Why do the majority of women still suffer from it today?

Robert Collins
Robert Collins

Global Courant 2023-05-08 14:01:30

For decades, women have conquered new spaces in society. They are no longer relegated solely to domestic chores but, without ceasing to take care of household chores, they have become more professional. They even represent a majority in universities and work practically on a par with men. However, many of them cannot avoid the “bad mother syndrome”.

The problem opens another question: Why don’t men consider this discomfort? Don’t they have the same obligations and responsibilities? Can’t feel like “bad parents”?

According to the latest Time Use Survey published in 2022 by INDEC, men spend an average of 3.4 hours per day on household and care tasks; while women spend 6.3 hours, that is, almost three more hours.

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Perhaps that is why, faced with the multitasking dynamic, 9 out of 10 women feel like a “bad mother” at some point during their motherhood. This is revealed by a survey carried out on the Instagram account @mami.tasking, a community created by Victoria Pardo (33) and Johanna Gambardella (37), which already has more than 83,000 members.

What is the “bad mother syndrome”? It is a set of feelings, ideas and sensations associated with a negative self-concept as a mother. It implies the belief that he is not capable of meeting the needs of his children or fulfilling her responsibilities. Beta Suárez, the creator of the first Latino blog that relates motherhood in a disruptive way, defines it as the social mandate of what a “good mother” should be.

The term is not recognized as an official clinical diagnosis. However, in daily clinical practice, the mother is accompanied in the self-assessment of her beliefs and values, to explore the socio-psychological factors that may be influencing her behavior and to analyze the origin for which she is perceived as “bad mother”.

“Instead of labeling women, it is important to offer support and treatment so that they can develop skills and resources to improve their relationship with their children. The family is a team in constant change and learning in which each member must fulfill a role and take responsibilities. There is not something that is right for everyone”, explains Alexis Alderete, specialist in Anxiety Disorders and Skills Training, in dialogue with Clarín.

For Pablo Muñoz, psychoanalyst and professor at the Faculty of Psychology of the UBA, in our society it is common for the maternal function to coincide with the biological or adoptive mother of the child, although, he admits, this is not always the case.

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“It would be necessary to produce a social separation so that women who are biological mothers do not feel the pressure of having to agree with the demands that are placed on them. The bad mother syndrome occurs when the exercise of the maternal function contradicts personal desires, ”she reflects.

Adriana Guraieb is a psychologist from the International Psychoanalytic Association. “For centuries, being a mother has been considered the ultimate achievement of women. This sacred and biblical mandate still has a very deep weight in the culture that implies always putting her own needs first, renouncing or postponing desires, objectives and goals, ”she tells this medium.

“The achievements that women achieve in so many areas are blurred in the effective exercise of motherhood, between the extremes of side B and side A, between fundamentalisms and what we should or should not do,” outlines Suárez.

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How does this Syndrome impact women?

“Today, women have multiple and varied social roles, but many feel lacking. Today, there is more parity in the upbringing of children, although the mandate that the maternal function is exercised by the mother is still latent”, evaluates Muñoz.

For her part, Alderete reflects: “Mothers can feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for their children. This can lead to emotional distancing and affect psychological development, your relationship with your partner and your ability to maintain an active social life.”

And he adds: “Although today there is also talk of the role of the father in the daily upbringing of children, the social demand for upbringing points directly to women, beyond the spaces that women have gained over the years. ”.

Voices of different mothers

Without a filter, five mothers share their experiences with Clarín, showing the B side that no one tells.

Rita Vanni (40) is a doula, child care provider and psychoanalyst. She experienced the “bad mother syndrome” with the arrival of her second daughter and the job expansion that she went through a couple of years later. “Maternity and work impose a brutal demand on women. I think the bad mother syndrome is pulsating: we go in and out of there facing the challenges imposed on us by the different stages of our children’s growth, ”she says with conviction.

This malaise impacts with a load of guilt. The experience every time you raise your voice more than you should and notice an expression of displeasure on your children. “They are micro-moments in which something overflows. On other occasions, it is about not being able to cope with everything, and then the bad mother is the one who cannot sit down and play, ”she says.

Rita Vanni (40) is a doula, childcare provider and psychoanalyst

What social demands weigh you down the most? “Maternity as if you did not work, work as if you did not maternity. This puts me in check when I have to exempt myself from daily chores in order to accompany the arrival of a baby, or breastfeeding in trouble ”, she comments.

Does the social demand for parenting point directly to women? “Yes, because we were born, raised and mothered from the social mandate of motherhood as the point of arrival to the fulfillment of women. So, we are responsible for, for example, the way we want to give birth and the type of food we want to give our child. Our responsibility should be to respect our desire so that there are more real motherhood and fewer value judgments about our choices, ”she replies.

Daniela Calzadilla (35) is an event decorator. She assures that almost every day she experiences this discomfort. “It was a daunting task to get it to latch on to the teat. I remember that loneliness and evil feeling of not being good enough and having a horrible pain in my breasts, full of milk, with the destroyed nipples and in the background the crying of my hungry days-old baby. Also, the overwhelming noise of the “try, do it like this” comments and it still won’t be enough, ”she illustrates.

Daniela Calzadilla (35) is an event decorator.

“Once you get past this stage, another begins that shakes you again. The fact of having a job that does not have normal hours, which greatly limits my ability to dedicate quality time to Amelia, makes me carry that guilt and feeling like a bad mother ”, she confesses.

“My husband and I agree that seeing our daughter happy and healthy is a reminder that we are doing the right thing. Chaos, criticism and social rules are minor compared to our instinct, only we know what is important, ”she treasures.

Leticia Balbachan (39) is a lawyer and single mother. She tells this outlet that she felt like the worst mother in the world when her son was born because she couldn’t feed him. “I didn’t get much milk and she lost weight. In one of the controls they told me that I was on my way to malnutrition and I left the office crying. Everything changed when a pediatrician told me that this was solved with mixed breastfeeding and the only thing my son needed was for me to be fine, ”she recalls.

Leticia Balbachan (39) is a lawyer and single mother

Regarding the demands, he points out: “What overwhelms me the most is not so much related to a social demand but to my own. I have to work a lot so that my son doesn’t lack for anything. But when I see his smile I think I’m not doing so badly”.

For María Fernanda Arias (39), a psychologist, this syndrome devalues ​​women and makes them feel impotent because they feel that they are not in control of anything. “It can be very dangerous and cause a serious mood disorder if you don’t get help in time,” she says. She first experienced it the day she returned to her job with a 5-month-old baby.

“When I have to continue working at home with my cell phone, she realizes that she is not having my attention. I feel that way because I perceive that, by enjoying my work, my desire goes beyond her, while she was waiting for me to play for a while ”, she admits.

María Fernanda Arias is a psychologist and is 39 years old.

You feel lacking and go through episodes of guilt intermittently. But she looks to her inner circle for help. “I try to settle it by making the mapping task more equitable,” she says.

The self-demand that weighs the most on her is that of working and having to give 100% as if she were not a mother. “I think that I have to be able to with everything and on top of that I comply, despite my physical and mental health,” she says.

However, she assures that going out to work allows her to give her girl an image of an independent and empowered woman. “I think it is still difficult to dispel the myth that women were born to have children. Whoever chooses to be a mother must bear the sacrifice that upbringing implies, ”she says.

Lupe Duarte (40), freelance web designer, is the mother of 3 children (16, 11 and 8). She confirms that at some point, in all stages of motherhood, she perceives herself as a bad mother.

“I couldn’t give the breast and that made me feel “failed”. With teenagers at home, the bad mother appears every time they get angry or roll their eyes. I see it in every situation that I can’t control because she happens away from home. It seems that the syndrome never disappears, it mutates as they grow and new situations appear. The belief that “the mother can do everything” is really exhausting, because it is humanly impossible, “she explains to Clarín.

Lupe Duarte (40), freelance web designer, is the mother of 3 children (16, 11 and 8)

The big backpack of guilt and the self-flagelo represent its greatest impact. He takes refuge in his containment network. “It is essential to get rid of all the labels that society imposes on us,” he says.

“The gaze is always on us. A father in a square, in the supermarket, eating with his children is synonymous with a good father. A mother doing the same is simply doing what she is supposed to do. No one calls a man who goes out on a Saturday night a bad father. In the same situation, the mother is asked who she left the boys with, ”she questions.

“I do the best I can and always out of love” to lighten that backpack of guilt, demand and prejudice, he repeats like a mantra.



Why do the majority of women still suffer from it today?

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