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Realistic expectations for parenting

Realistic expectations for parenting


Mother's expectations

Father's expectations

Many parents will approach the arrival of their new baby with certain expectations about how they will be as a mother or father. These expectations may end up being the reality, however, all too often we hold unrealistic expectations about how our lives and relationships will be 'after baby'. Most people want to be 'good parents', however, the many attitudes and myths of our modern society mean that how we 'measure ourselves up' when comparing ourselves to others, is often unrealistic.

Myths and the attitudes of our society can set new parents up for disappointment, guilt and self-blame, especially if the parenting does not unfold as expected. Unfortunately, other parents rarely share EXACTLY how it is. For some reason we all want to put forward the facade that everything is 'OK' and 'I am coping beautifully, thank you very much.' This makes us as parents feel that everyone else is coping well, so why aren't we???

The following are some myths and realities that are often associated with early parenting for mothers and fathers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you may not identify with any of them. But for many new parents, struggling with these ideas, and similar unrealistic expectations, can play a major role in how they feel about their parenting.

Mother's expectations

Many women will feel intimidated, or overwhelmed, by their new responsibilities. Different emotions will surface at various times, however a common feeling experienced by many mothers is self-doubt. This is because women are often unaware about how 'normal' their experiences of mothering really are.

Some common myths that can perpetuate unrealistic expectations for the woman as a mother can include:

Myth:

New mothers are always happy. Motherhood is the ultimate in fulfilment for all women.

Reality:

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