What do moms and superheroes have in common? Well, literally everything. From juggling multiple full-time jobs to changing diapers at lightning speed, moms are often under-appreciated for all the hard work and sacrifice they put forward to raise us. When's the last time anyone called mom for something other than sheepishly asking for money? When's the last time any kid thanked her? How about telling her we love her? Heck, I know I'm guilty of not reaching out enough. There's comfort in knowing our moms will adore us unconditionally, but it's easy to take that unwavering affection for granted.
Keeping all of this in mind, I put together 23 facts about motherhood that ought to have everyone calling their mother and endlessly thanking her for all she's done. There's so much that goes unnoticed during pregnancy that we likely knew nothing about, simply because we weren't born yet. How many jobs did our mom work so she could afford diapers and toys? How much support did she have to do so? Did she ever feel judged for her life choices? These facts will really open up our minds and hearts. So please, we should all call our mom as soon as we're done reading this. I know I did, and it was the best decision I ever made.
23 The Number Of Single Mothers Is Growing
Having a man around can be nice, but it's definitely not necessary. In fact, the number of single moms is growing each year. About one-in-four mothers are raising their children on their own in the United States. That equates to 24%, with the remaining 65% being married. There are about nine-million mothers raising children under 18 without a partner. That's one parent playing two roles, and providing enough money, love, support, energy, and time.
According to Pew Research, solo motherhood is more common among African American women. Meanwhile, only 7% of men out there are raising children solo. See, mothers really are superheroes.
22 Age Is Just A Number When It Comes To Childbirth
This young girl is Lina Medina. In 1939, she became the world's youngest mom after giving birth via C-section at just five years old in Lima, Peru. At first her parents were concerned that Lina had a tumor growing in her abdominal region, but doctors later confirmed that she was indeed seven months pregnant. Lina, who is still alive today at 84 years old, named her son Gerardo, but never confirmed the father's identity to protect his privacy. How can a young girl get pregnant without a menstrual cycle? Well, that's the miracle of birth.
21 Being Pregnant Is A Full-Time Job
The office life of Pam and Jim was no joke! Now more than ever, pregnant women are working at least one full-time job to support their families. In the early 1960s, roughly 60% of expecting mothers went to work. That percentage has increased to 72.3% over the past decade. Research also shows that expecting women are working longer into their pregnancy.
A 2015 study concluded that 82% of female workers stayed at their desks until they were within one month of their baby being due. Juggling a baby and business? Now that's what we call a supermom.
20 Clean Houses Don't Quite Exist Anymore
It doesn't matter if you're a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, personal stories from both sides reveal the same thing: clean houses are a thing of the past.
In 2011, super moms of all kinds sat down with Forbes magazine to confess what they feel most judged about. Working moms listed, "How clean my house is, not taking care of myself, and the amount of time I spend with my children." One stay-at-home mother said, "How clean my house is, my contribution to family finances, and not using my education." Motherhood should be a judgment-free zone, people!
19 The Laundry Pile Keeps Getting Bigger
Who pays attention to gender roles anymore? Well, apparently men do. It remains true that women and mothers do the lion's share of housework, even in 2018. It's gradually improving, but in 2015 a study concluded that most Americans agree that women should handle household chores like sweeping, doing laundry, and cooking. The study showed that 85% of mothers spent most of their day fixing up the house, leaving less than 20% to treating themselves. On average, Press Cleaners claims mothers spend 17 minutes doing laundry-related activities. Men, on the other hand, only spend four.
18 Diapers Don't Get Any Less Stinky
There are a number of potential reasons why some husbands avoid changing diapers. Perhaps they're worried about looking less manly, or the smell is too bad, or—the worst excuse of all—"there are better things to do."
On average, Fact Retriever claims it takes a mother two minutes and five seconds to safely and successfully change a baby's diaper. That equals to about three 40-hour work weeks each year. That same study showed husbands can change a diaper in one minute and 36 seconds, but with a lot more mistakes and "leakage."
17 There's A Lot Of Pressure To Be An Involved Mother
Talk about pressure! When it comes to being an involved and dedicated parent, studies from Pew Research show women face more pressures than men. Roughly eight-in-10 Americans (77%) agree that mothers should be home more often with the child, but still go to work and make enough money to support the family at the same time. Meanwhile, a significantly lower percentage (56%) think husbands carry the same role. So, if we're analyzing the numbers, it's more acceptable in American culture for husbands to be away from the house and enjoying other activities than parenting.
16 Hormones And Moodiness Don't Go Away
As it turns out, teenagers aren't the only ones who experience drastic mood swings. Parents.com admits pregnant woman are also prone to mood swings due to the fatigue, physical stress, changes in metabolism, or estrogen and progesterone levels. Morning sickness, which affects 70% of expectant mothers, is one of the leading factors behind mood swings in the first trimester. Out of that 70, 15% listed their mood swings as "problematic," meaning it affected other areas of overall well-being, including appetite, libido, and energy levels. Don't worry, mothers, it's not your fault — it's biology. Stupid science.
15 Mother's Day Doesn't Always Go As Planned
Americans spend approximately $671 million on cards and $1.9 billion on flowers, but that doesn't always mean Mother's Day is a guaranteed success. According to Psychology Today, Mother's Day is one of those holidays that come with high expectations and less-than-ideal results. A 2018 study concluded that 40% of mothers have to fake a positive reaction when opening their gifts, the most common responses being, "I really needed this," "Wow, this is great," "I love it," and "Awww!" Even if your gift-giving skills are under par, your mother will always love you and make you feel good about the present you gave her. That's called ultimate selflessness.
14 Step-Moms Get A Bad Rep, But Why?
Movies love giving step-moms a bad reputation. Cinderella, Tommy Boy, Mirror Mirror, Nanny McPhee, Crazy/Beautiful, the list goes on! Did you know that only 54% of Canadians with a step-mom are likely to celebrate Mother's Day, according to a Toronto-based survey. Many step-moms can't help but internalize the naughty stigma that stems from pop culture, which takes a toll on their self-confidence. It's so unfair! Step-moms are super moms, too, and here's why. Anna de Acosta shows that step-moms can mediate the negative effects of divorce on children. Also, step-moms benefit their step-kids by providing an extra layer of protection, love, and supervision. The more the merrier!
13 Breastfeeding Hurts
Periods and pregnancy really have a knack for making our breasts sore. Oh, and then there's breastfeeding. Supermoms around the world may feel pain while giving their baby boy or girl lunch — up to 12 times a day, according to Health-Foundations! Side effects of breastfeeding may include cramps, fever, body aches, and anxiety, especially when the baby doesn't want to attach right away. But it's all worth it! Breastfeeding reduces a baby’s risk of cavities later on in life, promotes calmness, fights off bacteria, and lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. If only our grown-up lunches were so healthy. It was recorded in 2013 that 77% of women chose breastfeeding over formula to form a closer bond with their baby.
12 Six-Packs May Vanish No Matter How Hard You Workout
Pregnancy can be both an exciting and scary time for a woman's body. Surprisingly, diastasis recti is the one post-pregnancy belly condition that doesn't get much attention.
After giving birth to her second child, Jenna Angst told Vox she noticed that her midsection didn't look right. “I was frustrated that my stomach looked so pudgy, even after I got back to my normal weight,” she told Vox. “I found it appalling that I had to go on such a journey to get answers."
Jenna had diastasis recti, which causes the abdominal muscles to separate and stomach to protrude. Studies suggest 60% of women experience DR six weeks after giving birth, and yet, there isn't enough research to prescribe a definitive treatment.
11 'Me' Time And Relaxing Get Cut In Half
Sacrifice is a mother's middle name, and here are the numbers to prove it via Spa Finder. They note 63% of moms report that they have an hour or less to themselves each day, 26% report they don't have any time alone, and 93% report they'd rather go to the spa than receive physical gifts from friends and family. For all the good our mothers have done, they deserve all the relaxation in the world. There are 49% of moms who prefer a massage, 16% watch movies or play video games to de-stress, and 15% read a book to calm the mind. Mothers are always thinking about somebody else. They are actual saints.
10 Naps And 8-Hour Sleep Go Out The Window
Did you know that new parents lose 44 days of sleep during the first year of their child's life, according to the Daily Mail? On average, parents get 5.1 hours of sleep each night their first year. The recommended sleep time for optimal cognitive activity and function is a minimum of eight hours. 33-year-old mom and family medicine specialist Jennifer Park admits to Romper, "All mothers at some point will feel fatigued. There are certain times — such as the newborn period, teething, and illnesses — that lead to our children needing more contact with us, meaning less uninterrupted sleep for mom." Raising a family on a half-charged battery? That's incredible.
9 Netflix Queues Are Put On Pause For Years
Motherly sacrifice doesn't always come from the inside. Sometimes, it can be an external object, like happy-hour drinks, concert tickets, and a Netflix queue. One TV-loving super mom, in particular, Katherine Clover, told Romper she gave up her regular programming for her kid's sake. Her partner also told Romper that they didn't like the idea of their kid watching any screens at all, so they stopped, too. But over time, they allowed their child to only watch shorter TV shows — no movies. The one exception was Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, minus "the scary parts." It was a "just this once."
Maybe it's a good thing, though, as TV reduces talk time between parents and children per Phycology Today.
8 Motherhood Can Be Boring At Times
Let's face it, watching a sleeping baby for hours on end isn't the most exciting thing in the world. In her personal essay on Good Housekeeping's website, mother-of-three Amy Hunter admits she's "secretly bored as a mother" because of the "monotony." On Facebook, Amy sees "all these cool things" her friends do, and it reminds of "life outside the four walls" on her home. Life as a mother may seem repetitive but think about the importance of making sure your kid gets to school before the bell rings, just in time to ace their test and build a successful academic future.
7 Motherhood Isn't A Paid Job, But It Could Be
Let's pretend for one second that motherhood was a paid job. Do you have any idea how much women would make?! Forbes magazine lists the starting salary at $115,000. According to their survey, stay-at-home moms work 97 hours a week, partially as a chef, daycare teacher, psychologist, housekeeper, janitor, Mac or PC operator, driver, and household CEO. Holy cow! For all those titles, the mom role should be making a six-figure salary. Working moms, in theory, would make double that amount from their nine-to-five in-office and mommy job at home.
6 Frequent Toilet Breaks (And We're Not Kidding)
There are two things to mention about urination: firstly, blood flow to a woman's kidneys increases by 30 to 65% during pregnancy, which causes them to pee more frequently. And secondly, it's not only mama who's peeing. While it may not be surprising to hear that babies pee inside the womb (like, a lot), it is a fact that makes you do a double-take. Ever heard of amniotic fluid? Yep, Little Things says that's baby pee. Surely the matter that you used your mom as a private bathroom stall is enough to give her a call and send your love.
5 Maternity Leave Is Much Too Short In Certain Countries
I have no idea how some super moms do it. Imagine having a baby, like, literally producing and pushing life out of your body, and then having to return to work just a few months later. According to The Huntington Post, the country with the shortest maternity leave benefits is the United States at 12 weeks and occasional cash benefits. A mother's time off may or not be paid. The next shortest is Iceland at three months, but at least 80% of their wages are paid. The best maternity leave programs come from Sweden (420 days), the UK/Serbia/Denmark (tied at 52 weeks), and Croatia (one year).
4 Maternal Health Programs Can Be Flawed
A maternal death is one of the most tragic occurrences I can think of. With today's advanced medicine, it's generally believed that giving birth is safe. But like any system, it's not perfect. Maternal mortality is rising in the United States more so than any other country, according to NPR. It seems maternal health is staggering for African American communities. In January 2018, Tanesia Walker died after giving birth to her second child. “We, as Americans, should be outraged that we can't even send our daughters or wives or even sisters to hospitals to have a routine procedure,” her brother, Dwayne, told NBC. Black women are three to four times more likely to die during death than white women.
3 Education Is A Top Priority
Stay in school! Around the world, more and more mothers are pursuing education for themselves and their children. Statistics from ABC News show that educated women are twice more likely to send their kids to school, and young girls with an extra layer of education can earn 20% more as an adult. Mothers are also more likely to channel their previous or current education and apply it to parenting than fathers.
As for single moms, Wealthy Single Mommy says more than half (58%) have attended college or received a Bachelor's degree. 67% of single Millennial moms have attended classes while raising a child at home. Wow.
2 No One Is Really In The Mood
Let's talk about intimacy. So, you've probably heard whispers or rumors that adult playtime stops after the baby arrives. That's not completely true, but it does slow down for both parents. In an online questionnaire, 60% of couples disclosed that it took six weeks for things to start back up again in the bedroom. One super mom, Sascha Anderson, worried that alone time would hurt after the baby, and didn't want to play any other role besides mama. “You don’t want to let go of that role as a parent,” she said, “you can feel guilty abandoning your child for base desires." But moms have needs, too!
1 Postpartum Depression Is More Common Than You Think
There are various levels of postpartum depression. At the very least, 70-80% of women experience the baby blues, while 10-20% experience clinical depression, per Postpartum Depression. A recent study showed one-in-seven women are likely to show signs of depression one year after giving birth, and yet, not many people are talking about the illness. "I smiled through many awkward visits with friends and family after my first son was born," writes Hannah Murphy via Romper. "I didn't want anyone thinking that I was in over my head, or that I couldn't handle my new role as a mother." It's okay for moms to ask for help. It's okay to have moments of weakness.
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