I am conducting my thesis on experiences of cooperation and competition among mothers for my MSc in Developmental Psychopathology at Durham University (UK). Mothering behaviors are so complex and the research in competitive and cooperative experiences in humans is limited. I am looking for participation from mothers who have at lease one school-aged child (has already begun primary school). The questionnaire should take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete and if you want to follow up on the findings I would be more than happy to inform you.
I took the survey but my answers are probably skewed because my youngest is much younger than his siblings--20 to 13 years younger. Also his daycare provider was my sister who runs an in home daycare. So while he did eat and play at another mother's house it was either his sister's house or his aunt's/grandmother's (mom lives with sister and helps with the day care). My son also is on the spectrum and had no friends or even a best friend in elementary school (still doesn't), only school friends. He has always related best to adults. Now at age 16, he is slowly finding people his own age who share his interests (a focused interest in ancient military history; in high school, he is taking college level history courses). But they are online friends, not irl friends.
Agreeing with sewchris about answers being skewed by sibling age-gaps ... my youngest is 9 years younger than her eldest sibling and was often away from me, whether at home or elsewhere for various social activities, but not with "another mother or professional babysitter." She was with her teenaged sister.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
That's another thing--personalities. My son didn't have a best friend to hang out with so he hung out with me and his sisters by default and because he could talk to us about what he was interested in. Not because of any competition or cooperation on my part. I would have loved for him to have friends to hang out, go to the movies, play Legos and army men, explore the neighborhood, ride bikes, go back and forth between houses, etc. just like his sisters did. But that's not him.
Also, regarding care from another mother. . . since this survey was about our youngest school age child I want to point out that my older children will often care for her when I am gone. Therefore, I rarely ask for help with "watching" my child. Also, I wasn't sure if the random playing between neighboring houses counted as "being cared for" by another mother or not. I mean, we all are able to help when needed, but mostly the kids ride bikes and play between all the houses. Also, I did count that as a playdate.
Also found the time choices hard. Once a week vs once a month vs once a . . .year?!? Didn't fit our experiences.
DD and DS are 11 & DD is 4 Our car is a bike!
Sharing our with 3, 2 & 4
Thank you for taking the time to fill in the questionnaire. The issue of elder children will definitely be discussed as previous literature on cooperative parenting focuses a lot on grandparents and older siblings. Also personality is definitely an issue, however, because there is limited literature in this area not everything can be included in one study. Personality is definitely a factor to be considered in future research. Lastly, when creating the questionnaire the timing issue you mention was also hard for us so we decided to put it in that format, expecting parents to choose the answer that mostly represents them.
Thanks again for taking part! It is greatly appreciated and if you would like an update of the results let me know :)
Laurel, thank you for your comments. So often people drop into forums like this, ask for survey volunteers and never take the time to return, discuss and follow up. It's really that you have done so.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
I'm very interested in what the mothers have to say. I have no children so the insight I get from mothers is very useful. It's nice to see mothers who are interested in the research. A lot of people fill in questionnaires and don't think about them. mothering.com so far has been my best source of participants, both because a lot of mothers have helped by participating, but also because a lot of mothers have given me input on the questionnaire.
Laurel, I would participate in more of the questionnaires here but usually I find that I can't chose one of the choices offered for each question. None of them fit me, my family, my child/ren, or my way of parenting. And if I answer for just one of my children, the answers don't reflect the reality of parenting my other 3 children. Each child is different and I parent according to each child's needs and personality.. And since my oldest and youngest are 20 years apart, social norms, technology, medical and child development knowledge have all change. For example, when my oldest was born, fathers in the delivery room was new, I changed rooms 3 times, there was no rooming in, breastfeeding was rare and the hospitals weren't set up for it, I was told to put her on her stomach to sleep, car seats were optional and not manditory. With my last, rooming in was the norm, breastfeeding was encouraged, I labored, delivered, and recovered all in the same room, my children were allowed to watch their brother being born (only my oldest did, the other 2 opted out) and I was told to him on his back to sleep. Car seat laws have changed over the years. So has educational options. We home schooled the girls under the table. Now, along with the traditional public and private schools, there are charter schools, home schools, home schooling through the school district, through a charter school, combinations of classroom and home schooling, education online as well as face to face. But things have also gotten worse--my girls roamed the neighborhood with their friends free of fear. If something happened, they knew that they could go to any of the neighbors for help. Conversely, if they did something wrong, they would be caught by the same neighbors and I would be told before they could get home. That has changed. Kids are supervised from getting up to going to bed with little free play or down time. We don't know the neighbors, they don't know us because no one is home. There is even fear of letting them play in their own back yard without supervision. Because information is coming at us faster and from farther away, what happens across the country or around the world translates into fear outside the front door.
You are absolutely right things definitely change really fast. I can't comment as a mother but as a child who played outside all day everyday when I was growing up, I can see that that is definitely not the case anymore. Mothering behaviors change with environmental pressures. My mother never had to think about where I was when I was a child. I would always be at a friends house and we'd eat/play and even have sleepovers very often and this was normal. Thanks for sharing you experience :)
Also consider the difference in answers you'll get about a 1st child and a later child. The first child gets most of the parenting intensity and a period where the parent will be most likely to have the most frustration/disagreements with other mothers due to inexperience. Focusing on the youngest child, the answers can be quite different.
Yes that's a good point. Having more than one child can definitely affect your mothering based on the experiences that you've gained raising each child. Having asked the question on how many children women have we may be able to look at whether more children will lead to different answers that a single child and if there is a trend.
Just a little message-
I have 3 weeks of data collection yet and only at 62% of the target, so I am desperate for participants.
Please if someone has not filled it out, I would be so appreciative if you take five minutes.
Thank you so much in advance,
This is a link that will give you an idea of the research in the area and the gap in literature. It is a short paper by Fisher & Moule (2013), titled: A New Direction for Intrasexual Competition Research: Cooperative Versus Competitive Motherhood.
If you take part and are interested for a taste of what has already been done in the literature here you go:
|Teens , Pre Teens|