Motherhood is a complex and ever-evolving role that has undergone significant changes throughout history and across cultures. From traditional gender roles and societal expectations to modern-day advances in technology and communication, motherhood has seen both challenges and joys throughout its evolution.
In many traditional societies, motherhood was considered the primary role of women. Women were expected to bear and raise children, manage the household, and support their families emotionally. While this provided many women with a sense of purpose and fulfilment, it also placed a great deal of pressure on them to conform to societal expectations.
As societies shifted towards more gender-equal roles, motherhood also began to evolve. Women began to enter the workforce, pursue higher education, and take on a more active role in society. While this opened up new opportunities for women, it also brought new challenges. Women had to balance their roles as mothers with their careers and other responsibilities, leading to feelings of guilt and stress.
According to a recent study by Salary.com, if a stay-at-home mother were paid for her work as a caregiver, cook, chauffeur, and housekeeper, among other roles, her salary would be an estimated $162,581 per year in 2021. Considering a stay-at-home mother or parent is usually on call 24/7, this almost isn't enough!
Advancements in technology and communication have also impacted the evolution of motherhood. With the rise of social media, mothers can access a wealth of information and resources at their fingertips. They can connect with other mothers, seek advice and support, and share their experiences with others. While this can be a positive development, it can also be overwhelming and contribute to feelings of inadequacy.
Despite the challenges, being a mother today also comes with many joys. Mothers have the opportunity to bond with their children in new and meaningful ways, from attending their children's sporting events and performances to helping with homework and school projects. They can also instil values and teach essential life lessons to their children, helping to shape the future of society.
Another significant development in modern motherhood is the emphasis on self-care. Mothers are encouraged to take care of their physical and mental health, prioritize their needs, and seek support when necessary. This focus on self-care recognizes the importance of mothers' well-being and its impact on their families. Because motherhood is demanding and rewarding, and it can also be challenging, stressful, and overwhelming.
As mothers strive to care for their families and meet the demands of daily life, it is easy to neglect their own needs. But again, this puts the onus of self-care on a mother, who already has a million and one things to think about. This may be why the role of the village comes into play so effectively here, to recognize the need for a mother to take a break and give her the means to do so. Whether taking the kids for a few hours or offering to cook dinner, all these little offers can accumulate to help ease the load of motherhood.
But self-care is essential for maintaining good physical, mental, and overall well-being. Here are some tips and advice for self-care that mothers, and those that support a mother in their life, can incorporate into their daily routines:
- Prioritize sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. Make sure to prioritize sleep by establishing a regular sleep routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.
- Make time for exercise: Regular exercise is important for maintaining physical and mental health. Even a short walk or yoga session can help improve mood, reduce stress, and increase energy levels. A family member could watch the kids while you get some time to yourself to do this.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Incorporating mindfulness into daily routines can help mothers stay calm and centred even amid chaos.
- Connect with others: Motherhood can be isolating, but it is important for mothers to connect with others and build a support system. Reach out to friends, family, and other mothers for social support and encouragement. The app Peanut comes highly recommended as a space for mothers to connect, meet and find support; https://www.peanut-app.io/
- Practice self-compassion: Mothers often place high expectations on themselves, leading to guilt and self-criticism. Practising self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness.
- Engage in hobbies and interests: Pursuing hobbies and interests outside of motherhood can help mothers feel fulfilled and give them a purpose beyond caring for their families. Whether reading, painting, or learning a new skill, get your village to help you make time for activities that bring joy and fulfilment.
- Set boundaries: It is vital for mothers to set boundaries and prioritize their own needs, even when it may be difficult. Saying no to overwhelming commitments or taking time for oneself can help reduce stress and promote self-care.
While there are certainly challenges to being a mother today, there are also many joys and opportunities. By recognizing the changes that have taken place and the ongoing evolution of motherhood, we can better appreciate the role that mothers play in our lives and society.
So we want to give a big shoutout to all mothers and strong women! Whether you're celebrating with your mom, remembering a loved one, or simply taking care of yourself and your health today, we want to acknowledge the different experiences that come with Mother's Day and send our warmest wishes. 💚