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Between children and work: how to be a good mother and not forget about yourself

Society increasingly demands from a modern woman to be at the same time a caring mother, a qualified employee or a successful businesswoman and, at the same time, an ideal woman. The coronavirus pandemic has further complicated this task. The incidence rate is still not declining, which entails another transfer of children to distance learning in a number of schools. This increases the already high burden on parents trying to combine maternal and paternal responsibilities with work.

Photo: Shutterstock

ForumDaily talked with a well-known Russian and American psychologist about how in these difficult conditions to carve out time for your own life and not sacrifice it to a child, how healthy child care is manifested and what qualities Russian mothers should learn from American women Olga Podolskaya.

Under the pressure of society and instincts

«Several factors weigh on the mother. First, it is an animal instinct, according to which we are programmed to have large offspring. Accordingly, the resource of care biologically inherent in us is sufficient, relatively speaking, to take care of a dozen children. In reality, our care is often poured out on one child, and therefore often turns out to be hypertrophied. On the other hand, society and its demands are pressing on us. If in the XNUMXth century a child could be given "to the people", where he, like Vanka Zhukov, was "brought up" by slapping a herring in the face, and this was considered commonplace, it is obvious that today the requirements for parenting are completely different", - the psychologist explains.

Modern society really requires parents not only to provide their children financially, but also to give them a good education, to ensure all-round development, to be attentive to the feelings and needs of the child, and so on.

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«Often, mothers, in order to provide all this, literally put themselves on the altar of the child, which ultimately harms him, since it brings up an egoist. Balance is very important here: on the one hand, you need to take care of the child, but on the other hand, he must receive a healthy dose of frustration, thanks to which the child could learn to develop and fulfill some of his needs on his own.", Explains Olga Podolskaya.

Remember to take care of yourself

According to Olga, the main way that allows you not to fall into excessive care and give yourself and the child personal space is the mother's ability to take care of herself.

«If a mother allows herself to take a walk in nature alone or to meet friends without a child, he receives that natural dose of frustration that helps to gain independence. At the same time, the best criterion for understanding whether this dose is sufficient is the well-being of the mother, not the child. A tired parent will not be able to give the child genuine care, so the mother must find an opportunity to get enough sleep, even if the child does not sleep at night, in a word, take care of herself in such a way as to be able to take care of the child", - says the psychologist.

Olga emphasizes: in this case, we are not talking about asocial parents who openly neglect their duties or, for example, abuse alcohol.

«This behavior cannot be called not only caring for the child, but also normal self-care, in which case the intervention of social workers is necessary. We're talking about adequate parents who just have to give themselves the opportunity to recover.", - the expert explains.

Olga Podolskaya recalls: irritation because of the child, anger, increased guilt if he cries, and other similar signs indicate that you are tired. It may also indicate that the mother's focus was too biased towards the baby. The best thing a mother can do in such a case is to rest.

Parenting in a pandemic

Olga admits that the pandemic harms children by depriving them of the opportunity to interact with both their peers and the teacher, and by depriving parents of the opportunity to take a break from their children. However, she is confident that even in such circumstances, resources can be found to maintain a balance.

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«It is not so harmful for a child to watch cartoons for an extra half hour, as to be at this time next to an irritated mother, who takes her anger out on him. Of course, if a mother is ready to deal with the child all the time, read books with him, sculpt from plasticine, etc., then this is great. But if she does not have enough strength for this, you can find specialized programs and activities with children in a playful form, which are conducted through Zoom", - the psychologist advises.

Olga notes that in the Bay area periodically games are held and outdoor activities with children.

«But even virtual games through Zoom are more useful than just cartoons, because in them children are involved in some kind of interaction and receive feedback. If you manage to bring at least two or more kids together, they will have a great time on their own. Yes, be prepared for the fact that children can destroy the house, but this is a natural part of their time together.", - says Olga Podolskaya.

What you can learn from American moms

Observing Russian and American mothers, Olga believes that American women have qualities that could be adopted by immigrants.

«For example, I like that the level of guilt of an American mother in front of her child is significantly lower than in Russia. Paradoxically, this is what helps her pay more attention to the feelings and needs of the child without replacing them with her own. For example, if a Russian mother considers herself to be guilty every time her child cries, she has a subconscious desire to do everything possible so that he stops crying, that is, it ceases to be a living reproach of conscience for her. In this case, the mother can yell at the child, demand or persuade him not to cry, instead of asking what exactly is bothering him, and show natural sympathy.", - the psychologist explains.

At the same time, according to Olga Podolskaya, American women do not tend to put a child in the first place.

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«We often encounter extremes, when parents either allow the child anything, or, on the contrary, do not allow him to show his feelings. American mothers allow their children to feel and acknowledge their feelings, but, if necessary, make it clear that they will not be guided by the child's wishes in all their actions. Moreover, when our parents try to put the child first, as a result, they often replace his real needs with their unfulfilled expectations.", - the psychologist warns.

Olga emphasizes that the most important interest of a child is to get a solid support in life.

«That is why, when parents put their child in the first place, they deprive him of support in their face, which certainly harms him.", - she is sure.

As a kind of test for the ability to "let go" of children, Olga offers a rather extreme game "Practices of Dying" - experiencing losses and losses in a playful form through the imagination of one's own death.

«If at this moment you are mentally capable, no matter how hard it may be, to say goodbye to your own children, this suggests that the balance between you and the child in your life is normal. Another thing is that such practices are rather difficult to carry out alone. This is best done during special trainings or even during personal therapy.", - the specialist advises.

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