“The pressure to be a perfect mom feels like it’s at an all-time high.” – Lauren Scafe
The pressure to be a perfect mom seems to be around every corner. What will everyone think? Does this make me a bad mom? These are questions that many moms ask themselves on a daily (or hourly) basis. Where do these thoughts come from? Both the internal pressures of motherhood and always facing a world that questions our child-rearing choices everywhere we turn make raising our children an impossible task.
I am a mother of three, all under the age of 7. As the kiddos say it now-a-days, “the struggle is real!” I constantly wonder if I am doing a good job. A national survey conducted by The University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (2017) reported that 61% of parents polled stated they have felt judged for their child-rearing decisions. The common reported topics of judgement were discipline, nutrition, sleep, breast vs. bottle, child safety, and childcare. A majority of the parents stated they feel that mothers receive a lot of unhelpful advice from other people.
As mothers, we are told of all the "shoulds". You should have a natural birth, you should breastfeed, you should only feed organic, you should send your kid to private school (Glover, 2017). The list goes on and on. Who says, though? Who says we should be doing all of these things? Shouldn’t we be able to make these decisions by ourselves, for our own families, without the pressure to get it right every time?
So, what can we do? Here are a few things to remember when interacting with those who seem to have all of the answers:
Social Media: Studies have found that comparing yourself with other mothers on social media can lead to depression and anxiety (Padoa, Berle, & Roberts, 2018). Social media is most likely here to stay, so make sure to keep in mind that what you see on social media isn’t the whole picture. Try not to be influenced by the families that seem to have it all together. They don’t.
Mom Shaming: We hear this term used all the time. Moms shaming other moms. It can be a little baffling as to why someone would do this. It is usually because of their own self-doubt. Many times, the moms doing the shaming are wishing they had done things differently with their own children (Newman, 2017).
You’re the Boss: It’s as simple as that. You are the mom. They are your children. You get to decide what it best. It really boils down to the simple fact that you know your children better than anybody else does. Have confidence in your decisions to do what is best for your family.
Motherhood is already hard without our decisions being questioned with everything we do. The cool thing is though, our kiddos will turn out pretty great regardless of the decisions we make.
“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you’re a good mom.” - Anonymous
Glover, E. (2017, Oct. 24). New report: The pressures on moms are stronger than ever [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.mother.ly/news/pressure-on-moms-is-a-serious-issuetime-says-it
Newman, S. (2017, Oct. 17). 10 ways to deal with mom-shaming [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/singletons/201710/10-ways-deal-mom-shaming
Padoa, T., Berle, D., & Roberts, L. (2018). Comparative social media use and the mental health of mothers with high levels of perfectionism. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 37(7), 514-535. doi:10.1521/jscp.2018.37.7.514
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. (2017). Mom shaming or constructive criticism? Perspectives of mothers. Mott Reports, 29(3)