Mother’s day is yet once again upon us. Many insist that the day has become commercialized and has lost its value. I will disagree. Mothers, I think, are under a lot of pressure, nowadays. They are asked to fulfill too many roles at once, and at the best of their abilities. They get criticized for every single thing they do. They get to so often hear: ‘we raised our children so many years ago and we never complained’. But was life really much harder for mothers years ago?
Recent research, carried out by the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) and published in 2011 showed that the 1970’s and the 1980’s were, in fact, the best time to raise children. ‘In 1971, less than a quarter of mothers (some 23%) worked, compared with more than two-thirds today.’
So, in the past, mothers usually used to stay at home and close to their own mums or other family members. Grandparents’ help used to be vital when raising children and the bond that was created between them and their grandchildren was priceless.
Nowadays, we notice more and more people living and working away from their parental home, due to financial crisis, work commitments or study opportunities. Many mothers have to work two jobs even, and the only communication they have with their own parents is through Skype.
Years ago, children’s needs were also much different than they are today. Parents’ main priorities were to feed and dress their children whereas today parents are pressured into taking care of their children’s emotional development too. They are ‘forced’ to make an effort to evolve and progress in many areas of their lives. They have to adopt to emotional intelligence techniques, learn ways of showing empathy and being mindful in everything they do.
Parents, nowadays, are attending parental advisory meetings, take up parental support courses and have familiarized themselves with psychologists, behavioral tutors and other medical professionals. They have to follow life’s past paced rhythms and keep up with all the latest trends in shoes, clothes, recreational activities, traveling opportunities, educational advances and social media needs.
Feeding children has also become more complicated than it used to be before. Today, parents are asked to read a variety of healthy eating books and online articles, learn new ways of cooking nutritional meals, adopt their cooking routines to a more modern way of eating and eliminate ingredients that were the norm during their own childhood, from their children’s diet.
When we were children, our mums were drinking wine and smoked cigarettes while they were pregnant. They didn’t have a panic attack every time they accidentally ingested some soft cheese or spicy food. They didn’t have worries on whether they should breastfeed or give their babies formula. When we were older we ate whatever we could get our hands on and we never had sunscreen on when we played in the sun. Our mums were not bombarded by hundreds of different and conflicting parental theories ; attachment parenting, positive parenting, French parenting, free – range parenting, etc.
Parents in the 1970’s and 1980’s, didn’t spend so much time trying to be politically correct, non racist, gender-neutral , positive and non discriminatory when they talked to us. Some spanking would solve any issue. They left us with teenage babysitters, relatives, and friends so they can go out catch up with friends or watch a movie.
Parents, nowadays are filled with stressful and confusing information overload while desperately trying to make sense of it all. They also have one more huge difference compared to parents years ago: the internet! While the world wide web comes with unlimited advances and advantages it also brings something else into a mom’s world. She can, with the click of a button, find out thousands of ways why her parenting is all wrong. The internet can make moms feel much less, not good enough, insecure and doubting their own motherly skills.
They get to read the pros and cons of vaccinations, parabens, chemicals in plastic, BPA approved milk bottles, the good points of breastfeeding and why moms who gave birth via a cesarean section are not ‘real’ moms like those who gave birth naturally. They are made to feel incompetent because they don’t grow their own wild black cherries, make their own bread or buy only free range eggs.
They get to read about all those celebrities who went back to size 0 just one month after giving birth. They receive a tremendous amount of information on different options on childbirth, child nutrition, and development which at most times is overwhelming.
Most of all, they live in a society where motherhood is underestimated, stay at home mums unfairly misjudged and working mums cruelty criticized. Today’s’ ‘supermom’ has to be extra skinny, an amazing gourmet chef, a talented business woman and a fashion icon where her perfect children run around in the garden catching butterflies.
Being a mom years ago was a much much easier job! I am totally against the notion: ‘we grew up in the 1980’s and we survived!’ Life has evolved and information has been enhanced. We know now that not only should we not smoke when pregnant but we are also aware of the deadly and permanently lasting effects that second hand smoking has on our children. We should try and learn more, evolve more, educate ourselves more on child bringing matters and try to give our children the best we can without the laid back, doing nothing excuse of :’we survived anyway’.
Mother’s day IS indeed a very important day – for all mothers around the world. For those who had only a short lived experience of motherhood, for the single moms who struggle every single day, for those who try to excel in a complicated and demanding world, for the stay at home and working moms, for the ones who mourn the unbearable pain of child loss, for those who have seen the ugly face of abuse and persevered anyway, for all the moms who unconditionally love their children and have devoted their lives to them.
What is really the big deal if the day has, in truth, become commercialized? Today we will give flowers, chocolate, presents, cards or just our love to all the well deserving mothers.
Happy name day beautiful moms!