Women are struggling under the pressures of motherhood and risking their health in an attempt to live up to society’s image of ‘super mum’, new research says.
The study, commissioned by baby food brand Bellamy’s, found social media is largely to blame for making it easy for family, friends and the general public to heap the pressure on.
We all know just how much many mums tend to put their children first and themselves last, and the research shows just how much mounting parenting pressures can hurt a mum’s health.
Many mums put their children first, and their own health last. Image via iStock.
Nine out of 10 women neglect their own health and nutrition in order to be a good mum, but then many are made to feel bad for not looking or feeling their best.
The research looked into the health habits of Australian mothers and also the enormous pressures and judgement mums face. It revealed that almost two thirds of mums feel unfairly judged if they do not lose baby weight quickly enough after giving birth, while more than half feel judged about their appearance when they step out in public.
However, two-thirds of mums feel judged when they spend time away from their child – even to exercise.
So, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t?!
In addition, of the 1000 Australian mothers surveyed 83 percent felt judged by strangers when their children misbehaved in public, while three-quarters also said they felt judged about going back to work too soon.
Mums feel judged for going back to work too soon.
Social media also affected around half of the mums’ perceptions of what constitutes a good mum.
As a mum of two aged two and under, and someone that is online a lot for work, I’ve seen and experienced a great deal of ‘mummy shaming’ and judgement online. It’s everywhere, from the celebrity post baby selfies to the endless ‘trolling’ of mums who have an online presence.
Post baby body pics, like those from celebs like Kim Kardashian.
And it doesn’t stop there. In real life there’s judgement in the playground, at your local playgroup, the school gate and more. When will we, as a society, learn to support mums instead of shaming them? After all, it’s by far the hardest job in the world. There’s no place for judgement.
The survey results come as another researcher revealed that there is a large gap between what women think motherhood will be like, and what it is actually like.
Dr Bronwyn Harman interviewed thousands of women about motherhood and found that “the expectation of motherhood was completely different to the reality of motherhood – and not in a good way. What they thought they were going to get was not what they got”, she told Fairfax media.