The problem with the modern day mummy

Motherhood is complex. Insanely rewarding, yet exceptionally hard work at the same time.

It isn’t just the actual mothering that is complex though, it is the way we are perceived as mums as well. There is no longer a ‘typical mum’, or a simple definition of a mother. We are expected to be everything to everyone all of the time, to take on every role in our lives with ease.


Here come the critics

We are criticised no matter what arrangements we have as mothers and no matter what our work/life balance is.

Women who work full time away from the home are criticised for not being ‘proper’ mothers, criticised for prioritising work over their children, criticised for passing the reins of childcare and raising their children over to someone else – and asked the question, so why exactly did you have children then?

Women who work part time away from the home and care for their children for the remaining time are criticised for being part-time mothers and criticised for not being committed to their careers. Not praised for trying to find a balance, but criticised for not being ‘serious’ about either work or motherhood – and forced to respond to any questioning with the “…but I ‘only’ work part-time”.

Women who care for their children full time and are not in paid employment are criticised for being lazy, not providing for their families, not supporting equal rights, criticised for their lack of ‘contribution’ to the home, criticised for loosing themselves, their focus and any respect anyone ever had for them – and asked the question, so what exactly do you do all day?

Women who care for their children full time at home and work from home around the needs of their family suffer the comments of all the above mothers. These women are also criticised for ‘playing’ at work, calling their hobby their job, and an assumption is often made that these women do not ‘need’ to work and are simply looking for ways to keep themselves busy.

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Lack of respect

There is little respect for any of these women. By men, by other women. Someone always has a criticism. A negative comment. An opinion they must voice.

People assume that these are always choices women have made themselves, not a result of the needs of their family or their particular situation.

It is of course possible that there are women out their who fit these stereotypes, but they are just that, stereotypes. They make no account of individual circumstance or what people have chosen to do and why.

We modern mummies are constantly told we can have it all, we are so ‘lucky’ that we get to be mothers and have a career.

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Are we being realistic?

It’s not realistic and it’s setting up millions of women to feel like failures. The ones who look like they are everything all of the time must be like queen bees with lots of worker bees in the background, with their family and friends picking up the slack. The rest of us are just winging it and managing to do some of these things, some of the time.

I’m sure that every generation has its challenges. There are so many amazing things about being a modern day woman, things that I wouldn’t change, but there are some complex issues about being a modern day mummy that sometimes go missed.

As mothers we are told we have lots of ‘choices’ but really what we have are tough trade offs.

Nothing about modern motherhood is simple or easy.

What do you think?

10 comments on 'The problem with the modern day mummy'

  • I think mothers can get a bad rep regardless of what they decide to do. However, I think you need to do what you feel right, as you know what your family needs.
    Personally, sometimes a stay at home mom becomes bored and frustrated with just having the house and kids to see too; it can also be horrible if you dont see others much. So, I believe working part time is perfect as it gives a rounded balance to the family.

  • do you know what, what ever you do, whether you work, stay at home, ways you bring your children up, if you don’t do certain thing or do, do certain things you will be judge, there are very opinionated people out there who seem to think they have a right to tell every parent how to bring up their child. I work, but get told that i work to much and should be spending time with my child, its easy for them, they can afford to, but i need to work to give my daughter the things he needs, and have good birthdays and xmas. (rant over lol)

  • There seems to be no happy medium
    What ever makes the family happy is the most important thing
    Can’t do right for doing wrong

  • I absolutely agree, I am a stay at home mum and I do feel like a failure, my children are told by various people that all mummy does is stay at home, I don’t bring in money and I don’t have a career, my husband works hard and pays the bills so in my children’s eyes he is amazing.. its a tough world and i fear it will only get tougher.

  • I completely agree and its really difficult (especially as a first time parent) to not beat yourself up about what you are or are not doing. I still get a bit embarrassed when i tell people i stay at home with Mia all the time, I dont know why but i feel like people judge because i dont go to work however my friend who has to work full time, gets a bad rep for going to work so i dont think any parent can win!


  • As long as you’re happy, your family is happy and things are working, it really isn’t anyone else’s business. It’s a shame we’re better at bringing each other down more than building each other up

  • Do you know what, before I had kids I remember a lady in her sixties saying to me ‘I feel so sorry for mothers these days … it was so much simpler when mine were little.’

    I disagreed (and still do to an extent – I’m so happy there are many more options for women now!) but I do kind of see what she meant now. You can’t please everyone and it feels impossible at times x

  • Happiness is the key to everything. Judgement comes and goes. The most important thing to remember is that family is priceless.

  • It always seems to me that everyone expects modern moms to have a very specific parentsing style. As if we need to have a strong opinion one way or the other on every parenting decision, or we don’t care.
    The truth is that every mom is different, every baby is different, and every family is different. There’s nothing wrong with just figuring out what works best for your family!
    Us moms need to encourage each other, not criticize. We are creating a diversified next generation.

  • I think Mum’s have a really hard time, as the kids want everything that other kids have, otherwise they get picked on at school, and as Mum’s we don’ want them to be bullied

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