In Sheryl Sanberg’s book ‘Lean In’ she compares figures for the average number of hours employed mums and home mums spend on primary childcare, versus 1975.
My reason for sharing these figures is not to make anyone feel guilty but to highlight the change in expectations
In 1975 an employed mum spent 6 hours a week in child nurturing behaviours, which means; reading, focused playing, helping with homework and having conversations. Whereas a mum at home, such as my mum, spent 11 hours on these activities per week.
In our current society, an average mum at home will spend 17 hours child nurturing per week and an employed mum 11 hours.
So mums that go out to work currently spend as much time doing things with their children as my mum, who didn’t go out to work, did with me in 1975. I think that’s really surprising.
What does this have to do with confidence?
Well, it’s the expectations we put on ourselves that can hold us back from being confident.
In 1975 my mum was always available to me, but she wasn’t constantly next to me, checking homework or giving me her attention. My brothers and I were left to entertain and develop ourselves
You can see from this that our expectations on how much ‘quality’ time we should be spending with our children have gone up 150% in the last 40 years. Psychologists call this intensive mothering/fathering and it’s driven by societies pressure that we should have it all.
If you find this surprising too, then it’s helpful to ask yourself some questions.
Are your expectations of yourself as an employed or home mum too much? You can also apply this to other areas of your life such as; working hours, socialising or money
Can you drop some of the burdens of guilt that these expectations cause? Instead you could feel positive about what you’re actually achieving?
Because our children will be fine, I seem to have turned out okay???
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