The broken system of motherhood support: why moms today are so exhausted
Updated: Jul 19, 2022
A lot changed for me when I became a mom at the age of 32. I don’t just mean my sleep schedule or not going out to dinner 5 nights a week anymore. I’m talking about a change that is much more visceral. A complete shuffling of my priorities, my needs, my wants, my dreams. A lens on life that I never had access to prior to having my son - where my needs were no longer the priority, and my perceived calling was no longer solely about my own ambition and professional success.
It was an identity transformation - that many of us know well. And it was scary.
When you couple this with hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep, unparalleled and incompatible societal pressures, and a complete lack of societal support, it’s no wonder so many of us moms are stressed, anxious, and completely burned out.
In fact, surveys suggest that 92% of moms today feel society doesn't do a good job of supporting motherhood and 68% of moms say they need more support (1). What’s more, up to 80% of women experience some form of emotional distress in the years after having a baby (2). And research shows that support is essential for postpartum well-being and helping these women.
Why is this happening?
The transition into motherhood has always been difficult. But women today face obstacles that are unique and incompatible with modern expectations. Mothers today are better educated and working more than any previous generation. In fact, 47% of moms are breadwinners who contribute the majority of the household income (3), but many are still expected to take on the bulk of household and parenting responsibilities.
In the office and at work we are expected to put work first, but at home, we are expected to make our family and home lives the priority.
How exhausting, stressful, and unsustainable.
Meanwhile our societal support systems are no longer compatible or sustainable for moms and families today.
The United States is the only industrialized country in the entire world to offer no federal family leave program, forcing some mothers to go back to work after just a few weeks (4). Even though research continuously shows that paid family leave is good for mothers, babies, and business (5). And when women do go back to work, very few systems or policies are in place to enable breastfeeding success, forcing moms who would otherwise want to breastfeed their babies, to use formula instead, adding additional cost.
Additionally, mood disorders are one of the most common pregnancy and postpartum complications, yet maternal mental health is often neglected and unattainable for many women. Additionally, forcing women to go back to work before they are physically or emotionally ready significantly increases the risk of postpartum depression (6), which isn’t good for the baby, mom, or business.
It’s no wonder that moms today feel so burnt out and unable to think about care or support options for themselves. Especially when care options are time-consuming and difficult to navigate or moms don’t know the options available to help support them along the way.
While Kula can’t fix all of these issues facing modern moms today, we are striving to ease some of the overwhelming burden that moms face by bringing them a simplified model of care that is easy to access and adapts to their ever-evolving needs. Because moms today need and deserve to feel supported. Sign up for our waitlist to be one of the first members to get exclusive access to our Kula experts who specialize in all things motherhood.