This morning a friend posted a link to this article entitled Mother is Best? Why ‘Intensive Parenting’ Makes Moms More Depressed. I’ve never been a fan of “intensive parenting” and I rail against it constantly both here at Babble and on my own blog.
For those of you who don’t know, intensive parenting is when women take the lead on parenting and believe that mothers are better parents than fathers and that children should be firmly planted in the center of the mother’s world with everything else revolving around them.
I have always suspected that anyone who subscribes to intensive parenting must be overwhelmed and it appears that I’m right.
Like most mothers, I love my children intensely and I cannot imagine my life without them. A great deal of my identity is wrapped up in being “Gomer and Adolpha’s Mom.” However, I try to encourage others to help me parent my children. I am grateful to the wonderful teachers in their lives who help mold their education, I am lucky to have a village that will help me raise them, and I am not alone. I have an amazing husband who co-parents with me.
I didn’t need to read this article to confirm what I already felt. There are days that my kids are the center of my universe and frankly on those days I am utterly exhausted and depressed. This summer has been a “center of my universe” kind of summer. Normally our summers are low key with lazy afternoons at the pool or bowling. Not this summer. This summer we had some opportunities to travel and participate in various kid-friendly activities and we took advantage of all of them. We took our kids on vacation to a water park, I went camping with them – twice, I planned fun “camps” for them here at home and I won’t even mention all the movies, playdates and other events I packed their schedules with.
You don’t have to ask me how I feel. You just need to read some of my latest Babble posts to see exactly how depressed I’ve been lately. I wrote about wanting to find some alone time away from my family. I wrote about going away for a week and not really missing the stress of caring for and entertaining my kids. I realize I’m not usually a warm and fuzzy blogger, but even more me those are pretty bleak.
I got back home on Monday and we have not done much except decompress. School starts in about a week and I need to get the kids on their “school schedules.” I’m cutting down on activities and beefing up “quiet time” since soon they will be expected to sit quietly in class and do their work. With all of this down time, my mood has improved considerably and I find myself happy again.
As moms we put so much pressure on ourselves to do what “the experts” and the parenting books tell us. There is an overload of information out there and we’re making ourselves crazy trying to make sure we don’t screw up these little people. We worry so much about them that we forget about our own mental health. We need to make sure that we are well. If Mommy isn’t happy, no one is happy.
Just remember, our kids don’t need to be entertained, stimulated and scheduled 24/7. You’re not a terrible mom if every day isn’t memorable or an “event.” Our kids can do just fine with an afternoon on their own. I’m sure they will find something to do – and even if they don’t boredom won’t kill them.
Join the conversation and tell me what you think. What areas are you an “intensive parent?” Is “intensive parenting” making you depressed?