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Under Pressure: Trying to be Perfect Parent Takes a Toll

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Being a mom or dad for the first time isn’t easy. And it certainly can’t be easy living up to the expectations set by your own parents, other family members or friends.

It’s normal for experienced parents to lend advice, guidance and support to new parents and seemingly this advice would be welcomed. But if the advice being given feels judgmental, it may serve as a detriment for new parents and the pressure may be too much to handle.

At least that’s what researchers from Ohio State University have found.

A team from OSU looked at 182 couples who became parents between 2008 and 2010, and found that “mothers had less confidence in their parenting abilities and fathers felt more stress when they were more worried about what others thought of their parenting skills,” according to a HealthDay release on the study.

And according to the researchers from Michigan State University, if you’re a working mother trying to be a supermom, you’re feeling even more pressure and stress than your working male counterpart.

According to a study published in the American Sociological Review by Michigan State University, “Working mothers spend 9 more hours a week multitasking than do working fathers, or about 48 hours per week for moms compared with 39 for dads.”

This multitasking stresses women out more so than men, and can really take its toll on mothers.

"The bar for being a good parent, the normative values of being a good mother, have gotten very high, and that leave mothers feeling a lot of pressure and stress," said study co-author Barbara Schneider, a professor of sociology and education at Michigan State University.

And when you couple the stress of juggling a career and children with the unattainable ideal of being a perfect parent, that’s a lot of weight weighing women down.

"Trying to be the perfect parent is a mixed bag ... If you think you have to be perfect because of outside pressure, it really hurts adjustment.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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