Back to articles Modern-day myths making mothers miserable

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Contemporary parenting is fraught with worry and anxiety, isolation and performance pressure. Yet, one of the most pervasive cultural myths of our time is that we should be totally enjoying it. After all, becoming a mother is supposed to be the best thing that ever happened to us, right?
It doesn’t help matters that our generation is coming into motherhood at a time in parenting history when our culture believes that children are fragile and utterly dependent—and that means whatever happens to them is on our shoulders. We have taken on the entire responsibility for how our children’s lives evolve.

So, we take on childrearing with the same driven attitude and perfectionism that our achievement-oriented, competitive culture espouses for seemingly every task these days, from driving to cooking to making love! We’ve lifted childrearing to new heights—this is no longer an intuitive job for the masses.

When did neurotic become normal? 

Purchase "Breaking the Good Mom Myth"

In Breaking the Good Mom Myth: Every Mom's Modern Guide to Getting Past Perfection, Regaining Sanity, and Raising Great Kids (Wiley / November 2006), psychotherapist Alyson Schafer sets out to debunk many of the myths that are driving modern moms crazy and undermining their parenting efforts. In a playful yet wise tone, she outlines concrete action steps and alternatives that will help moms raise happy, healthy kids.

 Schafer discusses:

  • Coping with power struggles
  • The democratic family – what it is and how to create one
  • Running a family meeting
  • Encouraging children at school without making them feel overwhelmed or inferior
  • The difference between praise and encouragement
  • Slow parenting vs. fast-fix parenting
  • Sibling fighting and how we stimulate it
  • Damaging effects of pampering children
  • Mother guilt and martyr mothers
  • How “good” mothers push dads out of the picture – and the toll it takes on the marriage

 In the competitive landscape of modern mothering, Schafer provides a refreshing perspective that perfection is not only impossible, the pursuit of it is damaging to family life. By scrutinizing many of our cultural myths regarding children, moms can begin to break free from the pressure of perfection.


Alyson Schafer, M.A. Counseling, B.Sc., OACCPP, is a mother of two and the host of The Parenting Show on Rogers. She has been featured in Today's Parent, Chatelaine, Reader’s Digest, and 24 Hours. She is the Canadian Co-Chair of Family Education for the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology (NASAP), and a member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counselors, Psychometrics and Psychotherapists (OACCPP). Visit her Online at