There has been some debate over whether parenting makes people’s lives fulfilling and filled with joy or whether parenting makes people miserable and unhappy. Depending on how much sleep your child has let you have the night before your answer may vary.
New research has shown, however, that some mothers may be unhappy because they simply take the job too seriously. It’s called the parenting paradox.
In a study published in Springer’s Journal of Child and Family Studies, moms who ascribed to an “intensive parenting” approach to raising their children reported being less satisfied with their lives. Intensive parenting is defined as believing:
- Mothers are the most necessary and capable parent
- Happiness is derived primarily from children
- Parents should always provide the kids with stimulating activities that aid in development
- Parenting is more difficult than working
- A parent should always sacrifice their needs for the needs of the child
More than 180 mothers of children under the age of five were surveyed. About a quarter of the women showed signs of depression. Mothers who believed they were the most essential parenting reported less satisfaction with their lives and parents who believed parenting is challenging were more likely to be stressed and depressed.
“If intensive mothering is related to so many negative mental health outcomes, why do women do it?” the study’s authors write. “They may think that it makes them better mothers, so they are willing to sacrifice their own mental health to enhance their children’s cognitive, social and emotional outcomes. In reality, intensive parenting may have the opposite effect on children from what parents intend.”
Perhaps the key to happy parenting is to know that dad’s also a capable parent, parenting’s great, but not the only way to be fulfilled in life, taking care of your own needs is just another way of making sure the child is also taken care of and instead of running the kid around to multiple enrichment activities all day you can skip music class for a day at the park every now and then.
Apart from it, we used to take life too seriously. Our culture happily insists on blasting out every idea, suggestion, or advice as though if you do not do this thing, you are DOOMED.
Like, if we don’t read to our child 25.8 minutes every single day, they will not love reading when they grow up. Or if we don’t provide the correct amount of protein and carbs and fats to our kid, then we are dooming them to a lifetime of obesity and health issues.
Is there an iota of truth to these tales? Sure, but honestly, this age of over-information is KILLING us WAY more than any of the suggested solutions to modern problems! And, it’s not because we are neglecting to “get outside more” and rue the day.
It is because we are STRESSED out from feeling like constant failures at everything, because there is always some voice/opinion/post/Pinterest image/video, etc. telling us that we are failing in something for someone ALL. THE. TIME.
So, we are calling foul.
We are done. Fried. Finito. Finished.
We are not playing these games anymore. Our brain, heart, and being cannot handle the world’s crap any longer. And, sweet mama, we are giving you permission to do the same!
Don’t Take Life Too Seriously, Even Though EVERYTHING Demands that You Do
But yes, the lessons are not over yet.