Feeling pressure to appear perfect, moms are apparently fibbing about everything from how much TV their kids watch to how much private time they spend with their partners. So they say, anyway.
According to a survey of 5,000 people conducted by the British website Netmums, "two-thirds of those surveyed said they had been less than honest with other mothers about how well they were coping and almost half covered up financial worries." They also tell "white lies" about the above-mentioned TV consumption, how much time they spend with kids, and, in one case, napping.
Netmums is singlehandedly setting out to change the feelings of inadequacy engendered by comparing oneself to other mothers. They're launching what they call the "Real Parenting Revolution," which encouraged honesty and solidarity — at least online. The thinking being, it would seem, that everyone's scared of everyone else — except for that one third who really are doing everything they claim — and eliminating the fiction of perfection would be a first step.
But then, where parenting is concerned, any deviation is hard to discuss honestly: no one wants to feel like she's not doing best for her kid, and everyday online we see battle-lines drawn on everything from co-sleeping to raw milk. And reports like this, apparently, just stoke the flames.
Parenting expert and sociologist Frank Furedi said that parents were under "profound pressures" from society. He said that a culture of parenting "incites parents to lie and to turn child-rearing into a performance." He added that even with the best intentions, reports such as these increased the pressure on parents: "Parents are always being judged in one way or another - including by this report. The real solution is to lay off parents and publish less reports."
That said, the Real Parenting Revolution, however modest, is a good idea: the Internet can be a wonderful source of solidarity, and if nothing else, it sounds like people need to vent. One woman in the article is caught napping and claims she was in the middle of...baking. Surely the mom on the other end of the line then felt inadequate and reproached herself. And so the cycle continues. You'll notice that even in the article, no names were used: these things don't happen overnight.
Mothers Admit To Parenting Lies, Netmums Survey Says [BBC]
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