Hamilton, May 16, 2023
Motherhood has undergone significant changes in recent years, with modern technology and cultural shifts transforming the way women experience and approach parenthood. The modern-day mother has to juggle various roles such as parenting, career, social life, and personal well-being, making it a more complex task than ever before.
The challenges of modern motherhood are numerous, and the most significant is the lack of support systems for working mothers. Dr Kelly Moore, a maternal health expert, notes that “The burden of raising children often falls disproportionately on women, who are expected to be the primary caregiver while balancing work and other responsibilities.” Many mothers struggle to find affordable childcare or work-family balance, which can lead to burnout, stress, and mental health problems.
In her bestseller book, ‘Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety’ Judith Warner takes a lively and provocative look at the modern culture of motherhood and at the social, economic, and political forces that shaped current ideas about parenting.
The author takes a good, hard look at the world of modern parenting, at anxious women at work and home with unhappy husbands. The book addresses our cultural assumptions and examines the forces that have shaped them.
However, despite the challenges, modern motherhood has also presented new opportunities for mothers.
Dr Jennifer Goldstein, a licensed clinical psychologist, and parenting expert said, “Modern motherhood is a complex and ever-evolving experience. Mothers today are navigating a world that is much different from the one their mothers experienced. Different societal expectations, new technologies, and a shifting cultural landscape require mothers to be more adaptable and resourceful than ever.”
One of the most significant challenges facing modern mothers is the pressure to balance work and family responsibilities. Many women today have successful careers and are also mothers, which can create constant tension between work and family. “The work-life balance is a big issue for modern mothers,” Dr Goldstein notes. “They often feel pulled in different directions and struggle to find time for both work and family. The pressure to be a perfect parent and a perfect employee can be overwhelming, and many mothers feel guilty when they cannot live up to those expectations.”
Another challenge facing modern mothers is the impact of technology on parenting. While technology has made it easier for mothers to stay connected with their children and manage their schedules, it has also created new challenges. “Technology has changed the way we parent,” says Dr Goldstein. “Mothers today are expected to be available 24/7, which can be exhausting. The constant barrage of information and notifications can also be overwhelming and make it hard for mothers to focus on their children.”
Moreover, social media amplifies the pressure and expectation of achieving perfection in everything a mother does. Varsha Kumar, a mother of two said, “We all see perfect versions of life by influencers, celebrities and brands, making us feel inadequate and always lacking in one sphere or another.”
Opportunities for Modern-day Mothers
One of the most significant changes is the advancement of technology, which has made it easier for mothers to access information and resources. “The internet has given mothers access to a wealth of information on parenting, pregnancy, and child development,” notes Dr Jennifer Sartin, a paediatrician. “This has allowed mothers to be more informed and empowered in their parenting decisions.”
Moreover, many companies have also recognised the importance of supporting working mothers, with flexible work arrangements, maternity leave policies, and on-site childcare becoming more prevalent. Employers are realising that supporting working mothers has immense benefits for improving retention and productivity.
Another opportunity that modern motherhood presents is the shift towards a more inclusive and diverse representation of mothers. There is a growing awareness and recognition of different motherhood experiences, including those of single mothers, LGBTQ+ mothers, and adoptive mothers. “It is important to acknowledge that motherhood can take many forms and that all experiences are valid,” states Dr Neha Gada-Jain.
Making the most of life
While modern motherhood is challenging, it is also a time of great opportunity and growth. According to Dr Goldstein, “Mothers today are more resilient and adaptable than ever before. They are navigating a complex world and finding ways to thrive in it. It is important to acknowledge the challenges of modern motherhood, but also to recognise the strength and resilience of mothers today.”
Mothers are always needed
Amid this demanding role, many mothers forget to take care of themselves. However, when mothers prioritise their well-being, they are better equipped to take care of their children and manage their responsibilities. In this article, we will discuss some practical ways that mothers can take care of themselves.
- Prioritise Sleep
Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. As a mother, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep, especially with young children who need frequent attention throughout the night. However, sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on mental and physical health, leading to mood swings, decreased productivity, and even depression. Therefore, mothers should prioritise getting enough sleep and establish a sleep routine that works for them.
- Engage in Physical Activity
Physical activity is not only beneficial for physical health but also for mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress. Mothers can engage in physical activity by going for a walk, doing yoga, or participating in a group fitness class. Additionally, they can involve their children in physical activities, such as going for a bike ride or playing at the park.
- Practice Self-Care
Self-care refers to activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Mothers can practice self-care by taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage, or reading a book. They can also make time for hobbies that they enjoy, such as painting or gardening.
- Connect with Friends and Family
Motherhood can be isolating, especially for new mothers. However, connecting with friends and family can provide a sense of community and support. Mothers can schedule regular phone calls or video chats with loved ones who live far away. They can also plan playdates or outings with local friends who have children of a similar age.
- Practice self-compassion
Mothers often pressure themselves to be perfect and do everything right. It is important for mothers to practice self-compassion and to recognise that they are doing the best that they can. Mothers can practice self-compassion by being kind and gentle with themselves, reframing negative self-talk, and acknowledging their accomplishments and strengths.
- Take Breaks
Motherhood can be a 24/7 job, but taking breaks and having some alone time is essential. Mothers can ask a partner, family member, or friend to watch their children for a few hours while they take a break. During this time, they can do something that they enjoy, such as taking a nap, going for a walk, or watching a movie.
- Eat Nutritious Foods
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for overall health and well-being. Mothers should make sure to eat regular meals and snacks that include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Additionally, they should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.