Visual images of motherhood, other sources of stress weigh on modern moms

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — This Mother’s Day week, KTTC is taking a moment to recognize moms and moms-to-be, as well as the stresses they’re facing in 2019.

NewsCenter’s Caitlin Alexander spoke with mothers and medical experts about some of the stresses moms of school-aged children are experiencing.

“It’s a beautiful learning curve. Everyday is a learning curve,” said mom Tori Tecken.

She is home full-time with a six, three, and one-year-old. She also runs two small, part-time businesses and homeschools.

Even though she’s constantly busy, like so many modern moms, she’s not too busy to feel the stress of measuring up.

“I think we’re at home with our kids, and we’re constantly barraged by this, you know, white counter top with the little, you know! And just, wow, that mom really has it together. When in fact, you don’t have any idea what’s going on behind the scenes,” said Tecken.

Dr. Magdalena Romanowicz is a Mayo Clinic child psychiatrist at the Generose Building.

“Social media does this to you where it’s exacerbated,” she explained.

Dr. Romanowicz said a colleague often calls this modern day the best of times and the worst of times. She thinks there’s a lot of truth to that idea.

She said she hears from parents all the time who worry they aren’t doing a good enough job.

That sentiment is not exclusive to moms in 2019, but experts say the visual images of motherhood everywhere online really have moms under the microscope.

“Harder to feel successful,” said Dr. Margaret Dow in Mayo Clinic’s OBGYN Department. “You can be good at everything but not all at once. You cannot be the master of your universe in every single realm all of the time, and the pressure is on now to do that.”

For example, some parents can feel inferior when they see images of parents who innately know how to play and connect with their kids.

“There is no sort of one size that fits all. So, what I usually do is ask parents to come up with things that they all enjoy,” Dr. Romanowicz said.

She told the NewsCenter that when it comes to spending time with one’s kids, it is quality over quantity.

There is data that backs up the need for moms to give themselves a break.

The University of Manchester, along with the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, published research earlier this year that found, “Biomarkers for chronic stress are 40 percent higher in women bringing up two children while working full-time.”

Screen time is another source of stress for modern moms.

Tecken’s children are still too young to be online, but she admits, it’s sometimes hard to not feel the pull of her own screen use.

“Because it’s one of those things where it’s kind of an escapism for us moms. We like to feel like we belong to the outside world,” she said.

Tecken said it was the need to give herself a break that led her to write a book to help busy moms get away for a minutes here and there and connect with God.

There is a piece in her book that questions images of “the perfect mother.”

“There is a temptation to ignore God’s greatest gift, grace,” it reads.

Tecken embraces a moment of peace with her devotion book.

It’s that grace, and of course, her sweet children that keep Tecken going.

She wants to help other moms do the same.

“I think it’s important just to try to encourage each other and lift each other up, and not get so caught
up in the image of motherhood, but more rely on the impact of motherhood,” Tecken said.

You may learn more about Tecken’s devotion book here.

KTTC is preparing to thank moms and moms-to-be with a special promotion. Stay tuned to KTTC for details.

Caitlin Alexander

Caitlin Alexander

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