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What You Should Know About Motherhood and Parenting

Updated on April 10, 2016

Motherhood and Parenting

Becoming a mother is a great and overwhelming experience. One of the greatest milestones in a woman’s life is becoming a mother. Whether a woman is a first-timer mother or expecting another child, motherhood and parenting create a major lifestyle change. No other single event brings about as many changes and as much responsibility for her, as this one. Having a baby gives a woman a sense of fulfillment and enormous joy. At the same time, it has been seen that first-time mothers get overwhelmed by the changes that takes place in their lives as well as their body, after the baby is born. The life of a woman changes completely with the arrival of the baby and the amount of work she has to cope up with leaves her completely exhausted. While nothing can equal the joy that motherhood, brings, new mothers often find themselves in a demanding situation.

Mothers and motherhood

Women of reproductive age can become biological mothers, yet some mothers may never become pregnant, having children instead through marriage, or surrogate procedures. Mothers may raise their children independently, with the help of family members or with their husbands. Some women find great meaning in parenting, marriage and their work. Others are devoted parents but they lacked fulfillment in marriage or a career. A third group of mothers find much less meaning in parenting and felt powerless to cope with responsibilities of motherhood.

Smith Battle says, “In spite of adverse childhood experiences, mothering for some teens provides a corrective or turning-point experience. Mothering placed them on a new path and gave new meaning and depth to their lives. Mothering transformed their worlds and created a new moral horizon for how they should live.”

Many teen mothers have difficult childhoods and come from disadvantaged communities with poor schools so they started out with many strikes against them. There’s little hope or support to finish high school or go to college. Becoming a mother is almost seen as inevitable. And once they become mothers, the lack of support, education and job training for anything other than low-skilled positions without health benefits reinforces the disadvantage that often led the to become teen parents in the first place. Women become mothers in response to social or cultural pressures, or for personal reasons. Regardless of specific circumstances, all women who develop a nurturing relationship with a young person and guide their growth are mothers. This type of relationship, with all of its responsibilities and rewards, comprises the situation of motherhood.

Differentiating Motherhood and Parenting

Whereas parenting is the active state of raising children, Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary defined motherhood as, “The state of being a mother.” By shifting their focus to care giving, women may experience a change value systems and personal outlook. A recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (2010) tracking over one million mothers for twenty years in Taiwan found that the rate of suicide in women declined as they had more children. Researchers suggest that the practice of motherhood has psychological benefits, which may prevent women from taking their lives.

Parenting While Expecting

Mothers expecting additional child may have difficulty in caring for their other children, as she have to care for themselves and ensure that they recuperate from the strains of delivery as soon as possible. After all only a healthy mother will be able to ensure a healthy growth and development of their children. The mother may be unable to fully prepare the child for the diversion of their time and energy, especially if the child is used to having the mother all to himself.

Challenges and Benefits of Motherhood

Becoming a mother has its challenges and benefits. Prior to having children, women may have more time to focus on their own interests or goals and more energy to pursue those goals. Being a mother is a full time job and becomes exhausting, challenging and tests the patience of every new mother. Finding balance may take some time after a new child is brought into your life, but it is necessary to find balance to have a happy, healthy family.

Recent research in the Monitor on Psychology (2008) indicates that stress hormones released late in pregnancy or as a result of an increase in preparation for delivery can lead to the state of forgetfulness known as “baby brain”. Yet post-birth, the journal reports mothers may enjoy an increase in old flow, motor skills, and cognitive skills due to rapidly-evolving brain mechanisms. It should also be noted that motherhood can give new meaning and inspiration to professional and personal activities as women impart the content or process to their children.

The Superwoman Syndrome

Mothers should be wary of falling into the so-called “Superwoman Syndrome,” whereby women feel they should fulfill (if not exceed all personal and societal expectations for both women and mothers. Taking on more than is manageable can lead to depression and lost of interest in the children. This unhealthy goal can add undue stress to any mother’s responsibilities. Know when you need help and ask for it, this will help you to find balance. In fact, mothers may need to delegate tasks to a partner, make time to nurture personal friendships, or belong to strong support group in order to maintain a sense of personal satisfaction, as well as satisfaction with the progression of her children. They should spend time away from the house and children frequently to relax and have time for personal interests as well. This time could be spent in personal hobbies. The more you take care of yourself, the better you will be able to handle the over-challenging demands of children. The Nemours Foundation cautions that parents must promote their own well-being, in order for both to enjoy and provide good leadership for their children.

Working Mothers

A birth of a new child is quite a memorable and ecstatic experience. To some women it also feels like a woman’s own rebirth. Your world revolves around your baby. Easy thing you do is for the baby. At this point, work may be the farthest thing from your mind, but eventually you’ll have to think about it and deal with it head on. It is debatable in the minds of many women whether they should go back to work or not.

Women have different motives for going back to work after the baby arrives: financial necessity, independence, or to find balance in their lives. Many mothers opt to go back to work after the baby arrives, while some mothers choose to stay at home with the baby, which is a full time job itself. Assess your current financial situation. It should be a regular pay check – a steady income stream, or a regular financial support from a spouse or partner. Examine also the undeniable benefits to a child when the mother stays at home. The formative years of a child, which is from zero to seven years old is a very important stage in his or her development. Others split their time between working part time and staying home with the baby part time. Research by the Side road, a website that offers expert advice on everyday life, states that 30% of working mothers work full time, while the rest work part time. Families who cannot afford to have one parent stay at home usually find alternate means of child care while both parents are at work in the form of friends, family members or day care services.





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