The above link is to an article in the Telegraph, referring to a study involving 181 mothers of children under 5. It is worth noting that the methodology was an online questionnaire, and that it will have been a self-selecting population (ie those who agree to participate in such a study may reflect those with particularly strong views in one direction or other, so introducing bias).
Additionally, the questions were quite closed, and potentially emotive in nature. For example, 'Parenting is more difficult than working' - how would you answer that? There are days when I would say yes, there are others when I would strongly disagree. It depends on the day you have had at home, and perhaps the circumstances you may have faced whilst working outside the home. And how do you define 'difficult'? Difficult in what way? Mentally taxing? Physically exhausting? Socially isolating? I could criticise other questions in like manner.
I also wonder about some of views communicated more subtly - such as that women may consider the children 'sacred'. Such an extreme term suggests idolatry - that you are elevating your child to the position of a God. It would be no wonder that such parenting is destined to cause stress and constant feelings of failure! But other statements - such as a mother being willing to sacrifice elements of her own health and wellbeing for her children - isn't that part of what parenting is about? This current world seems to want to 'have it all', to have easy results without any real cost. Life is not like that. Having a family is certainly not like that! If people enter into parenthood expecting it to be constantly fulfulling, constantly rewarding, challenging but never really stressful, and not requiring some degree of personal sacrifice, then it does not surprise me that they find themselves weary, disillusioned and possibly slightly depressed after several years. Parenting IS a great challenge, and I wonder whether parents could sometimes simply benefit from others reassuring them that there are some days which are easier and more obviously rewarding than others, and that there will be times when it can simply be tough.
I'd love to know what other readers think about this!
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.