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    Opinion

    大乐透后区012路走势图:Meghan Markle Isn't the Only Mom Under Pressure to Be Perfect

    The “good mother” of the 21st century is essentially a slave, bound to her child every moment of every day, and cheerful about it.

    Meghan Markle Motherhood
    Getty Images

    Meghan Markle nearly broke down in tears during an interview with ITV News regarding the press’s often critical treatment of her. As the subject of a tremendous, abnormal amount of scrutiny, she remarked, “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, you know? And especially as a woman, it’s really, it’s a lot. So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom…”

    But Markle isn’t alone in being a new mother with an increasing amount of undue pressure placed upon her. And as the standards for being a “good mother” continue to rise, pretty much all new moms in 2019 are experiencing this.

    While mothers in the 1950’s were drinking and smoking through the entirety of their pregnancy and letting their kids stick their heads in plastic bags, today, forget giving up alcohol and cigarettes, pregnant ladies are told they can’t even consume moderate levels of caffeine. Don’t even think about having a cup of coffee unless you want everyone in line behind you at Starbucks to tell you that caffeine could harm your baby (despite most doctors agreeing that having one cup of coffee a day is fine).

    When you are pregnant, everyone suddenly becomes a well-intentioned stranger who believe they are a doctor, qualified to dispense unsolicited instructions. Women have countless stories along these lines, from being told they can’t do yoga to receiving concerned looks whenever they eat anything.

    Most people, are, of course, not doctors. And yet they seem to feel extremely entitled to ownership over women’s bodies. So much so that if a pregnant woman objects, chastising men will jump in to inform her she don’t care about her child.

    The pressure from outsiders doesn’t improve when women actually give birth. There’s absolutely no shortage of decisions a woman can make that will lead to criticism. Need to have a caesarean? You’re declared a bad mom. Choose not to breastfeed? Bad mom. Sleep training? Bad mom.

    Women have gained greater access to the world in the past 50 years, thank goodness. We can have a credit card, and dimly hope not to be sexually harassed at work. But that hasn’t lessened their load at home. Indeed, a trade off seems to be that, as society has become more comfortable with women having jobs, they’ve raised that standards for “good” motherhood to unreachable heights. Working mothers today spend just as much time on childcare today as non-working mothers did in the 1970’s.

    And they do so with abnormally little respite. One of the stranger aspects of the horror series IT is not the killer clown, but the fact that the kids are all sent off to play outside, alone. The one mother who hesitates to let her pre-teen child run through the woods is seen as punishingly overprotective. In 2019, if you try sending your children out, to play, alone, there is a solid chance you’ll be arrested for negligence. If you leave your child in a car while you run into a supermarket to grab groceries (I remember my very good mother leaving me in the car with a book while she picked up groceries or dry cleaning pretty much 100 percent of the time) people can and will call the cops. Today, Calvin and Hobbes would not be wandering through those charming woods unless it was followed up with a strip about the police coming to their house.

    But if you agree that children need constant adult supervision and accordingly hire childcare, well, that too will make you seen as a bad mother. The villain of the Nanny Diaries is a mom who enjoys doing adult things more than being with her child at all times, and, accordingly, hires a nanny. Ultimately, she (spoiler) gets told she is a terrible mother by the nanny, and redeems herself by abandoning childcare.

    This also rings true outside of fiction. A woman with two children and a full time nanny noted in the Daily News: “I could never have imagined the deep-seated resentment [hiring a nanny] would engender against me. I have been called a 'lazy cow,' a 'bad mother' and cold-shouldered in parenting circles, where I am seen as a cheat and an outsider.”

    There are doubtless some mothers who want to be with their child every instant. There are other mothers who would like a martini.

    If you’re shamed out of hiring a nanny, that results in bearing the brunt of childcare almost totally alone for a great number of women. The recent book Fair Play details how women are incapable of having lunch because they are each bombarded with texts from their husbands asking, for instance, if the children need to eat lunch. One husband declared, “Well, I guess we’re not going to the park because you”—he emphasized—“didn’t leave me any clothes [for our child].” His wife, of course, did leave them, neatly laid out. A Facebook commenter pointed out that if women want men to take care of their own children, women should be required to know how to change the oil in their cars. That commenter seemingly fails to realize that most women do know how to change oil, and can count the times they’ve demanded their husband come home from lunch with friends to fix said oil on zero hands.

    The “good mother” of the 21st century is essentially a slave, bound to her child every moment of every day, and cheerful about it. There are doubtless some mothers who want to be with their child, loving passing them a juice box every instant. There are other mothers who would like a martini.

    And those moms who would like to also be adults from time to time aren’t “bad moms,” even in the cheeky movie franchise way the term is used. They’re human. Somewhere along the line a “bad mom” stopped being Medea and started being “someone who feeds their kid non-organic food.”

    Rates of postpartum depression are skyrocketing in the U.S. A large part of that has to do with rapid hormonal changes, however, being sequestered 100 percent of the time with a non-verbal individual whom people continually tell you you’re failing at raising well enough doesn’t seem like it would do great things for women’s mental wellbeing, either. This isn’t even especially good for kids, as those with “helicopter parents” end up unhappier in the long run.

    Modern mothers are dealing with a society that has replaced empathy or support with almost constant criticism and one-upmanship. It’s not good for kids, and it’s certainly not good for moms.

    If you feel like offering criticism, you had better also be offering help; rather than lecturing pregnant women on their coffee consumption, offer to babysit for free for someone. Because if Meghan Markle, America’s incredibly composed Princess, is cracking under the strain, then God help the rest of us.

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