Society has entirely unrealistic standards for moms. It expects them to be everywhere, do everything and, of course, stay smiling the whole time. Sarah Buckley Friedberg brought this injustice to light in a very real Facebook post. The brutally honest note has already been shared more than 42,000 times, resonating with moms near and far.
There’s one key takeaway from the lengthy post: We’re setting moms up for failure. Buckley Friedberg goes into detail on some of the most ridiculous mixed messages moms receive. Here’s the worst of them:
Get back to work: “Go back to work six to eight weeks after having the baby, the baby that you spent nine to 10 months growing inside of your body,” Buckley Friedberg cites. A couple of weeks isn’t nearly enough time to properly heal, adjust to a new lifestyle and bond with baby, but so many companies expect women to bounce right back to work and give 110 percent, even when their mind is back home with baby.
Breast is best: People love to preach about how good breastfeeding is for baby. You’re not denying all of the benefits breast milk has, but sometimes there’s more to it than just that. Fed is best and you don’t need anyone telling you the right way to care for your child.
Don’t let yourself go: Society doesn’t care that you just carried a little person inside of you for nine months. All it sees now is a mom who’s out of shape and let herself go. “Make sure to get eight hours of sleep a night so you can work out, work and care for your family,” the mom sarcastically says. “But also get up at 5 a.m. to work out, unless you want to do it after your kids go to bed when you also need to clean the house and get life ready for the next day and, you know, sleep.”
A clean house is a happy house: Moms are expected to always have their house ready for a random visitor. God forbid that mythical visitor ever shows up, what would they think if they saw an unkempt house! But make sure your house is also a ‘fun zone.’ “Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties,’ Buckley Friedberg jokes.
Be your family’s secretary: There’s a reason why we’ve been hearing a lot about invisible labor. Moms are expected to handle the brunt of parenting, and their happiness is taking a hit. We just assume a mom should be the one to keep track of every family member’s hectic schedule, cook, clean, do laundry, chauffeur to practices and appointments, and if anything else comes up along the way, a mom will have to rise to the occasion. It’s no wonder dads are happier than moms.
Find a way to clone yourself: That’s the only way it’s physically possible to be everywhere you need to be at exactly the same time. “Kids need lots of doctor appointments—monthly as babies and every time they are sick,” the mom says. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “At least two school conferences a year [and] IEP meetings, if applicable; parents night; back-to-school night; get to know your school night…” Plus, you don’t want to be THAT parent who’s the only one who hasn’t signed up to volunteer.
Your family needs home-cooked meals every night: “That requires meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep on the weekend,” she says. “But also hang out with your kids on the weekend since during the week you only get to hang out with them when they are exhausted and angry that you made the wrong kind of spaghetti for dinner.”
You need a life: Society sets the bar high, but loves to make you feel like you’re failing when your social life has to take a back seat. Somewhere in between running your family like a well-oiled machine, you also need to pick up a hobby and grab dinner with your friends. You don’t want people to think you don’t have a life outside of your kids, of course!
Jeez. It’s no wonder moms are drowning in stress. Society enjoys watching them tread on thin ice, waiting to judge them when the ground they’re walking on suddenly cracks. Instead of setting women up for failure, let’s have a hand ready to help them get back up when they fall.