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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 28, 2010

Absorption into motherhood a common trouble to marriages

By John Rosemond

Q: Help me. My wife and I have been married for nearly 10 years. We have one child, a 3-year-old boy. Ever since our son was born, our marriage has been slowly slipping away as she has become absorbed into motherhood. She dotes on him constantly, talks to him constantly, praises him for every little thing he does, and does things for him he's perfectly capable of doing for himself. If I bring up the fact that our marriage is becoming an illusion, she gets angry at me, accusing me of having no appreciation for the demands of motherhood and so on. I don't see many demands except those she puts on herself. What can I do?

A: Over the past 40 years, since the advent of what I call "psychological parenting," the role of the adult female in the family has morphed: once primarily a wife, now primarily a mother.

In the process, "mother" has become infused with pressure, stress, anxiety and guilt. The typical female parent tells me that she feels lots of pressure from her peers to "perform" in public ways in order to validate her motherhood.

The performance in question involves putting one's child at the center of one's attention and constantly scurrying about in a quest to raise the bar of expectation on all the other mothers, who are all doing the same.

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents' questions at www.rosemond.com.