Have you ever heard that all moms are supposed to be great at just about everything? That by becoming a mother, latent abilities somehow manifest into the power of a superhero? If so, you're not alone.
Motherhood is often associated with many different myths and misconceptions that can put undue pressure on mothers and make it difficult for them to navigate the challenges of parenting. Some myths include that motherhood is easy and natural, mothers should be perfect and have all the answers, mothers can do everything alone and being a mother means sacrificing one's own needs.
Contrary to popular belief, motherhood is not easy and does not come naturally to everyone. While it can and does bring joyful experiences to our lives, it can be challenging. It requires patience, dedication, hard work and sacrifice, but it can be a gratifying experience despite these difficulties. Mother Brain explores the concept of "maternal instinct." Chelsea Conaboy, a public health journalist, explains how neuroscience debunks the antiquated idea of what it means to be a mother.
Mothers, and parents in general, are not perfect people. They do not have all the answers and are flawed beings that make mistakes. Being imperfect is a part of being human. In Good Enough Is the New Perfect, Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple's research into motherhood has shown that mothers increasingly accept their lack of perfection and instead embrace a "good enough" mindset. This lack of perfection is essential for children to see and learn from.
Mothers are incredible people. From the outside looking in, it seems like mothers can do everything. However, despite their superhuman-like qualities, they can't do everything alone. In The Mommy Myth, Susan J. Douglas performs an assessment of how modern motherhood, opens a new window has been shaped over the past 30 years through media, outdated customs and a romanticized ideology that no mother can obtain.
Many people believe that mothers should sacrifice their own needs for the sake of their children. While it's important for mothers to prioritize their children's needs and, at times, make sacrifices, they must also remember to care for themselves and find a balance between caring for themselves and others. In The Myths of Motherhood, Shari Thurer discusses motherhood across the centuries, highlighting the origin of the "good mother" ideology, which posits that a "good mother" must sacrifice her own needs for her children. In The Baby on the Fire Escape, award-winning biographer Julie Phillips illuminates the conflicting demands of motherhood in the lives of contemporary artists forced to choose between motherhood and themselves.
Myths about motherhood can create unrealistic expectations, opens a new window. Whether or not a mother is considered a saint, mothers deserve to be recognized and appreciated for all their efforts this Mother's Day.
What does being a mother look like to you?