Motherhood- Generations of Love.
May 12, 2014
As Mother’s Day 2014 winds down, moms across America are hopefully going to bed feeling appreciated for their hard work, unconditional love and absolute devotion to their children. Sometimes I stop and wonder about this generation of parents and wonder if we have it any harder or easier than our predecessors. In spite of the fact that women today have achieved goals previous generations of women could only dream of, it appears that we feel more confused than ever. Has something changed?
Well for one, the modern American family has noticeably changed over the last several decades. More than ever, women are participating in the workforce yet at the same time, continuing to be the primary caretaker at home. Not only are women having children at a later age than they used to, many of them are choosing to do it alone. About four-in-ten (41%) of all births today are to unmarried women; up from just 5% of births in 1960.
In addition, society has put major pressure on parents to provide their children a high level of care, yet fails to support what a parent actually needs to be the healthy, involved caregiver tasked with raising these well-adjusted kids. Most of our generation’s employers do not meet the appropriate workplace standards necessary to support working families --such as paid leave for new parents, flexible scheduling and paid sick days that can be used for family care. The United States has still not embraced a national system for universal provision and funding for early-childhood care, which can have huge economic consequences for working parents. Child care in this country is overwhelmingly expensive and can eat up one quarter of a family’s income.
However the biggest challenge in raising children today is dealing with the outside influences of society. Nearly four-in-ten Americans (38%) list societal factors when asked in an open-ended format to name the biggest challenge for parents today. Among the top specific concerns mentioned are drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, and the impact of television and other media.
No wonder mothers alike are feeling more insecure! Interestingly, after reaching out to a handful of mothers, of all ages, it is clear that despite generational differences mothers share one common denominator: That there is no one perfect way to be the "perfect" mother!
Each generation offers different challenges, yet different possibilities. In addition, each mother is unique despite when she was born. Universally it is agreed that what matters is that overall, there is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood!
I would like to share some of the thoughtful words of wisdom respectfully shared from the mothers I admire the most. I bet you couldn't tell which generation of mothers the quote belongs to!
- Nobody knows your children as well as you do - always trust your instincts.
- So much of parenting is a learning experience and we all make mistakes.
- Remembering to say "I'm sorry" when we're wrong can not only calm an upset child, but also teach them that it's important to be responsible for our actions.
- Showing your kids how much you and your partner love each other is the best lesson you can ever teach them.
- Try to have set times for work so that you can focus on your kids more fully when you are with them.
- Live life through the eyes of your children, as often as possible. You never fully know their perspective until you walk a day in their shoes.
- Practicing self-care serves the family well.
- Exposing your kids to all types of people will help build their character and aid in developing them into bright responsible well-adjusted adults.
- Focus on what is important and significant and glaze over the nonsense. In other words, when you juggling work and family you don't have time to get roped into the drama.
- Show your children unconditional love and understanding and let them know you will be there for them always.
- Teach your children to always respect others and never hurt anyone intentionally.
- As long as it’s said both respectfully and honestly, provide an environment where your children can speak openly about anything without fear.
- Give your child the opportunity to be, and to feel heard.
- Make sure your partner is truly your equal. The division of labor in the household needs to be agreed upon and split in half.
- Have realistic expectations of yourself. For example, if you know you have 2 birthday parties and a soccer game this weekend, don't feel down on yourself for not being able to sweep and vacuum the house like you planned.
- Get your kids involved in the household responsibilities as soon as possible.
- Make time for friends.
- Create a strong support system. Whether it's family, or other career moms. We all need someone to fall back on. Either for favors with the kids, or someone to call when you just feel like venting.
- You can always second guess yourself but you will never be at that exact point in time again.
- Mothers need to let go and give themselves a break from the self-imposed guilt trip!