It's hard being a mum!
There are so many pressures on mums. I’ve really only paid attention since I’ve been a stay at home dad. It’s not just pressures on mums at home but also working mums. It’s not to say that it’s easy being a dad either, but there are certain things we get a free pass with.
I’d really love this blog piece to be more of a discussion rather than just my opinion. Why? Well firstly because I’m not a female so I’d love to here their side. Secondly, I know I’ll miss things. But here’s what I’ve noticed so far…
Getting my pre-baby body back
“I’ve been under so much pressure to get back to how I looked before I had my baby” - No man ever.
I know this is a thorny issue. I see the articles of people posting their perfect post-baby body online 3 weeks after giving birth. I see the replies by mothers posting their less than perfect post-baby bodies online to give a more realistic expectation to mothers out there. To me it doesn’t matter what side of the debate your on, the “Look like a model after birth” side or the “Love your body how it is” side. My problem is that there is a debate at all! I’m not in perfect shape myself, but I’ve certainly felt no pressure at all from media, social media, friends or family to look how I did before my baby was born. And it’s just because I’m a man.
We all know breast is best, because it’s preached everywhere from TV, Plunket to the maternity ward. But for some, breastfeeding isn’t an option. I spoke to a friend recently who felt judged every time she went to a mums group because she was the only one bottle feeding. It was the looks she got from other mums as she’d pull a bottle out that made her feel bad.
I know the feeling because we didn’t breastfeed. We tried but it just didn’t work. In fact we ended back up in hospital for a week because our baby wasn’t getting enough milk. So we had to bottle feed. If I was out with my wife, we felt we always had to explain why we were bottle feeding. But if I was by myself, I got a free pass. No questions, because obviously I don’t have boobs. I still get no questions when I bottle feed the twins.
This comes from what I read in other Mum Blogs. It’s just the overall pressure felt by mums to be a good mum in general. I’m not sure dads ever feel the same level of pressure that mums do. I don’t know if it’s just expectations placed on mums by themselves or what. (I know for sure the pressure is worse as a first time mother.)
Am I feeding them the right foods?
Too much screen time?
Do they get enough exercise?
Do they have good friends?
Are they going to the right school?
Do they know they’re loved enough?
I know my own mum would have days she'd feel down and like she was a failure. But you just have to look at her three kids to know that's not true!
I’m not expert in depression, but I’m pretty sure that men aren’t as much at risk of getting depression after a baby as women are. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) Add depression to the above pressures and all of a sudden you’re really cooking!
So what are your thoughts? Do you think that men get way more of a free pass than women? Is it forced on us by the media, by society, by ourselves or all of the above? I don’t have the answers, but I’d love to hear your opinion! Comment below or on my Facebook page!