Let’s face the truth: motherhood isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes, it feels like an endless cycle of sleepless nights, tantrums, and never-ending laundry. And in those moments, you might catch yourself thinking, “I hate being a mom.” I hate to admit it, but I often… like multiple times a week don’t feel like “moming.” Being a mom is hard. It’s exhausting. And while I love my children more than anything, I often reminisce on the independence, THE TIME (like so much free time) I had for myself, for my interests, for my friends, for my husband, before kids. It’s hard to feel the dependency on you constantly for physical and emotional support. Some moms thrive off of this feeling of being needed, but it more often than not stresses me out. It’s hard to feel tired all the time, from trying to juggle your career, your social life, your marriage, your kids activities, your family obligations. It’s hard to be a perfectionist, when perfection isn’t achievable in your current season of life.
But before you drown yourself in guilt, let’s get one thing clear: It’s okay to feel this way.
- I Hate Being a Mom…Is That Normal?
- Acknowledging Motherhood Guilt
- The Challenges of Motherhood
- Parenting Strategies When You Don’t Feel Like “Moming”
- Seeking Help
I Hate Being a Mom…Is That Normal?
We’ve all been there. After a long day of tantrums, diaper changes, and little-to-no sleep, you may find yourself thinking, “I hate being a mom.” Before you label yourself as a bad person, let’s take a deep breath and remember that every new mom goes through rough times.
Is it normal to feel this way? In short, yes. These feelings are more common than you think. It’s like being caught in a tug of war between your heart, which is brimming with love for your kids, and your mind, which is screaming for some peace and solitude. I’ve been caught in the dichotomy of craving adventure and slow living for the past year. So, when you feel like you’re the worst mom in the world for wanting a breather, remember you’re human too, not just a mom. And it’s okay to miss the life you once had.
Believe it or not, feeling this way can make you a better mom. Recognizing feelings of discontent is the first step towards creating a balance between your personal identity and the demands of motherhood. These feelings can be a wake-up call to seek help, make changes, and take care of yourself. In fact, acknowledging these feelings can make you a more understanding and empathetic parent. It’s okay to say “I hate being a mom” sometimes. It’s a sign that you’re acknowledging the challenges and are willing to do the hard work towards meaningful change and finding what you truly want your journey in motherhood to look like.
Acknowledging Motherhood Guilt
Welcome to the breeding ground of guilt: motherhood. The constant pressure to be the perfect parent weighs heavily on many moms, especially with the influence of social media. Platforms like Instagram present an idealized version of parenthood, with picture-perfect moments that can make any mom feel inadequate. It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, especially when you see a high school acquaintance effortlessly juggling it all. But here’s the reality: Instagram is just a highlight reel. It showcases the best moments while hiding the struggles and imperfections that every mom faces. The last thing I’m doing when Caden is throwing a tantrum is pulling out my phone to record it and share with the world. So, cut yourself some slack and remember that being a mom is about doing your best, not about living up to unrealistic expectations. You’re doing great!
The Challenges of Motherhood
Motherhood is an incredibly challenging journey. We’ve all experienced those moments of exhaustion, burnout, and the overwhelming feeling of being a bad mom. It’s not just about the never-ending diaper changes or managing tantrums. It’s about the unspoken mental load of parenthood, the relentless worry that consumes our thoughts, and the constant guilt for not living up to society’s ideal image of a ‘good mom’. The emotional rollercoaster of motherhood is complex and nuanced, filled with both overwhelming love and moments of self-doubt. It’s a journey that requires immense strength, resilience, and compassion for ourselves as we navigate the uncharted waters of raising tiny humans.
Loss of Identity
Motherhood is a profound shift in a woman’s life that can lead to a loss of personal identity. You might find yourself yearning for the days when you were an individual, not just “Mom.” As priorities and responsibilities change dramatically, it’s common to feel like a part of your sense of self has been stripped away for the time being. This identity shift can be difficult to navigate and may lead to thoughts like “I hate being a mom.” However, it’s important to remember that these feelings are valid and that it’s possible to find balance and reclaim a sense of self within the role of motherhood. And as I shared in my newsletter, Top of Mind, contrary to what society suggests (and what I definitely believed), motherhood is not about losing yourself, but rather, a journey towards discovering your authentic self. Motherhood gave me the patience to gain perspective and the confidence to take action. It compelled me to view myself not as the world wanted me to be, but as who I am. It clarified my values, boundaries, vulnerabilities, passions, and purpose.
Beyond simply hating their current season of life, many mothers mourn the loss of their former selves and the life they once led. They long for the days when they could immerse themselves in a book without interruptions, sleep until late on lazy weekends, work late at the office without pressure of coming home, attend early morning workouts, or indulge in spontaneous date nights. These seemingly small pleasures contribute to the overall sense of regret that some parents experience.
Physical and Emotional Fatigue
Parenting is an around-the-clock commitment, resulting in physical exhaustion and emotional fatigue. The pressure to be perfect can make raising children feel like a heavy burden. You’re often running on little sleep, juggling household duties, and managing emotional highs and lows, all of which can drain your energy. The lack of sleep, coupled with the emotional energy required to meet your child’s needs, can leave you feeling drained and depleted. This exhaustion can make even simple tasks feel daunting and add to the already overwhelming feelings of being a mom. Being a parent can feel like a 24/7 job with no vacation time, adding to the challenges and stress of parenting.
Feelings of fatigue and overwhelm are completely normal and do not define your worth as a parent.
Raising children is expensive, and the financial burden of parenthood can be overwhelming at times. Between diapers, formula, clothing, and education costs, it’s not uncommon for mothers to experience financial stress and worry about providing for their family. This can lead to feelings of guilt and frustration as you may have to sacrifice your own wants and needs for the well-being of your children.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, dedicating your time and energy to caring for your family, these feelings can be even more intense. The lack of financial independence, or one’s “own money,” and adjusting to this new role can sometimes lead to regret and resentment. But it’s important to recognize and address these emotions because they are valid and deserve attention and support.
Balancing Career and Family
Balancing a successful career with the joys and responsibilities of motherhood is an ongoing challenge faced by many moms. It is a delicate tightrope walk that often comes with the weight of mom guilt – that nagging feeling that we should be doing more or better in both areas. Whether working full time or part time, striving for excellence in our professional pursuits while nurturing our children can take a significant emotional toll and leave us feeling inadequate at times. The constant pressure to perform well at work while also attending to the ever-changing needs of our families can be overwhelming and exhausting. It is not uncommon for us to question our abilities as we strive to meet the seemingly unrealistic expectations of “having it all.” It is important to recognize that we are doing our best and that it is okay to ask for support when needed. By acknowledging the challenges and seeking a balance that works for us, we can navigate this journey with grace and resilience.
Loss of Social Life
As a mother, your social life may take a backseat as you prioritize caring for your child, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially in the early years. You may find yourself gradually drifting away from your old social circles, as the demands of motherhood consume most of your time and energy. It’s not uncommon to feel that your friends without children struggle to comprehend your new reality and the challenges you face on a daily basis. The lack of free time, low motivation, and constant exhaustion often leave moms with little opportunity to engage in activities they used to enjoy or spend quality time with friends. Juggling the responsibilities of motherhood while trying to maintain meaningful relationships can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this journey. By seeking support from other moms, exploring online communities, or joining local parenting groups, you can find solace, understanding, and a sense of camaraderie in the shared experiences of motherhood.
The arrival of a child can also put strain on your marriage as you navigate through the new responsibilities and challenges that come with parenthood. The added demands and lack of time for each other can create tension, distance, and increased stress between partners, impacting the dynamics of your relationship. It may require extra effort, patience, and understanding to maintain a strong and healthy bond amidst the changes. With a child around, there may be less time to focus solely on your partner, and you may find yourselves needing to adjust your relationship dynamics or expectations as your family grows. It’s important to communicate openly, prioritize quality time together, and find ways to support each other in this transformative journey of parenthood.
As a mother, it’s only natural to constantly worry about your child’s well-being. You find yourself deeply concerned about their health and safety, always striving to provide them with the best education and a bright future. These worries can often weigh heavily on your mind, creating a constant state of anxiety that can be overwhelming. And when coupled with postpartum depression, even the smallest of things can feel like insurmountable obstacles. It’s important to acknowledge that this constant state of worry can be draining and take a toll on your mental health, which is why it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed.
The Pressure of Perfection
In today’s world of social media and Pinterest-perfect moms, there’s an overwhelming amount of pressure to meet the unrealistic standards of being a perfect parent. From picture-perfect moments to flawless parenting tips, it’s easy to feel inadequate when comparing yourself to these carefully curated images. These comparisons can sometimes lead to negative thoughts and the occasional feeling of “I hate being a mom.” However, it’s important to remember that these images only showcase a small portion of reality and often fail to capture the everyday challenges and triumphs of parenting. Embracing imperfections and focusing on the genuine moments of joy and growth can help navigate through the sea of expectations and find your own unique path as a parent.
Parenting Strategies When You Don’t Feel Like “Moming”
Delegating household tasks can be a major relief for busy moms who feel overwhelmed by the pressure of juggling all responsibilities. This can involve sharing chores with your partner, older children, or even hiring help when possible. Remember, it’s not a sign of weakness, but rather a strategic move to ensure you can prioritize your well-being and still have time for yourself and your interests. By distributing the workload, you create a supportive environment that fosters teamwork and allows everyone in the family to contribute and feel a sense of accomplishment.
And even more importantly, delegate childhood responsibilities when available. Divide and conquer the day with your partner. I often felt like I couldn’t leave my baby for longer than 20 minutes, even when my husband told me to go workout. Allow yourself to not feel guilty taking time for yourself. And if your partner is unable to take on more, there is no shame in hiring a babysitter to get you the additional support you need to accomplish the “me-time” you are craving.
2. Let Go of Perfection
Perfection can oftentimes become a mother’s worst enemy, adding undue pressure and stress. It’s important to realize that not every task requires a perfect result, whether it’s house cleaning, meal prepping, or the kids’ homework. Embracing the beauty of imperfection can lead to a more relaxed and stress-free lifestyle, carving out more time for self-care and personal growth. Give yourself permission to prioritize progress over perfection and focus on the joy of the process rather than the end result.
3. Get Moving
Physical movement is key in maintaining both physical and mental wellness, especially for moms who are constantly taking care of others. From a swift walk to a yoga class, or hopping on your Peloton bike, just 20 minutes of movement can help boost your energy, mood, and overall well-being. Find activities that you enjoy and that fit into your schedule, and make them a regular part of your routine. Not only will it benefit your physical health, but it will also provide you with a much-needed break and an opportunity to recharge.
4. Eat Nourishing Food
Nourishing your body with unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods is another essential self-care strategy. These types of foods not only fuel your body but also support your overall health. Make a conscious effort to prioritize whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. This will allow your body the nourishment it needs to function optimally. Experiment with new recipes, meal planning, and mindful eating to make the experience enjoyable and satisfying.
5. Create Daily Rituals
Creating and maintaining daily rituals can bring a sense of comfort and happiness to your day. These can be as simple as listening to your favorite podcast while brushing your teeth, following a quick and simple makeup routine, or even savoring that morning cup of coffee. These small moments of joy can create a positive start to your day and help you establish a sense of routine and stability amidst the chaos of motherhood. Personalize your rituals to suit your preferences and make them a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.
6. Establish Connection
Motherhood can sometimes feel isolating. It’s important to seek out and foster connections with others, especially fellow moms who understand exactly what you’re going through. Engaging regularly with a supportive community can make a significant difference to your emotional well-being. Join local parenting groups, online communities, or participate in social activities that align with your interests. Connecting with others allows you to share experiences, seek advice, and find solace in knowing that you’re not alone on this journey.
7. Find Your Sense of Purpose
Lastly, finding a sense of purpose outside of your responsibilities as a mom can greatly contribute to your personal growth and happiness. Whether learning a new skill, pursuing a hobby, or engaging in volunteer work, these pursuits can ignite your passion and make you feel more fulfilled. Explore your interests, set goals, and dedicate time to activities that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. By nurturing your own sense of purpose, you become a role model for your children and show them the importance of pursuing their passions.
If these coping strategies aren’t giving you the comfort you need, it’s time to acknowledge that it’s totally okay to seek professional help, such as online therapy. Psychologists, therapists, and counselors can help navigate these complex emotions. They provide valuable strategies to manage stress, address guilt, and, most importantly, offer a judgment-free space to be heard. Online therapy, in particular, can be a convenient option for busy moms who find themselves at home with their kids. It allows you to call, message, or video call your therapist when it’s most convenient. Additionally, online therapy has been proven as effective as in-person therapy.
If your feelings of discontent are overwhelming, consider seeking professional help. Therapists can provide strategies and tools to help you cope with the challenges of motherhood. Remember, seeking support is not a sign of weakness, but an act of strength and self-awareness.
Joining a support group can be a great way to connect with other moms who are going through similar experiences. You’ll be reminded you’re not alone in your journey, and saying “I hate being a mom” does not make you a failure.
Featured Image by Gustavo Fring