How Parenting Today is Different and Harder

How Parenting Today is Different and Harder

There is nothing I cherish more than being a mom. But parenting four kids hasn’t come without challenges, especially in today’s world. Things are vastly different now than they were even a decade ago. 

Unsurprisingly, parenting methods have also changed. Many parents will tell you that parenting today is a lot harder than it was for previous generations. According to Pew Research Center, 62% of parents say being a parent has been at least somewhat harder than they expected, with 26% saying it’s been a lot harder. This realization is what inspired today’s post.

How has parenting changed? Why is parenting harder today than it used to be? If you feel like you’re struggling, mama–you’re not alone. Let’s discuss! 

mother and her children posing on a slide

How Parenting Today is Different and Harder

Higher Expectations

It’s no secret that as parents, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We feel pressure not only to meet their own expectations, but the expectations of family members, friends, and even complete strangers. Unsurprisingly, this can take a major toll on your mental health.

Being a parent is harder in today’s world thanks to the often unrealistic standards that surround us. The term “helicopter parents” is thrown around to describe parents who are seemingly over-involved in every aspect of their child’s life. But is it any wonder why so many use this parenting approach, given that we feel extra pressure to have better parenting skills and to keep our kids safe from one risk after another? 

Parents in generations past undoubtedly felt similar pressure to protect their kids, but together with the other factors that make parenting harder today, there’s simply no comparison.

Conflicting Information

Thanks to the internet, we have a wealth of knowledge right at our fingertips. And while this can definitely come in handy for a modern parent by making things easier, and even potentially saving lives, it does have its drawbacks. 

In addition to being overwhelming, this instant access to hoards of information can cause a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. For example, it’s easy to Google your child’s symptoms when they’re feeling sick, but when it comes to finding a safe and effective remedy, the results can be contradictory. 

In previous generations, if one needed advice, they would usually turn to a family member, friend, or doctor. Although the answers might not have been immediate, the method and source of information likely caused a lot less stress and confusion.

How Parenting Today is Different and Harder

Busier Schedules

If you feel like you have to multitask to get everything done, you’re not alone. Parents, in general, really are busier than they were in the past, and a lot of it has to do with trying to balance a career and parenthood.

A 2012 study out of the University of California found that parents spend twice as much time each day playing with their kids than they did in the 1960s. Yet there are also more working mothers today than there were in the 60s. In 1960, a mere 11% of women were the main income providers for their household. In 2012, that number increased to 40%.

When you take these two statistics into account, it becomes pretty obvious: we’re trying to do significantly more with a lot less time to do it. Yet we continue to ask “Why is being a mom so hard?” No wonder!

Social Media Challenges

As if parenting isn’t hard enough on its own, for many, social media makes raising their children a lot harder. Not only because of the constant comparison to others that increases the pressure we put on ourselves, but because of the fear it instills in us as our children begin using it themselves. 

Social media and the role it plays in our lives as parents, as well as our children’s lives, presents a whole new set of challenges that previous generations didn’t have to face. 

Higher Expenses

Practically everything is more expensive than it used to be, including raising kids. Compared to just a single generation ago, moms and dads today spend about a third more on education for their kids, child care, and children’s goods. 

Financial concerns are big for our generation, especially among parents. Our own anxiety over the state of the economy has naturally changed our hope for our children’s futures. Most parents (nine out of ten) now say that their top priority for their children in adulthood is to gain financial independence and to have careers that they enjoy. These likely weren’t the same concerns our own mom and dad had for us.

The stress of trying to save money, much less trying to earn enough to cover every expense, is incredibly stressful, no matter whether you’re in a household with a stay-at-home parent, two working parents, or a single parent. 

mother and children travel

Parenting today is undeniably different and harder than it was in the past.

There is no doubt in my mind that parenting is different than it was even just a generation ago. And it’s these differences that make it significantly harder. 

However, despite the challenges, being a mom is an amazing gift. As parents, we’re given the opportunity to face these obstacles and raise good human beings despite them, and because of them. It’s not easy, but we’re doing it. So give yourself some credit!
For more insight into parenthood and my experience raising four kids, head over to the blog.

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