids actually eat that lunch… blah blah blah. I don’t know about you but when I was in school, kids used to get a packet of crisps and a box of juice (even soft drinks if you were in high school) and you were good to go! Also having a PB & J / cheese sandwich 3 days in a row was not an issue (for the moms).
Cars were a luxury until recently. Now they are a necessity. There are at least 2 cars in every household, one for each parent. During my middle school days, we had one car and had to schedule everything around my dad’s office hours, so that he was available to take us there. Now, the father uses his car to get to work and back, while the mother’s car is used for school runs, play dates, grocery shopping, afterschool activities, and the list goes on and on.
Talking about afterschool activities, I honestly don’t remember a lot of that. Sure we did extracurricular activities, but they were provided by schools. Now mothers have to register, coordinate and drive to and from afterschool activities. Not to mention, the “reinforcement” they have to do for the rest of the week for a weekly activity.
Research has proven that “educational” activities with infants and toddlers, enhance their motor skills and have lots of other benefits. Do you remember your mother painting popsicle sticks with you or helping you bead long threads? (some mothers might have and that’s fine, but I am talking about majority) Did we grow up with no hand-eye coordination or less competent motor skills? If you are reading this on a mobile device, I am guessing no. However, educational activities are all the rage now. And of course, there is a lot of peer pressure and judging involved. If a mother enjoys it and does it just for the sake of making memories and having fun, good for her. But mother’s nowadays are judged for not doing it and I have seen a lot of them doing it just for the sake of it or feeling extremely guilty for not being able to do it.
Social Circles and Playdates
Being part of a social circle is so important nowadays. Gone are the days when you were an introvert and could stay an introvert your whole life. Now you have to worry about your child’s social life from the day they are born. Heard things like “She is irritable because she is alone, she needs friends” when talking about a 2-year-old? Mothers worry that if they don’t go out there and make friends with moms who have kids, their own kids will never have any friends. It’s all fun and games until these friendships are open and casual. But a lot of them are very formal and that leads to planning extravagant playdates, birthday parties (don’t even get me started on them) and “coffee mornings”.
Another thing that is gaining pace and rightly so is “me time” for mums. Most of our mothers did not focus on themselves, they did not put themselves first. We learned from that and are doing the same for ourselves. But once again, we are not our mothers. With all of the above issues squished into our brains and daily schedules, it is easy to lose ourselves and if you notice, it is making us age faster.
Google and WebMD
Our mums did not have google and WebMD to go to whenever we fell sick. So I am a doctor and even so if I google my daughter’s symptoms whenever she is sick, it turns out to be something life-threatening. And I don’t know how many times I have sat down crying about it. This is me after being trained for 10 years for doing exactly what I “checked” with Google. I can only imagine what other mums go through!
In this era, we are being told to train our children’s young brains to mature and remember things they are not even supposed to know about. Children are “educated” about stranger danger, sexual abuse, mass shootings, bomb threats, date rape drugs etc. Every day there is a new issue that needs to be “addressed” to them. We cannot watch the news in front of them because we still want to protect them from whats going on in the world, but at the same time, we have to prepare them for dealing with it. Not saying that these threats were not there before but they have increased considerably and now “everyone” needs to worry about them. It doesn’t matter where you live or who you are.
Since everyone and their aunt has an opinion (and a facebook account) mother’s nowadays are emotionally exhausted all the time. All the physical work of raising little humans does not help their case too. Oh and please add the ever-increasing health problems to the mix and you have the perfect recipe for a mother who feels like a failure!
And she should not feel like that! It’s just not fair!
So the next time you see another mom, pat her back, give her a hug, tell her she is doing a great job. Or do nothing. Just don’t tell her what she is doing wrong or how her mother would have done it!! Please DON’T do that!