Mothers Really Needed to Hear that the Stress Is Not Their Fault.
When I saw the publisher’s summary of Dr. Caitlyn Collin’s book, Making Motherhood Work, I knew this was the research I was looking for. I couldn’t put it down; I read her book in 4 days. Here at last was documentation of what I claimed in my TEDx talk, The Parenting “ShouldStorm”. Dr. Collins’ research shows how mothers all over the world feel the pressure. But American mothers are the ones drowning in stress they didn’t create and can’t fix on their own. In a world that still believes in intensive mothering, American women get the least support.
One of the most common shoulds that burden parents is this: “I should spend more time with my kids. Parents tell me. “I feel like I’m not spending enough time with them. I should spend more.”
So how much time should you spend with your child? Before we look at that, it’s worth doing a little inventory. When we do, we often find that we are actually spending a great deal of time with our kids. Why don’t we notice this? Why are we always sure we are falling short?
Today’s question comes from a mom who’s really struggling to set screen time limits with her kids. She says, “How do I limit screen time?” That is a really good question and one we ask in my house a lot. Every time my husband and I get a handle on our kids’ screen time, some kind of schedule disruption comes up and we make an exception. Then we have to get practical again and ask ourselves, “So…how do I limit my child’s screen time?”
“How do I stay close to my daughter?” wrote a worried father. He shared with me how much he loves his 16 month old toddler. To care for her and provide for his family, he commutes an hour and a half each way to and from work every day. But when he arrives home from work, eager to see her, this toddler keeps rejecting her father.
The ShouldStorm we face as parents draws its power from hidden beliefs. One of the most problematic of those untrue beliefs is the idea that if we make a mistake we are going to mess our kids up for life. We particularly feel this if we make a mistake consistently.
Turning The Shoulds That Burden You Into Tools You Can Use.
The ShouldStorm in parenting is the swirling mass of advice and criticism we experience as parents, that drives us to feel anxious and overparent. Sometimes it is the advice itself that’s the problem, because it reinforces the basic ideas that create perfectionism and anxiety. But sometimes it’s not the advice at all. It’s how we hear it, or how we use it. We get to choose: parenting worries or parenting toolkit?
It’s the crack of dawn, and your kids are up. AGAIN. What does it mean to have an early riser? Some kids get up as early as 430am every day, frustrating their tired parents. How do you deal with early risers?
We hear a lot about how we mom’s struggle with putting our families first so much that we neglect ourselves. We do it because we feel we need to, we don’t see another option or we don’t see how it will all get done otherwise. Questions of our own worthiness pester us as we focus on raising our families. We all know that in the craziness we are trying so hard to give them what they need, but is it enough? Are we enough?
Despite hours of waiting at lines at Disney World, there is no way around it: Disney is one of my favorite family trips. That’s because Disney is just different. The grounds are clean, and so is the language people use. There are very few people pushing, you are surrounded by people who are generally reasonably happy and enjoying time with family.