It could be argued that technology is to blame for many of our woes. After all, moms in the 1950’s didn’t have millions of Photoshopped images to compare themselves to daily, let alone a network of friends and “frenemies” who only shared the absolute best highlight reels of their lives. The truth is, though, the problems go way deeper than our iPhones; they lie in the roots of our very psyches that tell us, collectively, that we need to not only “keep up with the Joneses”, but outdo them.
As if being a mom wasn’t hard enough, this is a new era of parenting. If you’re a mom and you’re feeling less-than-stellar about how you’re measuring up to other moms, you’re not alone. We are all feeling the uncertainties of the times… where “perfect” moms with toned abs dominate our Instagram feeds, gorgeous Pinterest lunchboxes put our last-minute sandwiches to shame, and judgment waits behind every corner.
It would be nice if we, as moms, could take a step back and look at some of the things we stress about, and realize that in the grand scheme of things, we are doing far better than we think. It doesn’t really matter if Susan down the street has her kids in the fanciest SUV, and feeds them only the purest of local farm-grown foods. It doesn’t matter if our hair hasn’t been cut and highlighted to keep up with our 20-something former-selves. Now, read on to find out 20 Ways Being A Mom In 2018 Is Twice The Challenge, (keeping in mind that you are a FABULOUS mom, just as long as you’re doing your best).
20 You Need More Money, Honey
Ah, 2018. The cost of living has gone up (astronomically) and the average wage is just not cutting it anymore. If you’re expecting or have a young child/children, you’ll probably be bashed if you decide to work and use a daycare, but you’ll also be bashed if you decide to be a stay-at-home mom.
It seems moms these days just can’t win; are we “supposed to” constantly chase success and further our careers, or are we “supposed to” devote 100% of our energy and nurturing to our kids and families? At the end of the day, it’s a matter of what works for YOUR family and what your situation calls for.
19 To Cut Or Not To Cut?
At the end of the day, circumcision is a decision that is entirely personal to the parents. But because I am SO BLEEPING TIRED of seeing people bash a practice that is a birthright, standard, and religious right for millions of us, here are some scientific facts about why many (including myself) believe circumcision is best.
According to WebMD.com, the CDC stated that they endorse circumcision as a means of preventing HIV and other STDs. They state that “the scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks.”
With a risk of procedure complications of less than 1%, parents do not need to buy into the fear-mongers of the Internet who wish to take away parental or religious rights. It's a decision parents should feel free to make on their own - and not be judged for it.
18 The Name Game
Ah, the old name game. Gone are the days of Matthew, Thomas, David, and Samuel. In 2018, names are all about the avant-garde. Today, mom “needs” a cutting-edge name that has barely been heard before or a trendy name that tops the Hipster baby name list…Wolf, Fox, or Future, anyone?
Here is the truth, moms. If you want to name your kid William after his great-grandpa, you go right ahead. If you want to name your daughter after yourself…go ahead, Becky. If you want to invent a name that’s a combination of some names you liked on Pinterest- you do that (I’m looking at you, Brynlee). You’re the one who’ll be yelling that name a million times in your lifetime!
17 Technology Rules Everything
Raise your hand if checking your phone is your waking morning ritual. I’m guilty here, too. We all need a bit more stretching, real communication, and meditation in our lives, now that our technology dominates such a huge portion of our time.
That being said, it’s hard to break the cycle of comparing yourself to other mommies in your feed, with mothers dressed to the nines, sculpted by ridiculous diets and workout regimens, and the purest hand-blended kale smoothies. They post about little Aiden potty-training at the age of 6 months, little Phoenix and her infant yoga class, and it’s all just a bit much to take. We’re over here lucky to get out the door on time in the morning, and we are truly best off tuning out the premeditated, Facetuned brag posts that only show the “good” stuff.
16 Sanctimommies Everywhere
Now, raise your hand if you’re guilty of judging another mom. Yep, I am guilty and so are you. We often can’t help but make subconscious or, heaven forbid, verbal judgments about the mommies in our world. “I can’t believe she feeds her kid that,” I think to myself any time I see a mom take their kid to McDonald’s or buying Lunchables at the grocery store.
Am I perfect? Heck no. Yet, it’s still an automatic habit I need to remind myself to break. The problem with the Internet, though, is that way too many people with too much time and aggression on their hands, latch onto the statements of friends and strangers and let loose with all their word vomit. It’s easy to criticize other parents but that doesn’t mean we should, unless we see a child in real danger. We are all simply doing our best, and that deserves respect.
15 C-Sections Are Becoming The Standard
CNN estimates only 5 percent of C-section births in the US are true emergencies, but that’s a fact many moms refuse to hear.
According to Huffington Post, the C-section rates in the US are on the rise every single year. It is speculated that C-sections are usually done out of convenience or to increase a woman’s hospital bill (surgery is big money). As of 2016, the rate was a high 32% (double what the WHO recommends), with maternal mortality rates sadly also rising every year.
With a C-section comes major risks including infection, PPD, trouble bonding with baby/trouble breastfeeding, risky subsequent pregnancies with little chance of healthy natural births (backed by a doctor), placenta issues, uterine rupture, and many more. If you were forced to have a C-section or did not know this information, however, you have nothing to be ashamed of.
14 Public Education Is Pretty Poor
Onto a lighter topic, but not really… the US doesn’t stack up so well against other industrialized nations when it comes to education. With standardized testing and the seemingly automatic diagnosing of learning disabilities and disorders now being the norm, less focus is placed on nurturing the individual child’s skills and talents, and more focus is placed on passing kids through the test mill and out into a world they are totally unprepared for.
In 2018, many parents are turning to charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling to make sure their kids get a good education. Not every parent has the resources or time to do this, however. Education reform is needed and it is far from sight, and that’s just another downside of parenting in 2018.
13 No Nuts, Please!
Gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, the list goes on. It’s so hard to keep up with the latest diets, allergies, and food trends as a mom in 2018. As a mama with a 3-year-old in daycare, I admit there were one or two times when I packed a peanut food product in my son’s lunchbox, totally forgetting the new rule at his facility that it was a “Nut-free Zone.”
I can respect the rules but I can’t sit by and not question the huge increase in food allergies in kids. There’s a decent amount of evidence pointing to vaccines being to blame (with food proteins in vaccines likely triggering autoimmune issues, according to CMSRI.org) but I will let you go down that Google rabbit hole.
12 The Injection Issue
Again... to vaccinate or not to vaccinate… that is the question. I don’t need to sit here and tell you more stories about healthy 12-year-old girls becoming paralyzed right after getting the Gardasil shot, little babies going to sleep and never waking up after the MMR shot, etc. etc. etc. People who aren’t receptive to hearing it will simply close their ears.
If you are actually debating whether or not to vaccinate, do the research and read the stories, cons, and pros for yourself. Go to websites such as LearnTheRisk.org and take in information that comes from people (not giant corporations) who have absolutely nothing to gain from your choices. I could spew statistics and horror stories at you for hours but that isn't why we are here. One of the hardest parts about parenting in 2018 is following your gut without letting societal and corporate pressure rule your choices.
11 Information Overload
In 2018, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the info we are bombarded with on a daily basis. What foods are healthy, car seat guidelines for kids, whether our OTC medications or vaccines are safe, to co-sleep or not to co-sleep, the list is literally endless.
The best thing we can do as a parent is take things with a grain of salt and try not to let all this info overwhelm or scare us. People have been having babies since the beginning of time; we do not always need to be anxious or worried when conflicting information arises, but we should always be aware of what’s best for our kids.
10 The Bounceback Pressure
Some mamas bounce right back after baby, and some don’t. Some moms are able to hit the gym as soon as the doc or midwife gives the okay, and some have lingering health or energy issues after birth that keeps them saddled with some baby weight for years. Some run freaking marathons during pregnancy (bless you, if that's the case).
We as moms need to know that whatever our body and situation calls for, is what is okay for us. Every mom should strive to feel good and be healthy, but no mom should beat herself up about the fact she doesn’t look like Miranda Kerr post-birth.
9 The Question Of Gender And Lifestyle
With this latest trend of raising kids gender-neutral, encouraging any and all sexual preferences, and free-range parenting, it can be really scary for moms in 2018 to know how to handle these iffy times we live in.
Is it okay for your little girl to play with Tonka Trucks and action figures, and okay to let your little boy wear pink T-shirts? Sure. Is it okay to take to Facebook and bully parents who have differing opinions from your own about how they raise their kids? Absolutely not. There needs to be a balance between freedom in parenting and freedom to tell others how their kids should look or act.
8 What Is Even Safe Or Legal, Anymore?
Did you hear about the mom who was arrested for letting her 8-year-old walk the dog alone? Ha, yeah, that was a recent thing. When I was a kid, we could wander around the neighborhood from morning ‘til night, playing foursquare and hide-and-seek to ‘til the streetlights came on.
Today, you’re a “terrible parent” if your kid goes to the library alone, walks the dog, or isn’t born with a cell phone in their hand. The need to helicopter parent and micromanage our kids in 2018 is a real pressure that isn’t healthy or necessary for anyone. Be vigilant, but don’t make it so that your kids feel no freedom or independence to safely grow and explore.
7 Only The Best For Baby
You better be shopping at Trader Joe’s and making your baby food and kids’ meals from scratch unless you want to be deemed a bad mama in 2018. Now, the truth is that only certain foods need to be organic or carefully cultivated in order to be safe for kids, but even some organic foods require pesticides and such to be free of pests and bacteria.
As long as you aren’t frequently feeding your kids fast foods and processed foods, and you’re encouraging fruits, veggies, and exercise, you are a good mom in my book. Do your best and tune out the haters.
6 #Microfashion Is A Thing
I just saw an article that said having a baby was the best way to promote and sell things on social media. It made my head spin and my heart hurt, but it’s true. How many moms do we see on Instagram dressing their kids up in #sponsored “microfashion” and giving us the codes to dress our young like mini Armani models, too?
When I was a kid, we wore oversized striped tees and shapeless jeans in all colors of the rainbow. Scrunchies were a simple fix to bad hair days and no one really judged you if you didn’t look “on point” or “on fleek.” Boy, things are different today, and it makes many of us miss the effortless days where we just had to enjoy being young and carefree.
5 Setting The Kids Up For Success
In 2018, you’re basically expected to excel at everything and get a college degree, whether or not that will even help you get a job (and it often doesn’t). Moms are pressured to put their kids in all kind of extracurricular activities, often before the babies are even cognitive.
I wish we could go back to the days of letting kids find what interests them and encouraging those areas to bloom, instead of being made to feel that if we don’t push for maximum engagement in a variety of arena, our kids won’t measure up.
4 "The Talk" Is 10 Times Harder Now
Back in the day, our parents sat us down for a simple talk about the birds and the bees, and let us know we could come to them if we had any questions or worries. Today, there’s this entire world of gender-neutral, pansexual, gender dysphoria, children being put on hormones for gender changes before even hitting puberty… the list goes on.
Without getting into any kind of debate about sexuality or how to raise your kids, we can just say times are not so simple anymore, and our kids will be exposed to a lot of different things than they would have in decades past. How we handle this is delicate and totally up to us to figure out. We will be judged no matter how we proceed, though.
3 Self-Love Is Harder But So Important
Comparisons are happiness killers. There will always be a mom who is more thin, rich, or “beautiful” than we are. There will always be some insecurities we can choose to harp on, or not.
You know you’ve reached a good place in life when you don’t feel the need to compare yourself or your parenting to others. You have happy and thriving children, you’re doing everything for them that you can, and you know that is as good as it gets
2 Faith No More
In 2018, fewer people than ever are religious or believe in any higher power at all.
The nuclear family has dissolved, and many people are feeling untethered and lost. We are discouraged from traditional ways of coping with life and seeking guidance, such as going to church, temple, mosque, or our elders for advice, and that is a crying shame.
I am not saying anyone should believe any certain thing, or that any institution has all of the answers, but a little bit of divine inspiration and faith in something outside of ourselves could probably do us all a world of good.
1 Overall Expectations Of Perfection
So, you get the idea by now. Being a mom (or parent, grandparent, guardian, etc.) in 2018 is extremely nerve-wracking and uncertain. The lesson I hope you take away from this is that parenting is extremely personal and you probably have most of the answers within you… so you don’t need to buy into all of the random bombardment of information and judgment floating around in the world.
Ask yourself if your kids are happy and what you could be doing better. Ask yourself what you can do to make time for your health, grounded-ness, and sanity, and then make a regular habit of doing that. Now, put down your phone and just breathe, honey.
References CDC.gov, CNN.com, CMSRI.org, LearnTheRisk.org, WebMD.com, WHO.int