Intensive mothering: Pro or Con?
Have you ever known of a mother who puts herself before her children? It's not that uncommon. How about spending so much time caring for her child that she starts to get a little sick? I guess it happens sometimes, especially in today's society. Well, what if she will not allow her husband or partner to get involved because she thinks the spouse will not do the right job? That's a little extreme, isn't it? What if the mother devoted an entire day to her child, naming the day after the child and allowing the child to dictate the whole day's activities as he or she liked? That's where I would say the line is overdue to be drawn.
And yet this is not an uncommon way of raising a child, especially in this country. It's called intensive mothering, and I'm sure you all know a mother who sounds like the one described above.
Sharon Hays, who wrote the 1996 essay "The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood," described "intensive mothering" as being self-consciously committed to child rearing. It involves being dedicated to her child to the point that she takes much better care of her child than herself, even if it means cutting back hours, or even setting aside a whole day for the child to do whatever he or she wants. Children need consistent nurturing by a single caretaker who will expend an abundance of energy, time, and resources for the child; this may also require research on what the child needs at every stage of development. Intensive mothers see themselves as the primary caregiver for the child; men cannot be relied upon for that. Intensive mothering, overall, is "child centered, expert-guided, emotionally absorbing, labor-intensive, and financially expensive." Children come first, period.
Basically, the ideology conflicts with that of the workplace, and the "dominant ethos of modern society." In fact, intensive mothering cannot be compared with work. It is the dominant ideology of how to appropriately raise a child in the United States today. Many American mothers tend to believe in intensive mothering; the ideological revolution encouraged middle-class, White women to stay at home and care for children, especially.
This seems unfortunate to me because, though I believe women don't need to prove themselves by entering the workworld against their will, it seems like there must be something in society that causes women to feel so strongly about their methods of raising a child. It's like the ideological revolution needs to be reversed so that women don't feel pressured to raise their children in such a way. Certainly it's a good idea to care deeply about your kid and his or her well being, but that doesn't mean dedicating your life to it so that it's unhealthy.
Have any of you ever known a mother like this? Did she burn out? It seems to me like such mothering could even cause resentment by a mother if the child does not seem to appreciate all that the mother has done, and the consequences could be horrendous. When I see mothering like this, it never really lasts after the first couple of years or so, but the mother in the essay continues with this though the child has entered elementary school.
- Attachment Parenting: Intensive Moms Reflect Women’s Rise | TIME Ideas | TIME.com
Feminism and motherhood have long been cast as feuding sisters, one always attempting to undermine the other. In this calculation, women had to choose between the independence, education and self-expression of the feminist path and the nurture, sacri
- Why "Intensive Parenting" Makes Moms More Depressed | Healthland | TIME.com
In today’s parenting climate, having kids is not for the faint of heart. Parents, especially moms, are pelted with advice and recommendations: a "good" mom stimulates her children constantly, taking them to museums and signing them up for character-b
- Does “intensive mothering” make women stressed and depressed? | BabyCenter Blog
Here is a message that hits home with many of us: Mothers who devote themselves intensively to their kids often suffer more mental health
- Intensive Mothering vs. Free Range Kids: Contesting Ideas of Proper Parenting » Sociologic
More by this Author
There are many issues facing schools in third-world nations, including disease and teacher pay. It only costs $8,500 to build a school in a third-world country. Learn more about this option and consider the reasons for...
Adopted children may tend to feel more ashamed - even guilty - about losses, failures, or fights. You think deep down inside that your adopted parents might regret having chosen you for a child, that maybe things would...
In college, I became anorexic and am thankful to have overcome that condition. Learn more about my experience so that you can learn from my mistakes.