But mothers whose lives revolve around their children may be more likely to suffer from depression, according to a study.
American researchers questioned 181 women with children under five and found ‘intensive mothering’ damaged their mental health.
The trend for mothers in particular to be extremely involved in their child’s every experience is known as ‘helicopter parenting’, with psychologists saying it leaves children fragile and unable to cope with life’s experiences.
The researchers, from the University of Mary Washington, Virginia, said this obsession with being perfect is common to many middle-class parents and may be making them miserable.
Women who believed mothers were the most important parents and were reluctant to let others help them care for their child were found to be less satisfied with their lives, while those who saw parenting as a challenge requiring specialist knowledge and skills were more likely to be stressed and depressed.
Nearly one in four of the women displayed signs of depression.
The authors of the study, which has been published online in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, said: ‘If intensive mothering is related to so many negative mental health outcomes, why do women do it?
“They may think that it makes them better mothers, so they are willing to sacrifice their own mental health to enhance their children’s cognitive, social and emotional outcomes.”