Written by Candice Strauss

motherhood | family

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30 Nov, 2022

Motherhood I would say Back then was difficult. If I hear what my mom and mother in law had to do when they became mothers, I honestly don’t know if I would be able to do that. 

Firstly , they had no help from their mothers. 

They had to look after their babies themselves. Nothing was instant or convenient in those times meaning, they had to wash nappies themselves, there were no disposable diapers.

They were the cleaners and they had to Cook for their husbands and family as well. Husbands were there but mostly working as they were the breadwinners those times. I can only speak about my mom, mother in law and my own experience. 

Motherhood today, I would say is easier. If I look at when my eldest was born I was lucky to have both my mom and mom in law here. They helped me with everything. I didn’t have to wash nappies, thank goodness we had disposable nappies that time already.

They were really hands on with helping me. With my last born I had more experience and they didn’t have to help that much. Today I can also see more dads helping their wives as in some marriages both spouses are working and both need to put in effort to make things a bit lighter and to help where they can.

Through the generations, every mother has worked hard, no one is arguing that. But today things are different, and moms are living a different life than mothers and grandmothers did. Yes, they had their own hardships, but no matter where you are in life, there are hard parts. And just because your life is different, or appears easier, doesn’t mean it’s not hard in other ways. So no, I’m not saying moms of yesteryear had things “easier” necessarily, just different.

Moms today give birth, come home from the hospital the next day, and are back in action right away, making lunches and getting their other kids ready for school.

Moms today try to squeeze in as much time as they can with their kids before they have to go back to work.

Moms today have parents who are more consumed with their own lives — working, traveling, or dating — and don’t have the time to simply come stay with you for a week after you’ve given birth.

As Dr. Harvey Karp said, “No woman has ever had to do as much, on her own, as the modern mother. We don’t have the same family structure or the same neighborhood structure anymore…It’s really hard, and every woman needs to give herself a break.”

None of that means that the generations before us didn’t have a difficult time. It means things are different, especially the expectations we put on ourselves to build our career, keep up with our kids’ activities, and be the person who oversees it all for our family. Throw in the pressure of everyone else watching and judging, and you are left with feeling like you need to do more without help. It all feels impossible.

Not to mention, it’s making mothers feel alone and isolated. Many women don’t have the supportive village my mom talks about. There’s not as much playing in the street and coming home when the street light comes on. Long gone are the afternoons and evenings dedicated to family time. Now we are driving to sporting events, working extra hours to afford said events, worrying about work projects and deadlines — oh, and don’t forget self-care!

It doesn’t mean life is horrible. We are thankful for all the opportunities our kids have and advancements like online grocery shopping, the fact we can check our kids’ grades online, and having access to birth control.

Yes, the generations before us had it hard in other ways, but our standard for how we are raising our children, how we handle our career, how involved we are in our kids’ lives is higher.

Many of us don’t have that elusive village — everyone is too busy taking their kids from lessons to recitals, there isn’t room to drop off the neighbors’ kid. Many of us don’t have parents to help because they are still working themselves and don’t want the role of “grandparent” to dictate their life. And the amount of “stuff” we carry around in our minds blocks out any possibility of staying in the moment (despite the constant messages we get about being present). But we also put a very high expectation on ourselves. We feel shamed by others’ comments about the way we feed our kids, how many family vacations we are taking, and if we let our daughter dye her hair blue. Not to mention almost 62% of households have two working parents compared to 51% 20 years ago and a mere 31% in 1976.

I think we need to take the doctor’s advice and not be so hard on ourselves. We need to realize this “modern motherhood” standard is bullshit — and exhausting.

We can only do what we can, and that is more than good enough for our children. In the end, that is all that matters. Loving our kids takes priority over organic snacks, clean homes, and our kids being in a sport every season.

Let’s keep lifting each other, cut ourselves some slack, and remember that we’re doing a good job — even when it doesn’t seem like it. After all, this motherhood thing is hard.


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