It is a great time to be a mum. Medical advances mean our kids are safer than ever. We have the option of working in or outside the home, and we have more parenting advice than we know what to do with. On the other hand, there is more pressure than ever to be the perfect parent, we are all endlessly guilty about the nappies we send to the dump, and there seems to be something new every day that is potentially harmful to our kids.
For all the modern conveniences we have, that our mothers and grandmothers did not, many women think that being a mum today is much harder than it used to be. We feel less safe, we are under more pressure to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ and our lives are so frenetic there hardly seems a moment to sit still. We have too many choices, we are given too much information, and we tend to worry more. There also is not quite the same feeling of community in neighbourhoods, and we all feel those things, even if we will not admit it.
There are also all kinds of contradictions in the modern mum’s life. We love our mobile phones. Until they will not stop ringing while we are with out kids. It is easier than ever to shop for groceries online (or to buy the latest gadgets) but many mums feel that rampant consumerism is one of the bigger problems of today’s lifestyle. While we can work these days, many mums feel pressured to by societal or financial causes, and it is no longer an empowering choice. Then there are the mountains of parenting theories. Has anyone noticed how they all seem to contradict each other!
Some of the best things that have happened to modern mums are dads that are involved. It is unlikely that your dad or granddad would have jumped in to help change nappies or warm bottles, but these days, it is not only acceptable, it is expected of dads to be involved too.
While we bemoan too many choices, we can also be grateful that we have them. In your mother or grandmother’s days, there were maybe one or two choices of buggy. These days, there is everything from designer jogging strollers to ultra light fold up versions. We have endless choices, which make giving children what they need at almost any budget a lot easier.
The internet is the modern mum’s best friend, whether it is finding childcare in your area, a recipe for birthday cake, or identifying a rash online. Then there are mobile phones and other gadgets, which, while they annoy us, also make our lives much easier.
Now that we have covered the good and the bad, let us look at the ugly. The media is the top pick for many mums on this list. There is too much violence, sex, war and more on television and in movies and even the news. It is hard to shield your child from this, and it is a genuine worry. Rising costs of education, healthcare and even basic groceries are another major worry for mums and dads out there, and with no end in sight, it’s one that is sure to continue for some time.
We live in an imperfect world. We need to take the good with the bad, but it is important to focus on what is important. Getting enough time to spend with your children, making sure you are all healthy and happy, and enjoying life together should be at the top of your wish list. Competing for social standing, or with other mums, focusing on material things, worrying too much about safety and security, and feeling guilty, for whatever reason, should not. While things may have been easier a generation or two ago, the fact remains that being a mum is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.