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Home » Why Moms Are Miserable: Sheryl Ziegler (Transcript)

Why Moms Are Miserable: Sheryl Ziegler (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript and summary of Sheryl Ziegler’s talk titled “Why Moms Are Miserable” at TEDxWilmingtonWomen conference.

In this talk, author Sheryl Ziegler discusses the issues of loneliness and lack of fulfillment among mothers, highlighting that these feelings are still prevalent today. She emphasizes the importance of meaningful human connections and the negative impact of social isolation on women’s well-being. Ziegler urges mothers to prioritize spending time with female friends, make new connections, and build a supportive community to combat this problem.

Listen to the audio version here:


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. Sure, we’ve come a long way since the 1950s, but the feeling of loneliness and lack of fulfillment is still the same today. In 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.”

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