4. There’s more economic anxiety.
Every generation wants their children to have more than they had, whether that means wealth, opportunity, options, inclusion, or all of the above. But for the first time in recent history, it’s as likely as not that our kids will be less prosperous than us. Stagnant wages, a broken healthcare system, and the personal cost of education have created a parent rat race. We’re aggressively thrusting our kids toward our vision of success to cope with our own economic angst. My boys are just starting their education journey, and I’m already overwhelmed. The popular opinion suggests that it’s my job as a mom to forcibly secure my kids’ future, and the stakes are high if I screw it up.
5. We set ourselves up for failure.
I recently learned that the word “parent” wasn’t used as a verb until the 1970’s when parenting books became all the rage. From there sprouted helicopter, lawnmower, tiger, attachment, and free-range styles, indicating there’s a right and wrong way to do things. And now in 2021, the previously mentioned factors – moms are older, the perils of social media, a more remote village, economic anxiety – have been the perfect storm for the prevailing trend called intensive parenting: child-centered, time-intensive, financially indulgent parenting that’s basically impossible to achieve without feeling like you’re running on a hamster wheel.
My point here is not to vent or complain, but to recognize and adjust. I had children to bring more meaning and purpose to my life. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t anticipate how external forces and seemingly unrelated life choices could have such a profound impact on my experience as a mom. When I start to question whether I’m doing enough for my kids, I get back to basics:
- My kids feel safe and loved
- Quality time apart is just as important as quality time together
- Spending time outside can be just as valuable as spending money on lessons, sports, and activities
- Inclusion is a better quality to nurture than competition; it’ll make them more successful adults and it’s less labor-intensive for me
- Nothing in life is guaranteed
- Being a martyr will not make my kids’ lives better
- The only prize for best mom is enjoying the journey
To all the moms out there, I’ll be bold and say that if you ever question whether you’re a good mom, you’re a GREAT mom. We’re all riddled with self-doubt and the sense that it could all just fall apart, so find comfort – and maybe some vindication – knowing there are real reasons modern motherhood feels so hard. Don’t miss out on enjoying yourself along the way.
This post originally appeared at Just Pour, published with permission.