Just because we had the kids does not mean that parenting is all we thought it would be. What do you do if you hate being a parent?
“But I don’t want to do any of this. I don’t want to parent at all. I thought I wanted kids, I did want kids, I had absolutely no idea what it would be like and that I would hate parenting. I don’t hate my kids, I hate parenting, it’s not just sometimes it’s in general. This was not what I thought it would be. I don’t want to play with them, I did not think that I had to, my mom never did, I played with my sisters. I ate the food in front of me, I was over-joyed to have new shoes. I wish I could work 12 hours/day, 7 days a week and come home and snuggle them for 15 minutes at bedtime. I hatE everything else, but what do you do when you have already committed by literally having them?” ~ Unhappy
I don’t even know how to write this post. Not because I don’t understand where this parent is coming from but because I really do. I think, if we are honest with ourselves, we all hate it sometimes. The constant job of having to take care of someone else, help with homework, take care of the chores. It can be overwhelming. Truth be told, I felt more like this when I was married than I ever have as a single mom. I know, that seems odd. But it is the truth. I felt like my ex was so much work that the kids suffered. That made me hate being a parent. I didn’t feel I was good enough, to be honest. I didn’t feel like I could balance and put the time in the girls needed. It really affected my self esteem.
But now, almost 3 years later, I absolutely love being a mom. I have my moments, as anyone does and have walked to the bus stop grateful they go to school some days, but generally I adore taking care of these three girls. I can not imagine life without them and I feel so blessed that I can work from home and be available for whatever they may need.
But I would bet that there are a lot of parents out there that feel exactly like ‘Unhappy’ does. When she commented on my piece on 5 Things to do When You Don’t want to Parent Anymore, I am sure that she posted anonymously for the fear of backlash. Because the overwhelming theory is that we, as moms and dads, are supposed to want to take care of our kids. No matter what. Or we should not have had them. Which is ridiculous because none of us knew what parenting really was until we had them!
While this may be a popular opinion, the truth is, parenting is hard. Parenting is draining. Parenting is exhausting. Parenting changes who you think you are as a person. Parenting changes, literally, everything.
Before I became a mom I had built a life for me. I owned a house, had a new car, traveled anywhere I wanted, used my free time for what I loved and to spoil myself. I actually was OK with never having kids as my life was just about perfect, I thought, at the time. It was not until my early 30’s when the panic set in that I may never be able to have kids that I settled for the first guy that would not leave and started my family.
Sometimes, after a long day of arguments with kids who really should be lawyers, messes to clean up for the 80th time, meals that are prepared with love and hated before they are tasted, bedtime routines that always last longer than they should, I do think back to those days. The relaxing evenings where I could meet a friend for a drink at a swanky bar without having to worry if there was a kids menu. The weekends of waking up to go to the most social coffee house. The money that was allocated for my spur of the moment trip to New York. I do miss them at times. I do. Judge me for saying so but there are days.
But honestly, if I still had that life I would have missed out on so much more. The first smile. The first step. The little hugs around my neck that were so big. The bedtime stories. The school play. The need for me that is so great they would not know what to do without it. All those things that make the stress and worry and pain of parenting a good thing. I would not trade anything in the world for those moments.
I told this mom that the reason she ate what was in front of her and the reason she got excited over new shoes is because her mom taught her to. That sometimes when we think we are not making a difference, we are. That time passes too quickly and when they are gone, she may want them back.
I also said it is OK to hate parenting. We all do sometimes. But we do it anyway. Because, in the end, we will only remember the good. That the constant barrage of chores and schedules and to-do list will dissipate and we will be able to work 7 days a week because it will feel like we only see them for 15 minutes every so often anymore. That it is OK to only want the snuggles. Those are what matter most anyway. And that, in the end, it really is all worth it. Just hang in there because it goes by fast.
I really did not know what else to say.
What would you have said?
What makes parenting worth it if you aren’t getting hugs and kisses? And if she has never said, “I love you?” And half the time, she doesn’t even look at you?
I’m just gonna vent:
I feel like it’ll get easier once the kids get older and more coherent. I feel that way because my son is mostly good, and when he does nightmare things and sees the look on my face or the tone of my voice, he gets emotional and I believe it’s because he hates to disappoint me. I always hug and kiss him and pick him up and walk around with him but most of the day I want him to leave me alone. I let him play all day long with his many toys and keep both TVs on so he’s always too distracted to bother me. And it’s still not enough for me? I truly think that’s because my mother abused me and didn’t love me. I’m a little different than her, being abused made me more compassionate and when I think I might be making my son feel unloved I feel so guilty and instantly wanna love him, so I do. I think this is confusing for him, but even if lose it and always need my space, that’s still better than my mother going out of the way every day to make me feel her pain. But the less he needs me, the better it’ll get. The less he relies on me to feed, change and entertain him the better it’ll get. It’ll be bittersweet because I loved him so much and it really saddens me that I couldn’t enjoy his babyhood while I had the chance. He’s 3 now. I know him growing is a good thing because I deal with coherant people better – I know what to say to make them feel comfortable. But holding you for hours and feeding you and smelling your poop when I haven’t slept? Sigh. I wish I had been rich enough for a nanny. If I had gotten the rest/breaks I needed and had more resources for my health and fitness, I would’ve probably loved it because babies are so cute I’ve always wanted one. I’m never going to have another baby… I think it’s really bad for you actually. Like people who don’t have kids are statistically happier and have a better quality of life so it does a job on us. The worst of it is that when you go half on a baby with a man, you expect him to be present but he’s not! He’s not as excited about the baby as you, not as soft and caring with the baby so you don’t trust him to do half the work alone. If you don’t do something, it won’t get done so you CANT really trust him to take care of the baby. No one can love or care for your baby as much as you unless they genuinely love babies or are decent grandparents. Even my abusive mom still hates me but is obsessed with my cute baby. Having her so close to my baby makes it possible for me to have a long break but it drives me nuts because she spanks him at times on the hand or butt when even I don’t do that! I don’t want her absuive ways so being at her mercy makes it even worse. I just want to get away from her and keep her away from my child. In addition to allthis, we live in a superficial world where you’re judged MAINLY for your looks and accomplishments or status (because people with status don’t really need to accomplish much of anything). And thanks to having a baby at 22 and falling into postpartum depression and not having the means to really treat it, you’re stuck in a fat mom body and have bags under your eyes and feel like you’re about 90 and could sleep for two days straight when you used to be energetic and full of anxious wonder of the world. Now you can’t even find joy in the things you loved. So you try to get it back and it never feels the same. All your friends have moved on cause they’ve been on birth control since they were 15, their moms already knew what was up. Not our dumb ass, hypocritical, abusive moms. Nah they just expected us to never have sex. Well, in my case, my mom never loved me and gave me 30 days to leave her home so I moved in with a cute guy I met who had his own home and car and thought it would be fine until I got pregnant. I didn’t know how easy it was to get birth control lol. But BC is also bad for you (Depo causes osteoporosis which is why I’m always in pain around my knees and back). Just…. so many things. If my mom had given a shit about me, I could’ve been taught about these things and prepared, but she didn’t. Also I’m now stuck with a baby. I’m stuck because I never wanted kids in my early 20s. Like my plan from my teens was to get married and wait until I was married for 5 years. That was my ideal. It didn’t happen that way because I wasn’t groomed for it. Families like that are designed. Abortions are had, birth control. Not by chance most times. Anyways, I’m also stuck because I couldn’t give my son away if I tried. I’ve thought about it, but my love for him outweighs any annoyance he causes, besides, I’m not mat at HIM. I’m mad at the circumstances before and surrounding him. I’m mad because all of this comes back to his little life and not getting the mother and father HE deserves. I can’t let him go down like that so no matter how many times I fall, I will get back up. My goal is to somehow make more money within the next year. Because I really want my son to have a great life and if I could afford a nanny, afford to leave my mother in the past for good, I know I’d have a real shot at being one of those really loving moms we all wished we had. Like Yolanda Hadid is the perfect example. I want to give my son that. Wealth, trips, easy careers and endless emotional support. Goals. Well this was me venting years worth of thoughts, hope someone can relate.
Wow…..I could have written this. Anyway if you want to talk My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a 2 year old that just hit her head on the wall behind the couch after I told her to sit down like a million times.
I wish I could tell you it does get easier. My eleven year old is currently so hateful to me that I am hiding in my room. I don’t really care what she is doing at the moment and if she wasn’t here I wouldn’t be that sad. She can be a great kid and is super smart, creative and funny but she is extremely emotional and hateful and I’d rather do just about anything than be her mother.
Well, that didn’t go well.