Every now and then I come across an article which berates women for complaining that motherhood is so hard. Needless to say, my brain pretty much explodes into a burning rage of flames. Grrrrrrrr!
A changing backdrop
The reason that I take such offense to that is because – well yes, motherhood can be so hard as far as I’m concerned. But it’s not that motherhood itself has changed, but more the backdrop against which we are doing it has changed.
I am fully aware that the challenge of having children has not in itself changed. Children still present the same challenges they did when I was a child – about that I am under no illusion. But the world in which we are mothering has changed. It has become overcomplicated, faster, with too many choices, and of course the expectation and desire that we also want to be fulfilled, have a career, yadda yadda yadda.
The career dynamic
According to the Office for National Statistics since the 80s when my own mum was at home parenting me, the number of women who are economically inactive has taken a sharp drop and the proportion of stay at home mums has dropped by more than a third in the past two decades.
That for a start means that being a mother these days means we have a hell of a lot more on our plate and that you are far more likely to find women doing the mum juggle of motherhood and career than not.
It’s family life, but not as we know it
The bottom line is – family life is just so different these days – and in all truth….a lot harder. We are restless – we are here, there and everywhere. When I was a child I was either at school, in Sainsbury’s with my mum or at the local park and library at the weekend. Now we are gallivanting across the land, and ferrying our kids here to and fro using up every ounce of free time like it might be our last. It’s just too much.
Aside from that, with so many women going back to work, we are just spread a lot more thinly and it usually leaves us with a sense that we are not really doing anything – career or motherhood – to the best of our ability which can eat us up inside. And if we’re not back to work we are usually plagued with a feeling on inadequacy that we are not out there earning our independent wage because isn’t that what our whole life has been geared up towards as modern day women?
The social media effect
Then there is the impact of social media which is having a detrimental effect on the mental health of mums everywhere, fueling our neurosis that we are not enough, not doing enough. Back in the day, it was just about keeping up with the Jones’s….now it’s about keeping up with just about everyone.
Mental health on the decline
And for those callous individuals who like to berate the mums who are “moaning that motherhood is hard”, I’d like you to come out from behind your keyboards and tell that to the third of mothers who have mental health issues. Last time I checked, mental health wasn’t a subject to be scoffed at, so why are people shouting down mums who are struggling in motherhood?
There is no smoke without fire, and a sharp increase in mental health issues in my book can only lead me to one conclusion, and one conclusion only…that being a mum IS harder these days, but not because the essence of motherhood has changed, because the fabric of our daily lives and everything that informs our experience of motherhood has.
The mum struggle is real
So to every mum who is finding that motherhood is hard, know that your thoughts and feelings are all totally valid, and have a very solid reason behind them.
Have you found that motherhood is hard? What do you think about the people who tell mums to stop complaining that motherhood is hard? Do share in a comment below.
And if you want to read more, here’s my post on the 15 hardest things about being a mum.
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