Why mums complain that motherhood is so hard

motherhood is so hard

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.

Why mums complain that motherhood is so hard

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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13 comments

  1. I think your points here are totally valid, the backdrop to parenting has changed. And for dads too, as well as for mums. I grew up in Sweden, and this change of mums working came a bit earlier there than here in the UK, so when I was little, my mum was in fulltime work and so were many of my friends’ mums too. The general idea was that ‘society’/’the state’ will look after your kid(s), so that you can work. It’s not a brilliant solution, and the standard of two fulltime incomes trigger higher house prices etc. Also, if you choose to stay at home it’s seen as a bit ‘backwards’. I don’t think shaming anyone for their choices, whether it’s to work or to stay at home, is very help ful Sorry for a bit of a rant here, your post obviously got me thinking xx #coolmumclub

  2. It is hard. I think because we are always trying to keep up. My husband travels a lot for work so a lot falls on me. That with working full time. Just plain old hard! #coolmumclub

  3. A great rant Talya and spot on. When I was a kid our Mum’s were left to get on with it. Nowadays you have ‘advice’ and opinions coming at you from everywhere and there is always someone telling you that you are doing it wrong, as if you weren’t already doubting yourself enough anyway! #coolmumclub

  4. I totally agree – the struggle is real! Not only do mums have to balance work, family life and other responsibilities, but they have to do it while having to try to live up to the visions of motherhood they see on social media. I also suspect that there was always a lot of moaning going on amongst mothers – the internet just makes it more visible! #coolmumclub

  5. So much of this echo’s true Talya. It’s taken me a good six years to find the joy in missing out, and I’m all for embracing the down time, in order to find a little R&R for all of us. Sometimes trying to do it all is just too damn exhausting! However it’s played out, there is no escaping that motherhood is H A R D!
    HIgh #coolmumclub five to you for telling it how it is. x

  6. This is so true. I think also these days not many of us have family nearby to help out. We certainly don’t. There’s no village! So it’s all on just you and your partner. #coolmumclub xx

  7. Yes! 100% Yes! I completely agree with this! We are expected to be these all-singing all-dancing mums who can act as a SAHM and a working mum, who uses all their free time taking the kids to fancy places, all the while keeping the house ship shape AND work a full time job. it’s just not realistic. I wholeheartedly agree that social media plays a big part in this too. everyone is trying to “out-do” each other. It’s just exhausting to even try and comprehend it all! I’m quite happy just trying to keep my kids alive and fed haha. #coolmumclub

  8. This is so true. I said to my mum I was worried about L starting school and all the tests they are introducing, she basically told me to shut up and she never even noticed doing her 11 plus. Which is frankly entirely different to the contant round of tests and sats kids have now, they cannot be compared. Motherhood is hard, we worry about everything and so much has changed. For me to have time off to relax means something else important won’t happen. Simple. #CoolMumClub

  9. So very true, we have so many external factors that add in pressure. Myself as a military wife and many of my close friends are also parenting without a support network, so rarely get a much needed break #coolmumclub

  10. I’ve absolutely had my challenges especially with my mental health issues and raising my daughter, plus going through a toxic relationship, being a single parent, living in a refuge for ten months and all that kind of stuff. It’s been tough parenting alongside all of those lifestyle challenges but all I can hope for is that my daughter feels loved and secure. #coolmumclub

  11. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to do everything. We feel that we have to take everything on and be the ‘perfect mum’ when actually we just need to do our best and ask for help when we need it #coolmumclub

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