Psychologist Explains Why Motherhood Is So Much Harder Today

You're not imagining it, and you're not a failure.

mother surrounded by children while trying to work looking stressed Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock

Listen, motherhood has always had its high-ups and draining downs. But in modern-day culture, being a mother seems to be getting harder. For the moms who feel overwhelmed, this challenge feels isolating. They can't help but wonder what they're doing wrong. Women have been doing this for centuries, so why does it feel hard for me? they wonder. 

No breaks and barely any time to yourself? Check. High expectations and little room for failure? Double-triple-check. Isolation? Loneliness? Check check check!


And while we can sit here debating why motherhood is the way it is, we all just want to know the clean-cut true reason why motherhood is harder now than it was back in the day. 

On the podcast Open Relationships: Transforming Together, host Andrea Miller learned something powerful from psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who said something that blew Miller and her co-host, Joanna Schroeder (both of whom are also moms), away. 


Why Motherhood Is So Much Harder Today

We've all been sold a lie: that if we didn't reproduce within the confines of a nuclear family, our children were destined to fail in life, that without a father, your children had zero chances of growing into healthy or happy individuals. And listen, there is no denying that fathers impact our child's development.

According to the Institute For Research On Poverty, "Positive father involvement is associated with children’s higher academic achievement; greater school readiness; stronger math and verbal skills; greater emotional security; higher self-esteem; fewer behavioral problems; and greater social competence than found among children who do not have caring, involved fathers."

However, this nuclear family dynamic isn't always possible in the age of higher divorce rates and diverse family structures. And understandably, this can cause a lot of single mothers to feel distressed and incompetent as parents. 

Likely you've thought to yourself, "Did I fail as a mother? Did I deprive myself of the "normal" motherhood experience? Was it always supposed to be this hard?"

@yourtango Why are we making our problems our kids’ problems? Parenting expert @Dr. Shefali ✨ Conscious Parent does a live coaching session with @Andrea Miller on the new episode of our ‘Open Relationships’ podcast, available now #podcast #parenting #momsoftiktok ♬ original sound - YourTango

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But understand this: there is nothing wrong with being raised in a single-parent household. According to the National Library of Medicine, many children from single-parent households grow into well-functioning adults. 

But, the issue with parenting in a single-parent household often stems from other related factors. The National Library of Medicine writes, "However, it is understandable that the demands and stresses of single parenthood can have a negative influence on parenting, and subsequent youth psychosocial well-being, in some single-mother families."


Yet, what can we even do about the this? I mean, we can't just magically take away the stress that comes with motherhood, right? \

The problem isn't single moms — it's what we do to moms regardless of whether they're partnered

As Dr. Shefali says, "Here's the real kicker. We are not supposed to be doing it in nuclear families. We're supposed to be doing it with the drive of 50 other women, older women who tell us, chill out, relax. And we're number one. We're supposed to be doing it with older women. Who are your sisters and your mothers and all helping you."

Yes, we are supposed to depend on other women to help raise our children. In a community setting, we are supposed to care for one another and lift each other up. To tell each other to relax and that we got things. 

And raising children in a community setting can have a huge impact. As Exchange Family Center points out, "Some of the bigger benefits are help with childcare, having a safe and non-judgemental space to share your struggles, and providing your children with a rich and diverse social network."


But that's not all. Communities can also provide parents with resources and strategies to help raise their children.  So, the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child," isn't completely untrue. 

However, this isn't the only reason why motherhood is so hard. Another reason has to do with how we've complicated everything. 

After all, it's no wonder why we're so stressed when we've been given too many options. 

From baby formula, and parenting styles, all the way to the best learning material to use — parenting has become a bit too complicated. So, here's what we should do: pick two options and let everything else go. Say, "We are either doing this or that." 

@doctorshefali Here's a hard truth: If you're a parent, you're going to mess up sometimes. It's normal to feel hopeless or like a failure, especially when your kids are still at home. But don't let past mistakes consume you with guilt and regret. 🌟✨You did the best you could with the awareness you had at the time. The key to conscious parenting is to live in the present. Start fresh, make better choices, and heal old wounds. Seek support—whether through coaching, talking with friends, journaling, or taking a course.Let go of the past and the anxiety over the future. The power lies in the here and now. Seize it, embrace it, and use it to elevate your parenting and yourself. 🙌👇 How do you focus on the present as a parent? Share your strategies below!#ConsciousParenting #InTheMoment #ParentingJourney #DrShefali #fy #fypage #fypシ゚viral #foryoupage❤️❤️ #foryoupage #foryou ♬ original sound- Dr. Shefali ✨ Conscious Parent

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We are supposed to be raising children in a simpler world

She continues, "Where you just the child has only like to two options, you know, play with sticks or play with the rubber, you know, that's it. You know, balls. Yeah. That's it. There are only two options. Like we, we had when we were growing up."

But once again, we've made parenting — and by extension, motherhood — too complicated. So, if we want to make motherhood easier we need to start by removing the things that complicate it in the first place.


No more stressing and browsing through hundreds of different baby formulas or diapers. Keep it simple and have two choices. Have two choices of baby formula or two choices of diapers and keep it moving. 

We are supposed to raise kids in community 

Next, mothers should begin seeking a community to help raise their children. 

Remember, we aren't meant to raise children alone. And the reality is, that raising happy and healthy children doesn't only belong to the nuclear family. 


Yes, what makes or breaks whether your child is happy starts with the love, support, and community you provide for them at home. 

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics