They say it takes a village to raise a child, but these days, that village can often feel out of reach, making parenting feel lonely at times. This is when, despite loving your child, you sometimes feel more tearful, overwhelmed and question your decisions on your new parenting journey.
Parents can put undue pressure on themselves by setting themselves high child-rearing standards. 1 They can also feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to raise an emotionally and healthy well-rounded person that will manage economically in a competitive world. 1 Asking for much – needed help is not always easy to do. This, coupled with the social isolation resulting from not being able to socialise due to childcare responsibilities, can lead to a sense of loneliness. 1,2
The Pandemic Adds to the Isolation
Being a parent, never an easy task, has become even more complicated during the pandemic which has added to the isolation parents can feel. When COVID-19 arrived, we were forced to retreat from the communities that help us raise our children. Play dates and child focussed activities or visiting playgrounds were unavailable. Many parents had to work remotely while also caring for their children. 3
A Modern Connection
We are fortunate to live in a digital era with access to a world of parenting expertise. With one click we can source more parenting advice than ever before about all aspects of raising a child including their emotional, cognitive, physical and social development. The digital era has brought us closer to expert opinions as well as blogs detailing the experiences of other parents. While this connection has a lot to offer, parents are saturated with information, often unable to differentiate between myths and facts. Parents often turn to family and friends for advice, 4 and may do well to reach out for advice as well as share their childrearing experiences online.
The stress of being a 24-hour-a-day single parent is real. In South Africa, approximately 40 % of mothers are single parents and 60 % of South African children are raised with an absent father.5 Parenting under these circumstances demands time, financial and emotional investments, often while juggling work and household responsibilities alone.6 Single parents carry the full load when it comes to raising children, while providing for their family.7
Parenting has Intensified
The modern parenting style is intense because now more than ever parents will mow down obstacles so that their children have every possible advantage to succeed in life or at least won’t have to endure adversity. The focus of this parenting style is to develop a child’s skills to maximise their developmental and educational outcomes. Overall, the intensiveness of parenting these days is more stressful than in previous generations.8 In fact, mothers in the 2000s are feeling more exhausted than mothers in the 1970s, despite better health and living conditions. 6
Children have access to the digital world too, providing a wonderful resource of information and entertainment. Although smart phones, tablets and TV are highly effective ways for a parent to keep children and toddlers busy and entertained so they can “get things done”, it is natural for parents to worry about the negative effects that too much screen time may have on their child’s health.9 Managing screen time is probably one of the biggest struggles facing parents today. It’s hard to know what’s right, how much is too much, and how to live with kids in this ever tech-obsessed world. You know your child best, so use your best judgement with regards to limiting screen time little by little over time, yet knowing it’s your back-up when you really need time.
Turn Parenting Back into One of Life’s Greatest Joys
We at Nestlé Baby & Me understand how overwhelming and lonely parenting can be at times. That is why we, as your parenting partner, are simplifying it for you. We’ve created a space you can turn to for real insights and facts so that you can feel at peace with your parenting choices and enjoy your family. Register with https://www.babyandme.nestle.co.za/mpi-landing-page today for a 24/7 parenting partner. Access expert articles, interactive tools and much more.
- Hubert S, Aujoulat I. Parental burnout: When exhausted mothers open up. Front Psychol 2018;9(JUN):1–9.
- Coram Family and Childcare. Loneliness among parents of young children [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Feb 8]. Available from: URL: https://www.familyandchildcaretrust.org/lonelinessbriefing%0D
- Cluver L, Lachman J, Sherr L, Wessels I, Krug E, Rakotomalala S, et al. Parenting in a time of COVID-19. Lancet 2020;(April):395.
- Gadsden VL, Ford M, Breiner H, editors. Parenting matters: Supporting parents of children ages 0-8. Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8. Washington DC: National Academies Press (US); 2016. 1–506 p.
- Human Sciences Research Council. Financial advice for single mothers [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2021 Jun 24]. Available from: URL: http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/hsrc-in-the-news/general/financial-advice-single-mothers
- Nomaguchi K, Milkie MA. Parenthood and Well-Being: A Decade in Review. J Marriage Fam 2020;82(1):198–223.
- Meier A, Musick K, Flood S, Dunifon R. Mothering Experiences: How Single-Parenthood and Employment Shift the Valence. Demography 2016;53(3):649–74.
- The Centre for Parenting Education. Why is it so hard to parent today? The big picture of parental responsibility. [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2021 Jun 24]. Available from: URL: https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/focus-parents/hard-parent-today-big-picture-parental-responsibility/
- NCBI Bookshelf. Parenting Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices. In: Breiner H, Ford M, Gadsden V, editors. Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8 [online] Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2016. p. 1–45. Available from: URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK402020/