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Modern moms have more choices, but less free time and assistance

Multi-tasking her way through motherhood

Merdies Hayes | 5/12/2017, midnight
Modern motherhood is a far cry from yesteryear. Just preparing breakfast, for instance, today requires careful planning and dutiful attention ...

The modern mom is judged more than were her mother and grandmother. Today’s Twitter trolls would never let her get away with smoking and drinking during pregnancy which was common among pregnant women in past years. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey a few years ago about the challenges facing the 21st Century mom and found that 70 percent of respondents said it is much more difficult to be a mother today than it was in the 1970s and 1980s. The survey indicated that mothers are having more difficulty balancing parenthood and work. They are sometimes judged more harshly than fathers. More than half of Americans (56 percent), according to the survey, say that mothers are doing a worse job today than mothers did 20 or 30 years ago. According to parents and non-parents who participated in the survey, the biggest challenge in rearing children today is dealing with the outside influence of society. Nearly four in 10 Americans (38 percent) list societal factors when asked in an open-ended format to name the biggest challenge for mothers today. The survey basically revealed that most moms are concerned about the lure of drugs and alcohol, peer pressure and the impact of television and other media on their children.

Less judgment in past generation

In the pre-Internet era, mothers were not as exposed to other people’s pet peeves as much as they are today. There was less judgment and less people making a mother feel insecure about her parenting skills. On Facebook, it is common to see a ton of different people informing the modern mom that feeding her child a processed TV dinner could be tantamount to child abuse. While Dr. Benjamin Spock was once considered the sole expert on parenting, now Google has become mom’s go-to guide for parenting advice. The modern mom must also endure a slew of criticisms foisted upon her such as being accused of “helicopter” parenting, “attachment” parenting or the dreaded “tiger” mom who gets loads of grief for setting strict rules of behavior.

Moms who are part of the LGBT community may face unique challenges outside of the daily rigors of parenthood. According to Gay Parent magazine, lesbian moms frequently have concerns about discrimination and custody arrangements (if the event of divorce proceedings). Also, in some same-sex marriages with children it can be common for extended family members to acknowledge intimate relationships differently from heterosexual relationships, and if children are present in the scenario it can sometimes be difficult for a lesbian mother to explain relationship status to family and friends, and family dynamics to children.

Women’s views about how well mothers are doing their job have changed very little over the past 10 years. The Pew study revealed that middle-aged women are more critical of younger moms rather than vice-versa. Sixty-six percent of women aged 50 to 64 years say today’s mothers are doing a worse job. This compares with just 41 percent of women younger than 30 years, 56 percent of women ages 30 to 49 years, and 48 percent of women ages 65 years and older. The Pew survey also found that religious affiliation also influences views on motherhood. White evangelical Protestants are among the most critical of modern mothering skills. More than two-thirds of White evangelicals (68 percent) say moms are doing a worse job today when compared with mothers 20 to 30 years ago. This compares with 54 percent of White non-evangelical Protestants, 50 percent of White Catholics, and 47 percent of seculars.