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Why is Parenting Harder Today?

By: Ashley Verma | Published: November, 2022

I work full-time and I am a mum full-time and I wouldn’t have it any other way, even though it is beyond crazy! I have childcare 3 days a week. This helps to “lighten the load” but it doesn’t take it all away. I am a conscious, decision making, available Mum. I am a firm believer that parents carry the buck from the beginning to the end of the day. I love that and wouldn’t change that.

So why is parenting harder today? Honestly, I don’t think it ever changed. It has always been hard. It has always been a mega challenge. The difference between today and “back then”, parents are speaking up more and more about it. Sharing the challenges and being vocal about the struggles.

My Mum was a stay-at-home mum. A full-time Mum. She did everything. From cooking, cleaning, planning, caring, the bills… she did it all. That can never be diluted. She was a superwomen in her own right. She started her own business when I was nine years old to help pay for the extra dance classes I was doing and cover travel expenses.

My Mum still maintained the house, the cooking, she cared for it all. My Dad had his own contracting business and was working from sun-up to sundown. They both provided and cared. We never heard that they were tired, exhausted from our crying, tormented by our “Mummy please!” and “No, I want that!” They were parents that loved, nurtured and got on with it.  They supported each other. For me, I idolised them as the “Dream Team”.

Perhaps parenting is harder now because we are not communicating properly and we are comparing and competing, not working as that “Dream Team”.

Now let’s talk about what has been hard for women specifically. In the big, bad, “real” world, we are paid less – and we are valued far less – than a man. We have a stigma wrapped around us about falling pregnant, postpartum depression, breastfeeding and simply being the number one caregiver to a child.

How can a women rule the world when there is already so much they are up against? That makes parenting challenging. Does it make it harder? I don’t think so as, again, it has always been there.  Parenting is hard! It takes mega support and communication.

Daily problems we are all facing as parents today…

  • Support and asking for it. I had my daughter in a different country. Not surrounded by my close friends and family. I can remember as a kid, my brother and I were passed around like a football amongst family members as they were always around. Yes, it helped to “lighten the load” for my mum at times. She needed the support. I think it’s hard to ask for it. It’s almost like a Mum’s armour has to be removed to ask for help and that in itself is shameful.
  • Safety in the neighbourhoods. To me, this is wild as I can vividly remember as a kid running up and down the streets with no care in the world. My biggest gripe as a kid was when the street lights came on I had to go home for a bath. That does not exist anymore. People have become more and more desperate in society and it is simply not safe to just let the kids go out and about. As parents, we have to come up with better-structured ways for the kids to play and interact as that once easy “open the front door and off you go” is gone.
  •  Glamourisation from social media about parenting can really trigger some followers and have them go into a self-doubt spiral. It creates a bad head space, which then can create disconnect from the child and partner.
  •  We are a cellphone, iPad, computer driven society. For most working parents, and not, it has turned into an addiction. The kids see it, the kids want it. Both my husband and I try to cut down on it in front of our daughter. We are also very aware about how much screen time she gets. Although there are incredible learning shows out there so I will never knock it and say “No Screen Time!” The biggest round of applause for Cocomellon and its parrot fashion teaching – our daughter has learned loads from that show.

We as parents are way more protective these days…

Because the world is absolutely bananas! Long gone are the days of kids filling the streets and simply playing. There is too much uncertainty happening so that it is now best to have playdates indoors and when you head to the park, you always keep a close eye on the kids. The pressure is there but this also can be helped by your support network of friends and family. The more support you have around, the better you feel protected.

Gentle reminder for all parents…

I think all parents need to remember this… You are ‘At Its Best’. This is the tag line and one of the reasons for creating Bizzimumzi. You are ‘At Its Best’ on the great days and the not. There can be paint on the walls, dishes piled in the sink and that spreadsheet half made… you are trying your best to be the best example, caregiver, inspiration for your child and that is enough each day.

It’s not about perfection. My oh my, wouldn’t perfection be wonderful. Is parenting perfection attainable? I haven’t a Scooby but I do know, and I feel from my own experience, that simply trying for my daughter feeds my soul and makes each day simply worth it.

How can we support a new Bizzimumzi…

This is simple, meaningful and doesn’t cost a thing but your time… Check in! Supporting and being that person to lean on is exactly what that new parent needs. Does it need to be every hour on the hour, no. Every little bit helps and can be reassuring to the new parent. If you are a parent, share your experiences and perhaps daily game plans that you did in the early stages.

Just like a baby has these milestone moments, so does a parent. Share you experience over time with what worked and what didn’t. Obviously, the recipient should take things with a pinch of salt as there is no set rule book for parenting. Some advice may work and others not… that is ok. The support is key.

Through my experience, when the chips are down…

You and your partner need to listen to each other and support each other. This is not a competition between the two parents and, to really strip it down, you both want and need to be ‘At Your Best’ for each other firstly, so that you can work through the day to be ‘At Its Best’ for your child. Children are absolute sponges. They can sense and feel when the chips are down. Focus in on strong communication. From my experience, strong communication with your partner can make for a great day and can feel like some of the heaviness of parenting is lightened.

Ashley is a mom, founder of the Bizzimumzi podcast, and Define London fitness studio. She is a former Broadway performer and celebrity trainer. Through Bizzimumzi Ashley has created a welcoming community to share the highs and lows of parenting, and inspire others to feel empowered in their journey. Ashley believes the most perfect picture of parenting is simply when you are trying your best. Bizzimumzi is a safe space that helps parents to inspire, educate and support each other to be the best parent they can be.

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