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Working Mums - We Weren’t Meant to Care For Our Children on Our Own

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If you experience mother’s guilt because you have to, or choose to, work.

If you struggle to give yourself permission to take time for yourself as a mother.

If you feel like the responsibility of motherhood is overwhelming then you need to read this.

The weight of feeling like we should work like we don’t mother, and mother like we don’t work, can be huge.  How can we do the work we need to, or want to, whilst always being there for our children? It can feel like an impossible puzzle to solve.

But what if I told you it was never meant to be this way.  We weren’t meant to care for our children on our own. In actual fact the sharing of the care of our children with others is one of the reasons for the survival and evolution of the human race over the millenia!  

In the book ‘Mothers and Others’ a Professor of Anthropology, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, shares the research on why we aren’t meant to parent on our own. She draws on the research of anthropology, genetics, infant development, and comparative biology.

Humans could never have evolved if mothers had been required to raise their children on their own. Human infants are too helpless and too all consuming in their demands for care and resources. So mothers had to have helpers—sometimes extending beyond their own family—to raise their young. 

In fact our ability to understand others (and the wide range of emotional intelligence we have as humans) actually came about because we shared the caring of our young with others.  In her book Sarah argues that the more alloparenting (to alloparent is to provide care for offspring that are not your own) children get, the more likely they are to survive and flourish.

But somehow in our modern western world there is so much guilt and shame attached to mothers going to work and allowing others to care for our children.

So if you are feeling guilty that your child goes to nursery, a childminder, after school club or is cared for by a grandparent or friend I want you to know that this is how it’s been for millions of years.  And you could actually be contributing to the ongoing evolution of our species by doing this!

I hope this insight is useful if you suffer from the guilt that too often consumes us as working mums!




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