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Mother Guilt - Where Does the Pressure Come From?

May 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 149

Mother guilt. Is this merely a term to describe mothers with perfectionist tendencies? Or does this term impact ALL mothers regardless of race, religion or parenting style?

Where does our guilt come from? Does it stem from pressure in the media and popular culture? Or does it come from our own unrealistic expectations of the kind of mothers we want to be?

Images of motherhood we see in the media and advertising don't offer the full picture. We experience the odd "perfect" moments but we also experience frustration, exhaustion, dirt, noise and tears (often our own). This is normal.

Advertising works in a way that normalises perfection so we constantly feel we are never good enough.

But, are we only influenced by popular culture? What about mothers who go against the mainstream and embrace a natural parenting style? Surely they don't experience mother guilt?

The reality is the even natural parents and especially those committed to attachment parenting DO experience guilt.

I consider myself a natural-ish parent. I breastfeed. I co-sleep.I feed my kids healthy, organic food. I question vaccinations.I think a home-birth would be lovely but I've had 4 c-sections. I sometimes use a pram and God forbid, allow my children to eat fast-food. This is why I've always been hesitant to declare boldly I AM A NATURAL PARENT.I don't measure up. If I was to be quizzed on how natural I am - I would probably fail. There is just too much pressure. Too much guilt.

Why is there so much guilt over parenting regardless of style? Is it possible we are simply over-thinking some things rather than doing what comes naturally, or comfortably for us?

I'm a classic over-thinker. This is why writing is so cathartic for me. I research everything. I'm constantly trying to do 'better' at everything and find out more. This in itself is okay, but it does make life more challenging, pressured and guilt-inducing. For myself, the guilt comes when we I don't measure up to my ideals which are often unrealistic in the first place. I can't win.

Why are we so obsessed with doing this RIGHT? Why are we so afraid of getting this WRONG?Why is there so much pressure? Are we over-thinking some things?

I'm sure our grandparents didn't struggle with parenting the way we do today. They had different concerns back then but I wonder if guilt was as prominent in their lives as it is in ours today.

So, What can do to rid ourselves of mother guilt?

The key is to stop placing unrealistic pressures on ourselves. If returning to work is important then that is what we need to do. We need to own that choice, accept it has pros and cons and just live it! We also need to stop concerning ourselves with what others think of the choices we make and stop comparing ourselves to those around us. Our parenting choices are just as individual as we are. We need to feel confident that we are doing the best we can for our family.

Let's end the guilt!

For more information on parenting and popular culture visit

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Mother Guilt


Popular Culture


Attachment Parenting


Parenting Regardless


Natural Parenting



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