Over half of Irish mams and dads feel like they're failing during the first year of parenthood 1 month ago

Over half of Irish mams and dads feel like they're failing during the first year of parenthood

Over half of Irish mams and dads have said they feel like they're failing during the first year of parenthood.

57 percent of new parents said they feel disempowered due to the 'picture perfect' idea of parenting they're so often exposed to online and in the media.

Over half of new mums said that social media added to parenting pressures with 44 percent of all parents being anxious about talking about these pressures for fear of being judged.

Research conducted by WaterWipes shows that a number of factors including "single-minded parenting how-to guides" and "flawlessly filtered Instagram feeds" are contributing to this feeling of failure.

One fifth of Irish parents feel like film and TV are key contributors and two fifths say advertising has a part to play. As well as this, over half of parents say they can't relate to the images of parents they see on social media, with mothers more likely than fathers to feel inadequate.

Chartered psychologist and parenting expert Niamh Hannan says that many parents are clearly under a lot of pressure to "get it right."

She said:

"I’d go so far to say that there is a ‘cult of perfectionism’ around parenting.

"When an exhausted parent is feeling that somehow they are not measuring up to others or to their own expectations, what they really need to know is that they are normal."

Similarly, Louise McSharry said that knowing you're doing your best as a parent is key.

"I absolutely felt alone in the first few months of my son's life, and was convinced that everyone else was getting it all right, while I was falling at every hurdle," she said.

"It was only when I found some like-minded mams to chat to about what we were experiencing that I realised we were all struggling."

Because of this, WaterWipes has launched a new campaign called #ThisIsParenthood, an initiative including a documentary, short films and a photography series, aiming to normalise more open, honest conversations around the highs and lows of parenthood.

You can join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter, or check out the documentary below: