Monday 21 May 2012

One in ten British parents report pressure to be perfect makes them feel ‘depressed’ on a daily basis

I read this article with great interest when it landed in my inbox. I've always hated the expression "yummy mummies" because it makes the rest of us normal mums, who don't have time to spend hours shopping for new outfits or putting on immaculate make-up in front of the mirror before heading off on the school run, feel inferior or "slummy". No two kids are the same, no two parents are the same and there is no perfect way of parenting, otherwise everyone would have adopted it years ago ! The idea behind Yano - "to encourage fresh thinking on parenting whilst providing thought-provoking content on an array of family issues and day-to-day parenting dilemmas" - sounds like it could be an interesting place to while away a spare minute or two of me-time. The idea of "proholistic parenting" – giving you the chance to combine professionals' viewpoints with your own intuition and experience - sound like the perfect balance.


·         One in ten British parents report pressure to be perfect makes them feel ‘depressed’ on a daily basis
Research released today, 21st May by new parenting website, reveals more than six out of 10 mums and dads say the ‘pressure to be perfect’ has made them feel low or even depressed, with one in ten experiencing these feelings on a daily basis. The survey has lifted the lid on life for British parents, revealing that concerns about ‘the right way to parent’ are a huge burden on a majority of families in Britain today.
Rivalry and comparison add to the situation, with more than two-thirds of parents saying they compare their parenting style to others’.  And despite relying on friends and family for advice, a quarter of parents say friends and family add to their parenting worries and rows, by making them feel they are doing a bad job.
Dr. Penelope Leach, Psychologist and parenting expert comments: “The roles we women are expected to fill – mother, partner, worker, daughter, sister – are an overload for almost everyone. One mum told me her life was like being on a tightrope: gloriously exciting when all went well and completely disastrous if the least thing went wrong. A child being ill or a childminder taking a day off was enough to bring her whole life crashing down.”
Parenting expert Liz Fraser says, ‘The competitive parenting thing is so destructive. It’s strange that a subject that should be so bonding and human and one for which the sisterhood should really pull together, can be so hurtful too. I have wonderful mum friends who I go to, to talk about parenting. You need good friends who can laugh and say “this is a bit of a nightmare isn’t it?” If someone is pushy and competitive I say you don’t need them in your life.’
Whilst mothers perhaps unsurprisingly tend to worry the most, fathers were not far behind with 50% admitting to feeling low or depressed about not being ‘the perfect parent’.  Worry about the issue was greatest in the South West (70%) but lowest in Scotland (20%).  However, despite this, it is the Scots who are the most likely to compare their parenting styles to others (over 75%). 
46% of parents admit to buying their children gifts such as toys and clothes to make themselves feel that they are doing a good job.  A further 38% say they pay for expensive activities or extra tuition or sports coaching in their quest to be the ‘perfect’ parent.
Ann-Marie McKimm, co-founder of Yano comments: “Our site sets out to give modern parents fresh thinking on parenting that allows and encourages them to make up their own minds about what’s best – and hopefully trust their own judgement, rather than worrying they’re doing it wrong.” 
Liz Fraser will be working with Yano to give parents a guide to the most important aspects of parenting – and hopefully help allay their fears that they have to be perfect at everything.
Yano encourages fresh thinking on parenting, incorporating enlightening food for thought; informative discussions; regular news stories; a digest of interesting parenting stories from across the globe; Q and A discussion panels and advice and comment from leading experts in their chosen fields.
Visit Yano for further information and a full article on ‘Parenting Perfection’ and when good is good enough.

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  1. I really relate to this. I wouldn't say that the quest to be a "perfect" parent has made me depressed but certainly I feel a lot of pressure to live up to expectations set out in the media. I wouldn't say it's friends or other parents, for me at least, who make me feel this way - but more "parenting experts" who bombard us with what we should be doing for our children, what is best for them etc. A lot of them have great tips and advice but sometimes it's very difficult to put them into practise especially when you're trying to do so much.

    I've now stopped my quest of parenting perfection, the result is less stress and more fun (for me and my little boy). I'm not saying I don't try to do my best but I've accepted that there's no such thing as "perfect" especially when it comes to parenting. Each and every child is different so a lot of advice given won't and can't apply to all.

  2. I could really relate to this article too and agree that it is the media more than other parents who are to blame. It doesn't help when us 'normal' mums are compared to celeb mums, how can the two possibly be compared when our lives are so different. It starts with the pressure to shrink back into pre-pregnancy clothes before you've even got home with your new baby and never really stops. There is so much conflicting information around about every aspect of parenting that even if you were previously a confident parent you start to question yourself. I shall check this website out and see if I feel any more normal!

  3. I will definitely recommend Yano to my two eldest daughters. They have both given birth in the last few months, and feel enormous pressure to live up to the Victoria Beckham's of this world.
    Im not sure if the pressure to be a perfect parent is any more than it was when I had my youngest 6 years ago, but with the growth of the internet - young parent chat groups, parenting sites etc, my girls are constantly bombarded by the 'ideal' and I know it makes them question their instincts and feel inadequate.

  4. i agree, there's so much pressure to do things a certain way and i'm learning to shrug it all off and go my won way, but it's hard.


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