Do modern mums need mentoring? The answer to this question depends on who you ask. However, the idea of mentoring is something that most people understand when it comes to a career or life in general. We can all agree that parenting comes with its set of challenges; not all of them are easy to navigate alone.
The term modern mum refers to a mum who is raising young children today and this means then that you are a millennial mum or younger. These women are raising children in the era of technology, digital media, social media. These mums are used to getting information from a tribe and are used to checking out YouTube for a tutorial on everything from how to make organic pizza to what to do if your baby’s poo is green.
There is so much information out there that it causes both empowerment and confusion at the same time. This generation is actively trying to balance their new realities with the stories from before them. They have the stories of their great grandmother who could not build a career because of the family. Or stories of a grandmother who was special because she had a University Degree; but as the first woman in her team at work, she had to work doubly hard to prove she was as good as the men. She has the story of her mum who built her own business ground up but also managed to be active in church and community.
These are a lot of different stories to navigate and to forge your own identity. The influx of various school of thoughts on how to be a modern mother means that there is a lot of noise and it is not always clear what the truth is.
Social Media Pressure
Social media is great but for the modern mum, it is also a source of pressure; because everyone’s feed looks Instagram or Pintrest ready. This can make someone who does not have it all figured out feel like she is falling short. It is important to learn from others who will share what real life really is like. No new mum ever has it all figured out. In addition to this, the requirement to immediately start sharing photos and status updates can make the new num feel so much pressure. In reality, it is important to have someone you trust who can share tips and truths with you about how to navigate it all.
The issue of work-life balance is always raging and the answer is not always clear. I remember when a young cousin of mine in her 20’s asked why she should bother to study hard and get good grades like her male classmates; when the reality is that when she starts her career she is going to take a break because she wants to be there for her children and family. Is there a right or wrong answer to that?
The truth is that work-life balance is different for everyone. Real balance for modern mums means knowing what balance looks like for her. The right kind of mentorship should let you know that no matter what balance looks like for you, you need to be comfortable with the idea of sacrifice. [Read: Indra Nooyi shares on how to have it all]
Something will always take priority over something else. You need to be clear about what is important to you so that you can make the right choice. It is more important to be in the right kind of job and have the flexibility for the season you are in. It is important for the millennial mum to know that when she is interviewing for a job, she should ask about their flexi-time policy. She needs to know that when she goes back to work she should choose her child’s school based on the proximity to her house or work. If she decides to work for herself she should know that it is important for her to have working hours. Otherwise, the ease of technology can keep you working around the clock and you miss critical moments with your child.
With the barriers women continue to face at work, it is important to have strong female mentors. When you are a working mother, it is even more important. Having a working mother mentor means having someone who understands exactly what you are going through as a working mother. She understands the demands of the workplace. She understands the demands of motherhood—and she knows exactly what happens when you combine the two. (Via Motherhonestly)
Self Care is Paramount
Guilt is the biggest thief of joy when it comes to motherhood and parenting. Mums tend to carry the burden of doing it all and they feel guilty if they take time for themselves. Mum shaming does not help either. For example, when a new mum is called out for going out for a girls night out. Part of this pressure comes from sharing all your moves on social media which makes it easy for people to comment.
You need to prioritize self-care. Self-care is a daily affair, everyday make time to do something that ensures that you are taking care of yourself. For modern mums, the right people around you would let you know how important this is. They will help you to understand what mum burnout looks like and avoid it. The pressure to be a superwoman and do it all causes stress for most people. You want to carefully curate a support system, to help you achieve your goals in life. No longer does a woman need to cancel her dreams and plans because she is a mum.
Mentorship can be personalized with one person or could be spread across several people and sources. For example, it could be an older mum in your office or community. You could also rely on a podcast or online community that provides support. The whole idea is that as a modern mum you do not have to navigate motherhood and life alone. You should have your tribe where you can support each other.