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by Abigail Van Buren

Young Moms Feel Pressure to Succeed at Parenting

DEAR ABBY: Why is there so much angst today over raising children, especially in young mothers? I don't remember my mother or my friends' mothers being so concerned about whether or not they were doing a good job, and I certainly didn't gather with my daughters' friends' moms to bemoan whether I was a bad mother.

Now there are all these blogs and workshops, etc. on how to be the "best" mom, and all these lifestyle gurus who constantly tell them not to worry, they're doing a great job. It just seems like a bunch of nonsense to me.

I think it's because a generation or so back, moms began to elevate their children to top priority in the family over their husbands. What's your take? -- PUZZLED GRANDMA IN THE SOUTH

DEAR PUZZLED: The world is different today. Many women feel torn because they want or need to work, while at the same time feel pressured to help their children succeed in an increasingly competitive world. (Is the child academically prepared for kindergarten? Is the child able to work cooperatively with others? Is the school highly rated enough? What and how many extracurricular activities will boost their child's chances of excelling?)

While it may seem like nonsense to you, I assure you it does not seem like nonsense to them. Women of your generation didn't second-guess themselves because parenting a generation ago was simpler. If children seem to be the No. 1 priority these days it may be because both parents feel driven to succeed and are determined that their children will, too.

Read more in: Family & Parenting