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Our Definition of “Good Mothering” is Bad For Mental Health

Our Definition of “Good Mothering” is Bad For Mental Health

Families are central to Mormonism, and creating eternal families through making and keeping covenants with the Savior is at the core of our work here on earth. However, it seems that primarily mothers, are talked about as the heart, or the center, of the families. Preparing to be a “good mother” is emphasized in Primary, Young Women’s, and continues as a central thread woven throughout Relief Society lessons and discussions.

When we speak of “good mothers” in church, we often hear stories of mothers’ great sacrifices (like a pioneer women burying a child along the trail West), frequent heartache and long-suffering (Elder Holland’s talk ‘Behold Thy Mother’), and the great joys, blessings, and the eternal significance of mothers. These themes echo family research that highlights a paradox of parenting — it is considered to be one of the most rewarding aspects of life while simultaneously being associated with increased stress, dissatisfaction, and even depression.

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Is Intense Mothering Stressing You Out?: Studio 5

Well-meaning moms, trying to do too much, may be at risk for anxiety and depression. Therapist, Julie Hanks, says intense, overly involved parenting can backfire. She has tips to help moms lighten up and live happy.

 

There is a paradox when it comes to parenting. Parenting is considered one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in life, yet it is also linked with increased stress, unhappiness, and depression. A recent study published in The Journal of Child and Family Studies suggests that it is the level of intensity with which you parent, not simply being a parent that leads to more stress, less life satisfaction, and more depression. In this study, 5 “intense mothering beliefs” were identified and correlated with unhappiness for moms with young children. Ironically, many of these intense beliefs are how we currently define “good mothering.” This research suggests that moderation in parenting is needed, even when it comes to being a mom.

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