Are The Expectations Placed On New Moms Too High?

It’s no surprise to any mom out there that once you become a mom there is a lot expected of you

Being a woman who “wants it all” in our society has become the norm—of course every woman, everywhere wants to have a family while keeping her #GirlBoss status in her career, maintaining a flawless body and loving every minute of it.

And while that might be the way a lot of women choose to run their lives—and more power to them—there seem to be some very steep expectations put on moms and especially on new moms.

Luckily for all us Canadian citizens, we can take a full year of maternity leave to spend with our new baby. But that isn’t the case everywhere. And the idea that moms will be able to pop out a kid, head back to work and tighten back up to their pre-baby bodies in a matter of weeks is preposterous.

Having a baby is a monumental task that was nine months in the making. You literally grew a human being inside of you and brought that tiny human into the world.

And now that they are finally here, you need to worry about them, care for them in literally every way possible. I am not saying that moms should neglect themselves—self-care is a very important part of being a mother. I am just saying that to place these incredible, inconceivable goals on moms is not going to do us any good.

“You should head back to work ASAP if you want to keep your career on track.”

“Have you started to hit the gym yet?”

“Are you still eating bread?”

“So, when should we expect baby #2?”

“What do you mean you aren’t exclusively breastfeeding?”

BACK OFF!

In a recent interview, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly reminded us all that, sometimes, motherhood isn’t the perfect pastel fantasy we see ourselves living. Her suggestion? Take off your rose-coloured glasses.

“We set the expectations too high for new mothers,” the mother of three said in the April issue of More. “I’m always telling women, ‘Don’t expect to not hate it.’ You’re going to feel and look terrible, and you’re going to wonder if you blew up your life. The cruel irony of it is, just at the time you’re loving it and you’ve got it down, you have to go back to work.”

Kelly was only off from work for nine short weeks after giving birth to her now 2 ½-year-old son Thatcher. Nine weeks and then she was back behind her anchor’s desk juggling a newborn, two other children and everything else that comes along with the “mom” territory.

So the question remains: why are these out-of-this-world expectations put on new moms?

Personally, I think it comes down to how women have internalized the societal pressures that have been placed upon us. We are told by many that having it all doesn’t exist and told by others that yes, in fact, you can have it all. So we try.

We see celebrities and other moms on Instagram bouncing back to their pre-baby weight within a matter of weeks and put the pressure to do the same onto ourselves.

We are told to lean in and so we do. We try. And we internalize the pressures that society has built up around us.

Kelly says that when she first started all those negative thoughts were there. “I did worry in the beginning about whether I was a good mom, whether I was abandoning my duties.” But she did what we should all do—she got over it, she moved on.

“I see them thriving; our loving relationship is more than intact. There’s no more of that, ‘Am I going to screw them us?’ I’m not.”

So let’s all try to take a page out of Kelly’s book. Whether you’re a working mom, a SAHM, a WAHM; whether you are breastfeeding, formula feeding or some combination; whether you are actively trying to get back to a weight where you are happy, or you’re happy with who you are; whether you’re trying attachment parenting or supporting the cry-it-out method, just remember one key thing.

If you love your kids enough to worry about screwing them up, you are not going to screw them up.

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