It’s not unnatural for mothers to try to be superhuman as they take care of their children but often neglect themselves. Working mothers are usually plagued with guilt for not having maintained a work-life balance. They assume blame for things they have or haven’t done as mothers. This guilt, when unresolved, can lead to a lack of purpose, physical and emotional illness.
Mothers know what they want to accomplish, but need the confidence, maturity, support, understanding, and self-acceptance to do it. There is great value in a support system that encourages, inspires, and cheers them up, letting them feel comfortable when sharing their worries, fears, and experiences. They want to hear about real-life experiences and trade-offs, words of wisdom that might help them anticipate the road ahead. That is exactly what these inspiring women share in their TED talks.
Here are a few noteworthy TED talks that share brilliant ideas with millions of mothers worldwide.
“Can We All Have It All?” By Anne Marie Slaughter
“Can you balance your career and family now that you have a child?” is the most daunting question a young working mother hears often. Women are always fearing that they will not be able to juggle work with motherhood successfully.
Anne Marie Slaughter, a notable American lawyer, policy analyst, and political scientist shares her thoughts on the importance of gender equality for human survival. Women could “have it all,” she says, meaning they could have careers and families in the same way and at the same levels that men do – if all workplaces had flexible and practical environments. She shares tips on dividing bread-winning and caregiving responsibilities among the family by treating both partners as equals. She emphasizes on the need for cultural changes for men to re-socialize and support women’s life-changing decisions in the family and the impact it will have on reshaping gender roles.
“The Cost of Idealizing Motherhood” by Julie De Azevedo
Most moms struggle with conflicting desires or demands on occasion. They may have decided to be a working mom vs. being a stay-at-home mom, but they may experience a nagging feeling of not having lived up to expectations unrealistic as they may be. They worry that they are not doing enough for their children, spouse, family, or themselves and start to question their own decisions.
In this TED talk, Dr. Julie De Azevedo, a licensed clinical social worker, and psychotherapist, stresses that motherhood can be valued wholly without idealizing it. She speaks of her own struggles to identify her strengths and achieve her goals after childbirth. This is an excellent real-life experience narrative for all mothers struggling between society’s unrealistic expectations and their own desires and aspirations.
“Parenting through Postpartum Depression” by Camille Mehta
Thanks to patriarchy, women add to their own struggles by setting unrealistic standards for themselves and it is no different as they transition into motherhood. Their compulsion to be perfect mothers and the expectation to justify devoting time to the unpaid work of motherhood drive them into anxiety and depression. They are in constant search of support to emerge from their depression and lead a happy life.
Camille Mehta, an artist and a mental health advocate explains how depression is often overlooked in a mother’s life. It is a fantastic TED talk stressing upon how you are not alone. She suggests to new mothers how timely medical intervention, emotional support from the spouse, and reaching out to community groups can facilitate complete recovery from depression.
“Why Moms Are Miserable” by Sheryl Ziegler
This TED talk by Sheryl Ziegler is for every mom overwhelmed with motherhood. It focuses on their need for solid friendships, a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on that reminds them that they are not alone in the motherhood journey.
Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, an author, and a motivational speaker talks about what mothers need to get rid of loneliness in their lives. She addresses the health hazards of social isolation and why moms need female friends in real life for support. So, don’t hold back and be overwhelmed. When you are guilty of always giving, stop to receive enrichment, encouragement, and accountability from your friends.
“Judgment on Mothers” by Maara Fink
Every mother thinks the other one to be wrong if she does her parenting differently. Mothers judge each other. It doesn’t come from a hard place, it gives them the satisfaction of doing a great job as a mother and makes them feel valuable and vital in their own set up.
Maara Fink, a clinical professor of law, lists some ways that moms are judged and statistics for the same - for breast versus bottle feed, sleep habits, working mom vs. SAHM, diet and nutrition, technology, or kids’ behaviour. She adds that moms judge each other because of their insecurities. This talk is a gentle reminder to stop judging as it is a damaging habit affecting self-esteem and strength as mothers.
The supremely unrealistic expectations set by society also don’t help the cause. It is no wonder that many mothers blame themselves when they cannot perform up to the standards set. Mothers need to get off that guilt train. Having a baby should be a joyful experience.
We all need to realize that every woman is unique in her own way, and her parenting choices must be respected. Mothers should seek professional help and connect with community/peer groups for non-judgmental support. It is best to let out the negative feelings and heal from within. Let’s start to accept and appreciate mothers as they are and offer a kind word whenever we can.
(Edited by Neha Baid)