I Hate Being A Parent: How To Deal When Parenting Feels Impossible
Caring for another human being leaves many parents overwhelmed and wondering how to "be better." They may feel weighed down by pressure, burdened by fear of failure, and unappreciated for all the unseen things they do for their children.
Many parents are also juggling their own feelings on top of worrying about their children's feelings. Combined with potential fatigue and a lack of free time, parenting may feel stressful. You may say, "I hate being a parent," even when you know you love your children.
Acknowledging Being A Parent
Several aspects of being a parent may bring up unpleasant feelings. Many parents may go through transitional struggles or hard times. However, you might consider exploring your feelings further if you can't seem to come out of a fog or continue to wrestle with unhappiness.
Assess your situation, take notes on things you can change or improve, and get help from outside resources to manage your emotions while working through rough patches.
If you're a new parent, you may be experiencing post-partum depression. Post-partum depression is a serious condition that may cause feelings of inadequacy, prolonged and severe sadness, or worthlessness. Talk to your primary healthcare provider, ob-gyn, or mental health professional if you're experiencing intense sadness, anger, or guilt after birth. Remember, partners of any gender, non-biological, and adoptive parents may also experience this condition.
Depression is a highly treatable mental illness that many parents experience, whether they have a new baby or were recently pregnant. Some may also experience depression during pregnancy. Talking to a professional may be the first step to taking care of yourself, your mental health, and your baby.
You're Not The Only Parent Feeling This Way
Expressing your emotions can be beneficial, even if they feel unpleasant. You may feel that you hate parenting, even if you love your children. If you're a parent struggling with persistent low mood, tearfulness, feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate, low self-esteem, extreme fatigue, or low motivation, help is available.
Many parents have these feelings. You may decide to reach out for support to safeguard your mental health. Potential support options may include:
Parenting support groups
Family and friends who care and support you
Online parenting groups
Your primary care physician
Reasons Why Someone May Feel They Hate Being A Parent
There are several reasons why parents may feel unhappy from time to time. Many of these causes have potential methods you can take to feel better.
When you're tired, everything may feel worse. A lack of sleep significantly affects brain functioning and can be a catalyst for clinical depression. Restorative sleep is necessary for a healthy brain, and if you're unable to get adequate sleep, it could affect how you function, both physically and mentally.
For parents of a new baby, getting enough sleep may feel tricky. If you're the parent of a baby, your pediatrician may be able to offer healthy ways to begin to sleep train your baby once they're old enough so that you both can sleep well. Studies show that methods such as bedtime fading, positive routine, and scheduled awakenings are often practical and non-harmful ways to sleep-train a baby.
Children may make things more complicated regardless of the state of an intimate relationship. Adding children to a relationship may create more opportunities for disagreements on childrearing and the division of household labor.
With the added stress, the daily pressures of being a parent may be a recipe for relational discord. With a child around, there may be less time to focus on your partner. You may have to adjust your relationship or expectations.
If your partner is not helping with childrearing, or you're a single parent trying to co-parent, you may consider reaching out to a counselor to learn ways to co-parent effectively and take some of the stress off.
Reduced Sense Of Purpose Or Identity
If you gave up a meaningful activity to make room for being a parent, you might miss your job, volunteer projects, time with friends, or your regular workout routine. If you just had a baby or are raising children, part of your sense of self may have been stripped away for the time being, even if you wanted kids.
You may have a new identity as a mom, but feel like who you once were has been lost. Consider being kind to yourself and taking some time to adjust to the changes.
Ask yourself if any of your beliefs are potentially untrue. For example, you may believe you can no longer travel now that you have children. However, many families travel with children and can do so on a budget. It may feel harder to meet your goals, but they may still be possible to achieve.
Pressure To Be "Perfect"
Raising children may feel like a heavy burden. For many, raising a baby feels like one of the most critical tasks, so they become overly pressuring to themselves and try hard to be "perfect." You may want to avoid making an irreversible mistake that will harm your child's development.
You might also hear some myths about parenting. These myths could make you feel that you must improve or work harder. However, societal pressures may do more harm than good in your relationship with yourself and your child.
Consider being gentle to yourself, understanding that you are human, and telling yourself you're doing your best while still allowing yourself an opening for improvement if needed.
The Job Is Challenging
Being a parent can feel like a 24/7 job with no vacation time. There may always be work to be done with kids, whether you're a stay-at-home parent or work outside the home. There may be a multitude of tasks that you hate or can't stand about parenting.
Children may cry and throw tantrums, and it can feel that, despite your best efforts, your children aren't happy. It's normal for children to cry and feel emotional as they grow and develop, but it can be challenging to know what to do if there are immense behavioral concerns.
If you experience behavioral concerns with your child, you're not alone. There are resources to help you make the job of parenting easier.
How To Make Parenting Easier
Life as a parent may not have to be painful. However, you may need to be able to pinpoint your feelings and actions you can take to improve your situation.
Taking a step back and assessing your life may help you see things you didn't notice before or give you another perspective to consider.
Be honest about how you feel. Studies show that labeling your emotions, even if you don't process them, may help you feel better. Letting someone else know you hate being a parent may also help you feel better. Some individuals in your life may relate to your experience and be safe people to vent to.
Take Care Of Yourself
Identify small things you can do to make yourself feel better. Self-care is one effective way to improve your sense of wellness. Would you like to start exercising? Do you want to sit and read a book? Take a bubble bath? Craft a plan to make it happen.
Try not to feel guilty about taking care of yourself. You could set a healthy example for your children by caring for your health and wellness. They may see that self-soothing is an appropriate way to care for difficult emotions.
Let Go Of Perfection
Perfection is often unobtainable. You may need to let some things slide to preserve your happiness and mental health. For example, you might let the house be a little messier on the days you need to rest. Or you might decide to ask for help instead of trying to parent alone.
Consider working on letting go of any guilt you feel when you feel imperfect. If you're doing your best to meet your child's needs and care for your family and yourself, you may be doing enough.
Consider Professional Help
Coping with the ups and downs of being a parent may feel easier with expert guidance from a counselor. Counselors often understand that parents need an outlet to express their emotions and learn new skills. Many parents benefit from therapy. Research has shown that mothers who receive psychotherapy fare better, and their children benefit from their hard work.
You might consider online therapy if you often find yourself busy at home with your kids. Online therapy 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 you're ready to take the brave step of reaching out, online platforms such as BetterHelp may be a practical choice. If you're experiencing marriage concerns or relationship issues related to parenting, you may try couples therapy with an online therapist on a platform like ReGain.
While meeting your children's needs can be a priority, taking care of your personal needs and getting adequate emotional support can also be. If you hate parenting, you're not alone. However, help is available.
If you want to strengthen your parenting abilities, learn new coping mechanisms, or talk about your feelings with a professional, consider contacting a parenting counselor.