Modern Mothers Need More Of A Community, Says Anthropologist

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Although “working mom” now describes a women who balances a job and motherhood, anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy points out that women through out our evolutionary history have been working mothers. Gathering food and balancing other tasks with childrearing is hardly a modern predicament. However, Hry notes that women in previous generations had much more of a community when it came to raising children. The decline in social networks for mothers is resulting in feelings of isolation and perhaps higher rates of depression in mothers.

The Los Angeles Times observes that “strong networks of friends and family that traditionally helped with child care have eroded,” primarily because of geography. Hry comments:

Mothers don’t have enough social support… That’s the bottom line. The idea that mothers were ever meant to care for children by themselves in our species is not realistic.

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, author of The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood: Coping with Stress, Depression, and Burnout, says that anywhere between 15% and 25% of mothers suffer from some form of depression in the United States. Rushed schedules, no social life, and stress are considered the major contributing factors.

The escalating pressure of modern motherhood may be what drives so many mothers to be such a presence on the internet. There are at present 3.9 million women with children who actively blog, and mothers also remain very active on social media. Tips on babysitters, formula, and stroller recommendations may not be the only reason that fuels a mommy’s need to tweet. Contemporary mothers might in fact be going to the interwebs in search of that community that they so dearly need.