American Mothers are Trying Harder Than Ever–So Why Do We Feel Like We’re Failing?
We are carrying the burden of society’s shortcomings
Mama, you deserve more support and way less judgment. Because the truth is American mothers are carrying heavy burdens that are so ubiquitous and yet so secretive we can only assume we are alone in our struggles.
But, mama, it’s society that’s failing, not you.
Motherhood is way harder than it should be because the deck is stacked against women. We live in a culture that gives lip service to the importance of family, but sees investment in children and parents as an “entitlement” too far. We operate in a business climate that prizes consumption and profitability above all — leaving families, and especially women, behind in its wake. We’re citizens in a country where “women’s issues” are seen as side issues, rather than foundational challenges of our society.
We, as mothers, are all too often left to figure out the biggest transformation of our lives — one rife with physical, mental, financial and relationship stress — in the midst of a radically individualistic society that at times almost blames us for having children. Can’t afford childcare? It’s your fault for not making more money. Struggle to breastfeed? You’re not trying hard enough. Coping with undiagnosed postpartum depression? Pull it together.
The finger pointing is everywhere except where it should be: at a society and structures that haven’t evolved to support women, children and families.
In order for change to begin we have to first understand the problem:
Motherhood isn’t supported: In generations past, adult children typically used to settle near their parents and raise their own offspring in highly-connected, intergenerational settings. That meant grandma would watch the baby while mama recovered from childbirth or that sisters traded childcare duties to allow time for housekeeping. While multigenerational living is actually at a high point in recent American history for largely financial reasons, the elements that define our vision of a village have been overridden by demands that cause people to work longer.