Research from parenting website BabyCentre has revealed that pressure on mums to be ‘perfect’ means that over half resort to lying about their parenting experiences rather than admit to other mums and dads that they don't do everything by the book.
BabyCentre spoke to 1,000 UK mums for its Secret Life of Mum survey, in order to debunk the myths about real-life parenting.
The findings showed that it's not just with other parents that mums feel the need to put a positive spin on things. One in three mums confessed to not being truthful when talking to their midwife or health visitor, and nearly three quarters of mums admitted to lying to their child to make their day easier.
Parenting is a tough job. We all struggle from time to time. I don't think mums should ever feel bad about admitting to cutting corners
The BabyCentre Secret Life of Mum survey holds a mirror up to hectic family life and reflects the shortcuts most parents take, but few want to talk about. Using the TV to keep kids quiet? Nine out of 10 mums do this. Replacing the bedtime story with a TV show? One third of mums say they’ve done this. Chocolate and sweets for their dinner? This happens in a fifth of families every once in a while.
Sasha Miller, International Managing Editor for BabyCentre, believes the huge pressure on mums prevents them from being truthful about the challenges of holding everything together. She says: “Parenting is a tough job. We all struggle from time to time. I don't think mums should ever feel bad about admitting to cutting corners.
“What I find really interesting is how mums tell us that they try to keep up appearances with parents they meet in the real world but online there is nothing they won't share. In our community on BabyCentre mums are always confessing to less-than-perfect mummy moments.
“And they find that when they do, they get a chorus of other mums saying: 'Oh yes, I've done that too!' You can be anonymous in the online world so it's easier to be honest and it makes you feel so much better to find out that you're not alone,” she said.
The BabyCentre Secret Life of Mum survey also found that two fifths of mums have felt dislike for their child. The same number of respondents said that they have compared one child unfavourably to another, and amongst working mums, three quarters admitted to feeling relieved to go back to work on a Monday morning.
The research also revealed that PM David Cameron is not the only parent to make mistakes as new parents also reported a range of ‘mummy mishaps’ – with one in three forgetting to strap their baby into their car seat. However, unlike the PM, only two per cent of mothers said that they had ever left their child behind when out and about.
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