Supermom Is a Myth, But Parental Burnout Is Real Day 1: Supermom is a Myth But Parental Burnout is Real

Supermom Is a Myth, But Parental Burnout Is Real

Parenting and motherhood have transformed significantly over the past couple of decades. Today, hands-on parenting is the norm as you may have noticed. Against the landscape of women empowerment, the modern woman is expected to have it all and have it together! She has to juggle career aspirations, manage the home, pay the bills, and raise thriving children – all while appearing effortless and highly efficient!

The modern mom is also expected to deal with stress gracefully, take it in her stride, and continue leading a perfect and happy life. It's a tremendous load to bear, and often, women find themselves stretched to the limit. Many moms feel overwhelmed and exhausted, and a lot of this pressure comes from the unrealistic standards imposed by society, peers, and themselves.

A lot of us are also influenced by what we see on social media. Countless women influencers on social media make it seem like they effortlessly "have it all." However, the truth behind the scenes can be quite different. Many of these women have the privilege and means to hire baby/house help and professional teams who put their social content together. So don’t be fooled by what you see on your screen!

Motherhood: A Full-Time Job You Cannot Quit!

Right from childbirth, mothers are constantly working 24/7. They endure not just the physical and emotional challenges of childbirth but also the often-overlooked struggles of recovery. Postpartum depression and hormonal changes are not commonly acknowledged or normalized in conversations among the family. If the mom is undergoing this, she may feel confused, anxious, and overwhelmed, but is expected to be joyful around her infant.

While moms are themselves recuperating from childbirth, they have to continuously feed and care for the newborn. They survive on little to no sleep and may find it hard to take a minute for themselves. They may feel frustrated at the lack of help and support, guilty for not doing enough, or overwhelmed and alone.

A survey revealed that 1 out of 4 working women cry at least once a week because they struggle with balancing their work and home responsibilities. Another study showed that 13% mothers are experiencing very high burnout today (they’re more moody, irritable, angry, self-critical, sad). These are heart-breaking statistics. This impacts a mom’s physical health as well, including weight gain due to binge eating or body shaming, migraines from overthinking and self-criticism, and chronic pain from constantly being stressed.

As a society, we have to recognize that motherhood can have a profound toll on the physical and emotional well-being of women. It’s a journey that deserves empathy, support, and understanding at every turn.

Supermom Is a Myth, But Parental Burnout Is Real

Research shows that many mothers around the world are facing parental burnout. There’s a lot of pressure to raise high-achieving and successful children. Parents have to focus on their children’s all-round development: physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and professional. Many studies show that the risk of burnout is higher in over-committed parents. There are also higher cases of depression and anxiety among mothers as well as kids today.

Why is this?

When you compare today’s motherhood style to that of 15 years ago, there’s a stark difference.

  • Earlier, mothers would have many children (more than 5) and they would grow up without much fuss or attention. Older siblings would help raise the younger ones and also help the mother in household chores while going to school or work.
  • Today, a mom’s life and goals tend to revolve around just one child. How they play, how they learn, how they talk, how they eat, how they have hobbies – there’s a plan of action for most children.
  • Earlier, children too would go outside to play with other children and have a disciplined routine at home they had to follow.
  • Today, we have sensory toys, flash cards, learning apps, and play dates. Moms are surfing the internet to find the next best thing that will engage and stimulate their child. Kids are born in a world of “more” and they’re over-stimulated at a young age. They know more and they demand more.
  • Earlier, most women were not working outside the home and if they were, their jobs were not as highly demanding as it is today. The gender roles were clear: the man brought home the bread, the woman raised the child and ran the house.
  • Today, moms are not just spending more time parenting; they are also spending a lot of time at work. Research shows that moms today are spending 16 more hours at their jobs, as compared to moms in 1965. While having house help for cleaning/cooking may ease the burden a bit, moms still spend a huge number of hours doing both: working at home and working outside.
  • Earlier, the family structure was different and parents had help from family members or in laws who lived in the same house or nearby. Extended family nearby helped to divide the load of raising a child. It does take a village to raise a child.
  • Today, we have more nuclear and single household families who may be living in different cities or countries from their immediate family. Moms find themselves increasingly alone when they’re home with the baby. Also, moms are taking on many different roles, which were earlier shared by loved ones and neighbors.
  • The Race for Perfectionism

  • Our society commonly expects that a woman should do everything: be accomplished at work, dress well, cook food, raise good children, be house proud, be fit and healthy… and women are trying to do it all alone.
  • Women are expected to multitask when in fact they should learn to delegate and ask for help. This is not practical or possible!
  • Women are expected to be agreeable and adjusting. They need to compromise their dreams or needs for those of their partners, kids, or families.
  • Women also tend to prioritize everyone else's needs ahead of their own, and this is particularly true for new or young moms. They feel they are not good enough or not doing enough, and this is simply heart breaking.
  • Women are comparing their lives or their parenting with other women on social media or celebrity moms or their own friends. This creates unnecessary self-talk of “I should be doing this better” and this pressure passes on to the child as well.
  • Today, the journey of parenthood is truly overwhelming, when in fact it should be joyful and exciting. It is an opportunity to create new memories with this tiny human you brought into this world.

    Moms tend to lose their sense of self the moment your child is born. And it’s normal. But to show up for your child, you must consciously and mindfully show up for yourself first!

    Self-care and self-compassion are not selfish acts or just trends on the internet; they are so vital for your own well-being!!! In turn, it will positively impact your ability to care for and nurture your baby. It's a demanding journey, but remember, you're not alone, and it's okay to seek support and prioritize your own needs as well.