We're more active in our kids' lives than ever before. So why does it seem harder?
When I was pregnant, I remember the first time I heard the term “lactation consultant.” At the time I remember thinking, ‘Are we serious with this? Why would anyone need a lactation consultant? Doesn’t this stuff just happen naturally? Did our mothers or grandmothers need lactation consultants?’
Well, fast forward to a few months later and what do you think happened? I needed a lactation consultant.
Now that I’m a full-fledged mommy I’m seeing more books written about subject matters we assumer should come “naturally” to us. From general parenting advice to new parenting theories like the how baby wearing can make your child smarter—the list is endless.
Given all the new material out there about parenting some of us may be forced to ask ourselves if parenting today is harder than it was years ago or if we have all just become a bunch of babies?
Well, according to research parenting is very different from parenting many years ago because it is actually harder. It’s harder because we are expected to do more with our kids than our parents did with us.
We’re much more involved with our children’s education
Now think back to your childhood for a second. Do you recall your mom reading to you as a kid? Now I suppose if you count bible versus as “reading” I guess you could say someone read to me regularly, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t include too many readings of Goodnight Moon before I went to bed and I know that I’m not alone. According to Pew Research on modern parenting, American moms (and probably moms globally) did not read very much to their kids nor did they help with their homework.
Today, moms are reading to their children regularly or at least they’re expected to do so. We are also spending long hours helping them with their homework after working long hour ourselves and are expected to play a very active role in molding our children’s education.
We’re spending more time with our kids
Now this is the fact I found most surprising. Moms today are actually spending more time with their kids (more than our moms spent with us) even though we are working longer hours outside the home. According to research, moms years ago spent much more time on household chores and not as much time with the kids. Moms today are doing the exact opposite. We are spending less time on household chores when we are not at work and more time doing things with our kids. Go us!
We also see the impact and role of parenting differently
Most moms today understand that our role as parents go well beyond feeding and clothing our kids (which is actually a lot when you think about it). Most of us today, believe that everything we do has a huge impact on our children’s lives (positive or negative) from the very day they are born.
I recall talking to my grandmother not too long ago about how much our family has changed over the years. I told her that we are so much more affectionate now than we used to be and go out of our way to use words like “I love you” to each other. She said to me, ‘We never heard the words “I love you” when I was growing up. We didn’t know back then how important it was to say those things, but we know now.’
Many of us do understand the importance of the words like “I love you” and the importance of positive parenting. We also understand the way that negative words can hurt our children and are working more each day to change the way that we talk, the way that we think and even the way that we discipline.
Most of us are also working harder each day to educate our kids, and build their character so we can raise happy confident kids who will become happy, confident and successful adults.
So parenting might be harder for us today than it was a few years ago, but I have a feeling the rewards of our hard work will be even greater.
Notoya Green is an on-air parenting expert and mother of three-year-old triplets. A former law attorney, Notoya put her law career on hold to become a stay-at-home mom to care full-time for her children. She now shares her experiences at Triplets in Tribeca.