A recent study reported that being a mother and homemaker
is more stressful than working outside the home. One of the
reasons for this might be that a women’s role in the marketplace
is more defined and can be measured as being productive,
while the role of mother, especially that of new mother,
can be characterized as flying by the seat of your pants with no
real guidelines, but with lots of guilt and little feeling of
accomplishment. This is especially true in today’s world
because new mothers no longer have a support network of relatives and friends to assist them and to serve as role models for them.
A new mother is a very vulnerable creature. She reads books by experts who tell her what to and not to do. Since many so-called experts disagree, the new mother is faced with making a choice but is told that there are dire consequences if she guesses wrong. Many would be happy to trade this uncertainty for the certainties of a career outside of
One common error new mothers fall into after reading
all the advice in the baby and “how to” books is to attempt to
do everything recommended even if the advice is conflicting.
They buy all the equipment, learning cribs, teaching kits, toys, and games they read are important to their child’s future development. The anxiety all this activity generates sometimes leaves the mothers with little feeling of the joy and contentment they could and should be having by relaxing, having confidence in themselves and interacting naturally with their babies.
The first thing that can be done for new mothers is to make the job more attractive and relaxing. Mothers do not need to be stimulating babies constantly with special equipment. As a matter of fact, too much of this type of activity may be pushing babies too fast and too hard and may not be helpful. Instead mothers should feel free to relax with their babies and be quiet observers taking their cues from the babies’ activities. The only equipment babies really need can be found in every home: sponges, cans, plastic bottles, pots and pans and so forth.
The second thing that can be done for new mothers is
or society to give them the message that raising a child is one
of the most important and productive things they can do.
Businesses can back up this message by making it easy for mothers
to return to their careers without prejudice or penalty. Better
still, businesses can encourage the new mothers to work part-time
so that they have a break from child care and have the
opportunity for adult contact.
A third way to help new mothers is to provide them with
some concrete, personal, in-the-home help when their babies are
very young. Mothers now come home from the hospital two days
after the baby is born. That is too soon for a mother who has no
help. What should begin as a happy experience soon becomes burdensome and unpleasant. New mothers need support to feel
confident in raising their babies. When they gain confidence,
they can begin to relax and to enjoy themselves and finally to be
charmed by watching their new, wonderful baby grow and develop.
For Mother’s Day consider giving a new mother the
gift of time. Offer to take over for her so that she can have
time for herself. It is important for all of us that we make
this a pleasant, rewarding experience for the new mother. She
deserves all the help she can get. When she is successful, we