Why Moms Are Miserable | Sheryl Ziegler | TEDxWilmingtonWomen (2023)


Sheryl Ziegler, Doctor of Psychology, shares what mothers need in their lives in order to experience happiness and help prevent loneliness and depression. The power of social connection and friendships will be explored as a key component to a mother’s well being and quality of life. Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, is a Doctor of Psychology specializing in children and families who founded a group private practice over a decade ago in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of her practice, Dr. Ziegler has led thousands of face-to-face sessions focused on burnout in motherhood and its related issues, including anxiety, depression, and divorce. Dr. Ziegler is a familiar face on television, with appearances on both local and national news media outlets as the “go-to” family and parenting expert. In January 2018, Dr. Ziegler’s book, Mommy Burnout: How Addressing Yours Will Make You a Better Mother and Create a Better Life for Your Children (Dey Street Books) debuts. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx


Transcriber:, Eunice, Tan, Reviewer:, Tanya, Cushman, About, a year ago, as I was finishing my research on motherhood, I came across "The Feminine Mystique," written by Betty Friedan in 1963.

The title of the first chapter is "The, Problem, That, Has, No, Name.", As I read through the pages, I felt my heart bursting.

I thought to myself, "Every, mom needs to know what's in these pages." It helps give meaning to where moms were back then and where we still are today.

Betty Friedan was able to interview these mothers, who shared with her that they felt unfulfilled, alone, and ashamed to admit that they felt lost in the midst of motherhood.

She called this "the problem that has no name." The spread into suburbia, with its green lawns and large corner lots, was isolating for moms.

Their worries over smallpox and polio were replaced by depression and alcoholism.

Drug remedies, such as "mother's little helper,", promised relief from boredom, unhappiness, and anxiety.


We've come a long way since the 1950s.

But, the feeling of loneliness and lack of fulfillment is still the same today.


My practice as a child and family therapist, I have heard a familiar story over and over: mothers who feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and lonely in their lives.

I knew that I could relate to feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, but I didn't think that loneliness applied to me.

Or did it? I thought to myself, "I'm, still best friends with people from childhood, I have a loving and supportive, husband, I volunteer in my kids' schools and in our community.

And my calendar is booked with dinners and parties." So I thought, I was doing okay.


One day, something happened that changed all of that.

A few years ago, after being in excruciating pain for two days, I, drove myself to the ER.

Once I was examined, I was immediately admitted into a private room, where I turned the TV on and settled in for what I figured was going to be a long night.


Despite the fact that I was in a lot of pain, I was actually quite content.

I was laying in one of those reclining hospital.

Beds, I had nurses coming in and checking on me, (Laughter) I had, a warm hospital blanket on, and I was watching Sunday Night Football.

(Laughter) I had no kids to put down, no dishes to unload.

And no laundry to fold.

It was just me, alone, in a room.


Then I had, a light-bulb moment.

I thought, "Oh, I've heard about.

This before.

This is.

What people are talking about." I was having a hospital fantasy! A, real-life hospital fantasy.


And it felt really good.

But after I found out that I was having a kidney stone attack, the novelty did wear off.

(Laughter) And I thought to myself, besides my family, who could I call? Who, could I call right now to simply say, "I.

Am in the hospital.


Don't need anything from you - no meals.

No driving kids.


I, just thought that you'd want to know"? And in that.

Moment, I realized that I was just as disconnected from my community as the mothers I.

See in my practice.

I had gotten so busy doing what all of us.

Do: I moved around, raising kids and advancing my career.

I was living my life in 60-minute increments - going from school to soccer, home, and back to work.

I was feeling lonely, and I didn't even know, it., 50 years later.

The problem that has no name is still with us.

It shows itself differently, but it's still the same problem.


We have the rabbit hole of social media that shows what all the other mommies are doing better than us.

(Laughter), Mm-hmm., If, we're, a working mom.

We feel guilty.

And if we're a stay-at-home mom, we feel judged.

We, second-guess and stress over all the parenting decisions that we make.

And all too often.

We feel like failures and frauds., (Applause), Got, it., (Laughter), Somewhere in our frantic and overscheduled lives.

We might have a husband, with all of his needs and demands as well.

Most of us.

Somehow, manage to maintain a career.

Back in the '50s and '60s, mothers thought.

If only they could have a career, life would be good., And earning our own money.

And having our own careers has been good.


The problem that has no name remains.

If, you're, relating to any of this.

You are not alone.

I started researching and asking the tough questions.

I found that since the 1970s, women have been reporting less life satisfaction than men.

I asked myself, "Why is this?" As I.

Dug deep.

One thing became clear:.

Women need closeness with other human beings, every day.


This is not the same as casual connections.

We are spending upwards of 30 hours a week online, with at least one hour a day on Facebook.

Yet I found that over the past 40 years, our friendship networks have shrunk.

We, move around, on average, 11 times throughout our lifetime.

And shuttling.

Kids around has caused moms to spend more time in their cars rather than socializing with others.


Did you know that social isolation is hazardous to our physical health as well? One university study showed that patients were 50% more likely to survive disease.

If they had close friendships., And, social isolation.

And the feeling of loneliness is a major health issue that increases your risk of death, more so than smoking or obesity.


What do we do? Do? We say that this is the problem that has no name and therefore has no solution? I don't think so.

In researching this topic over the last several years, I've come to think that if each one of the clients that I see in my practice had a best friend, my practice might be cut in half.

We need to spend some of those hours that we're online with a female friend, instead.

As, I've shared with you today, I, wasn't, immune either., So, now, I reach out to others, more.

And, even when I'm tired and I don't want to go out, I, still meet that friend out.


We share our stories because collective stories, create community., And I've banned being busy - I won't, let "busy" build walls that keep me apart from other people.

Together, in our small towns or our large cities.

We need to be a part of eliminating this problem.

So let's start by calling a friend anytime.


When we kiss our kids goodnight and we're tired, let's, still call a friend.

Even if just to say, "How was your day?" Let's get together with a friend, reach out to an old friend, make a new friend, resolve issues with people from the past.

As I think about the importance of friendship for all of us.

And especially in my own life, I'm reminded of this beautiful line said by Susan Sarandon in the movie, "Shall We, Dance?" And.

It goes something like, "We.

All need a witness.

There are a billion people on the planet.

So what does any one life really mean?" When? You have a close friend, you're, saying, "Your.

Life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it.

Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness." Moms of all ages and all stages:.

This problem has been around for at least 50 years, and it's up to each and every one of us to make sure it's not around for the next 50 years., Thank, you., (Applause).


What is the value of a mother? ›

A mother teaches her child the values of love and care. She teaches her child how to eat well. A mother instils in her child the ability to be happy. A mother instils in her child the values and traditions of her family.

Why are mothers important in a child's life? ›

Therefore, as the main presence in a child's life at this point, a mother's relationship with her child is crucial. A mother plays multiple roles in a child's development, as she is a teacher in every aspect of a child's developmental growth – social emotional, physical, cognitive and independence.

What is the role of mother in our life speech? ›

A mother feeds us, cares for our needs and makes us a good human being. She helps us in our studies and also encourages our talents. Her whole life revolves around her children. She also inculcates qualities of love, care, understanding, helping others, honesty, empathy, etc.

What are the signs of a good mother? ›

15 Signs You're Doing Motherhood Right
  • The kids smile about 90 percent of the time. ...
  • They share with others. ...
  • You aren't afraid to issue a time-out. ...
  • They say please and thank you without being told. ...
  • You put their need to eat, bathe, and sleep before your own. ...
  • They would rather cry on your shoulder than into a tissue.

What are the 5 responsibilities of a mother? ›

To care as a mother is to cook good food, create a clean home, provide clean clothing, read to your children, teach them, include them in family life, encourage, teach and play.

How much a mother love her child? ›

Mother is like an angel for her child, who always loves her child and supports him/her. For every child, his mother has a special place in his heart because she is the first person the child sees after his birth. This is the reason why a child and a mother have a special bond between them.

What is the love of a mother? ›

A mother's love is unconditional and everlasting. A mother's love is a special bond between a mother and her child that can never be broken. Mothers will give up their own happiness for the sake of their children. The love a mother has for her children cannot be measured or described in words.

What makes a mother valuable? ›

They bequeath to us timeless wisdom, a legacy so precious and valuable. Mothers have often shaped our world from the cradle, by rocking, nurturing and instructing children to grow up to make life changing and history- making accomplishments.

What does the Bible say about mothers? ›

The Bible consistently asks followers to honor and love their mothers. Examples of this can be seen in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother,” and Leviticus 19:3, “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.”

What is the true meaning of a mother? ›

A mother is a selfless, loving human who must sacrifice many of their wants and needs for the wants and needs of their children. A mother works hard to make sure their child is equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to make it as a competent human being.

What is the most important thing a mother can give her child? ›

Perhaps the most essential thing a parent can give a child is the belief that his or her presence gives joy and delight. By simply being there in the world, the child is a precious gift.

Why do mothers matter? ›

Mothers are crucial for both sons and daughters. They not only role-model for their own daughters but they influence a son to be wired to care for and protect women around them. It's not a competition of who is better or who does more, but a call to work together and appreciate the differences we have.

What is the most important thing in a life of a mother? ›

Mothers always influence their children to live happy lives and contribute their best to society. They nurture their children to make the world a better place. She helps mould child personality by teaching about wisdom, truth, peace, joy and a spiritual harvest.

Why are mothers important in the Bible? ›

Motherhood is sanctifying, but it is also sweet. Scripture teaches mothers to point children toward Christ by praying for them, modeling faith and character, and training them in wisdom (Prov 1:8, 29:15).

What are signs of mother issues? ›

Mommy issues in women typically involve:
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Difficulty trusting others/commitment issues.
  • Having very few female friends.
  • Feeling like you must do everything perfectly.
  • Avoiding anything having to do with your mother.
  • Finding it difficult to set boundaries or make others respect you.
Mar 30, 2022

What makes a mother the happiest? ›

One of the consistent traits associated with a “happy mom” is the act of self-care and gaining access to those authentic moments of happiness. “Moms are often pushed to the end of their rope with all of the emotional, physical and developmental needs of their children,” says Eve.

What do mother issues look like? ›

People usually apply the term “mommy issues” to men who display some of the following traits and behaviors: an expectation that romantic partners will provide more than a fair share of household labor or emotional support. trust issues or difficulty showing vulnerability.

What is a rule of a mother? ›

She must not only maintain the physical aspects of her family's life but also the intangible elements such as creating a lively environment for her husband and children for her entire life. 2. Being a teacher for her children. We can all generally agree that a mother must be able to be the teacher for her children.

What is the main role of a father? ›

Through almost every studied culture, fathers have assumed three primary roles: the protector, the provider, and the disciplinarian. Before we discuss each of these roles, it is important to note that in many two-parent families today, mothers are fulfilling these three roles as much as fathers.

What is sole responsibility of a mother? ›

As the term suggests, sole responsibility means only one parent (mother or father) is responsible for upbringing the child. If you are a parent of such a child, you need to prove that you have been solely responsible for the parental care of your child for a substantial period.

Do moms love their first child most? ›

A recent study has found that it's not the youngest child that's liked the most. It's actually the eldest! While eldest children around the world have had to be the example for their younger siblings and parents being extra strict on them, it looks like there was a good reason.

How much time should a mother spend with her child? ›

So then, how much time do we really need to spend with our kids? The answer: it all depends. I asked this question on Facebook and most parents came back with how 2-4 hours each day feels good for them during the week. Too much more and they feel overwhelmed, much less and they miss their kids.

How deep is a mother's love? ›

A mother's love is both strong and tender, and they long to see their children happy and thriving. Their heart's desire is to step in and protect, but a wise mother also knows when to say “no” and let her child feel the painful consequence of a decision he has made.

What is a deep quote about mothers? ›

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." "Life doesn't come with a manual, it comes with a mother." "The best place to cry is on a mother's arms." "If at first you don't succeed, try doing it the way mom told you to in the beginning."

What are the sacrifices of a mother? ›

Mother loves and sacrifices her children without any expectation, although there is some kind of expectation in other relationships. Even in husband wife's relation. It is said that the mother experiences it or feels the same when the child gets hurt.

What is the best line for mother? ›

Short And Sweet Happy Mothers Day Quotes
  • “My mother is a walking miracle.” — ...
  • “A mother understands what a child does not say.” — ...
  • “The world needs our mothers.” — ...
  • “A mother's hug lasts long after she lets go.” — ...
  • “There is nothing as sincere as a mother's kiss.” — ...
  • “Life began with waking up and loving my mother's face.” —
Apr 4, 2023

Who makes a good mother? ›

A good mother is someone who is nurturing, caring, and takes care of her children, her family, and her friends. A good mom wants to make the world a better place for everyone in it. A nurturing parent is also responsible for the child's well-being and safety. There are many ways in which a mother can be nurturing.

Do mothers love their sons more? ›

Mothers are more critical of their daughters than their sons, and admit to having a having stronger bond with their little boys, according to research.

What God expects from mothers? ›

The Role of a Mother According to the Bible

According to the Bible, the role of a mother is to love and care for her children. She is to teach and train, nurture and discipline. A godly mother is to model godly living for her children and take care of her home. She is also to care for and help her husband.

What God says about good mothers? ›

Isaiah 66:13 "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you." Proverbs 31:25-27 "Strength and honor are her clothing; she is confident about the future. Her mouth is full of wisdom; kindly teaching is on her tongue. She is vigilant over the activities of her household; she doesn't eat the food of laziness."

What does the Bible say about a mother's tears? ›

“Thus says the Lord:” — he responds to those tears — “'Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; / for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, / and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. / There is hope for your future, says the Lord, / and your children shall come back to their own country ...

What is the joy of a mother? ›

One major joy of motherhood is to get to watch your child learn and grow. From first words and first steps, to the day they learn how to drive. It's amazing seeing their life and personality take shape and to see the amazing person they become.

Who is a godly mother? ›

A godly mother is a servant.

She serves her family in a variety of ways remembering that she is following in Christ's footsteps. She doesn't seek a reward or serve only when it's convenient, or when she feels like it. She understands that in serving her family, she is serving the Lord.

What makes a woman a mother? ›

Mothers are the women around you who guide you – the ones who encourage your dreams, help you pick up the pieces when you falter on your way to those dreams, and believe in you even in the moments when you don't anymore. They are the women who inspire you, who represent all you hope to someday become a fraction of.

What kids need most from parents? ›

What Every Child Needs
  • Security. Kids must feel safe and sound, with their basic survival needs met: shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm.
  • Stability. Stability comes from family and community. ...
  • Consistency. ...
  • Emotional support. ...
  • Love. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Positive role models. ...
  • Structure.

What a child needs from a mother? ›

We all know that one of children's major needs is for love and nurture. Moms today are very intentional about developing a close attachment with their babies so they develop a sense of emotional security, belonging, and safety—factors that foster children's healthy development behavior throughout their lives.

What makes the mother more important than the father? ›

Mothers spend more time with their children and, therefore, the children form a better connection with them. A hormone called oxytocin enables the mother to bond better with the child than the father. It allows the child to feel secure as long as he/she is with the mother.

How important is a mother's love? ›

They feel valued and important. The bond a baby has with Mom is the baby's first relationship." "Mothers tend to be the primary caregivers, and if children don't feel loved, they internalize that and feel unlovable," Esposito says. "They wonder what is wrong them, that their mothers cannot love them.

What's the difference between being a mom and a mother? ›

Mom is a noun. It is a shortened form of mother, which means a female parent or matriarch. Mom is very common in spoken American English, but in most written contexts, mother is more likely to appear.

Who is the most important person in a family? ›

And the most important person in a family are the parents. The most important thing about children is the need to prepare them properly for responsible citizenship.

Who is best person in my life? ›

Mom is the Best Nurturer When You are a Child/Toddler:

She gave birth to you and all your life you should be forever grateful to her.

What is the role of a godly mother? ›

A godly mother is a woman who allows God to sanctify, purify, love, redeem, and shape her in life's circumstances. The journey of motherhood—becoming a godly mother—doesn't start when you give birth or adopt a child. It begins with knowing your identity in Jesus.

What is a mothers worth in the Bible? ›

Proverbs 31:10-12

Her value is far above pearls. Her husband entrusts his heart to her, and with her he will have all he needs. She brings him good and not trouble all the days of her life." The Good News: An honorable, capable wife and mother is someone who instills confidence in her family and brings them joy.

Is the wife more important than the mother? ›

In every man's life, both mother and wife play prominent roles. While mother gives life and brings him up facing all the odds, the wife becomes his twin soul caring and also correcting him and standing by him throughout the life.

What are the 12 qualities of the mother? ›

The 12 petals of the Mother's symbol represent the 12 Aspects :
  • Sincerity.
  • Humility.
  • Gratitude.
  • Perseverance.
  • Aspiration.
  • Receptivity.
  • Progress.
  • Courage.

What makes a true mother? ›

A mother is a selfless, loving human who must sacrifice many of their wants and needs for the wants and needs of their children. A mother works hard to make sure their child is equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to make it as a competent human being.

What are the character traits you inherit from your mother? ›

Virtues such as honesty, integrity and tolerance are most likely to come from mothers while courage, laziness and a good sense of direction come from fathers, a study found.

What are the 7 types of mothers? ›

  • According to scriptures also, there are seven mothers: (1) the real mother, (2) the wife of the spiritual master, (3) the wife of a brāhmaṇa, (4) the wife of the king, (5) the cow, (6) the nurse, and (7) the earth. ...
  • The wife of a brāhmaṇa is considered one of the seven mothers.

What is an ideal mother? ›

“A good enough mother is the one who meets the basic needs of a child. As we know, a child can be cared for by the father, the grandmother, or the nanny, but the child primarily needs the elements of safety and protection – and the source of that is often the mother,” Dr. Imam says.

What are the qualities of a mother in one word? ›

Some adjectives that describe a mother are loving, compassionate, endearing, kind, protective, strong, extraordinary, intuitive, caring and mindful.

What are mommy issues? ›

Mommy issues refer to problems forming or maintaining healthy adult relationships, due to a person's insecure or unhealthy relationship with their mother or another female figure in their childhood. It can lead to a negative self-image, low levels of trust, and other issues.

What do females inherit from their mothers? ›

You inherited your mitochondrial DNA from your mother, who inherited hers from her mother and so forth. Maternal inheritance also gave rise to the idea that there exists a “Mitochondrial Eve,” a woman from whom all living humans inherited their mitochondrial DNA.

What is a wife duties to her husband? ›

As a wife, she is expected to serve her husband, preparing food, clothing and other personal needs. As a mother, she has to take care of the children and their needs, including education. As a worker, she has to be professional, disciplined and a good employee.

What genes are inherited from father only? ›

All men inherit a Y chromosome from their father, which means all traits that are only found on the Y chromosome come from dad, not mom. The Supporting Evidence: Y-linked traits follow a clear paternal lineage.

What genes do daughters get from fathers? ›

Fathers have both X and Y chromosomes. So they contribute one Y or one X chromosome to their offspring. Daughters get two X chromosomes, one from Mother and one from Father. So Daughter will inherit X-linked genes from her father as well as her mother.

Who do you inherit your body type from? ›

"You inherit half of your genes from your mother and half from your father, so you're a blend. You can be unlucky and get the worst possible combination from both parents, or be lucky and get the best," says Harvard medical professor C. Ronald Kahn, M.D.

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