If you are following along from home you are probably seeing a trend to my thoughts and rambling. Thanks for reading by the way…
For reasons that are vast, personal and difficult sometimes to discuss, I am as an adult very tied to the concept of expectations. Sometimes expectations are helpful, but a lot of the time, they are not.
From the moment a woman reaches an accepted age to have children, society places an inordinate number of expecations upon them.
- You must want to have children
- You will feel joy when you have children
- Children complete your world
- A family is made of husband / partner and children
We know from the way society has changed in just the past 60 years that the dynamics of families vary greatly.
With these expecations and societal pressures has come for some women a set of ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ in themselves which usually results in a strong sense of guilt or anxiety. It’s very easy to see that a lot of mothers feel they are not “doing” motherhood well enough. I use the verb “doing” because it’s not enough to just ‘be’ a mother, you have to also ‘do’ all the right things.
From generation to generation, the accepted parenting practices that are generally adopted by families have changed. When I was a child, there was more of an emphasis on formula feeding, a lack of information around a child’s personality and a lack of parenting education.
Now, due to the Internet, there is a wealth of information at ones fingertips. While this can be helpful, and should make us all feel well informed, it’s all too common to see that many women feel completely unable to decide on a parenting style. In fact, the superhighway of information has elevated motherhood to an unattainable level of achievement.
Dr Regev, a psychologist and family therapist says:
The Myth of Motherhood is our society’s notion that a woman achieves her uttermost fulfillment as a woman by being a mother and, as such, should always be happy and strong. It places an unrealistic expectation on mothers to be fully functional and happy, to be a Super Mom, if you like, despite exhaustion, lack of support or isolation, let alone depressed mood. In fact, many people cannot understand how a mother could be depressed; after all, she has achieved her ultimate calling in life…
I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on expectations following on from the topic of baby sleep a few days ago.
Coming up I will talk about my own experiences with expectations and how they relate to career, family, marriage, friendships and more.