“I Hate Being A Mom!” How To Deal When Parenting Is Hard
By: Tanisha Herrin
Updated August 05, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Fawley
Parenting is arguably the hardest job in the world. Sometimes it's thankless and endless. The responsibility leaves many parents feeling overwhelmed. It's easy to feel weighed down by the pressure, burdened by fear of failure, and unappreciated for all of the unseen things you do to keep things running smoothly at home. Combine that with a general sense of fatigue and a lack of free time, it's normal to occasionally think, "I hate being a mom."
Acknowledging How Parenting Affects You
Different aspects of motherhood bring up unpleasant feelings such as frustration, confusion, and unwanted pressure. Whether you're a first-time mom or a seasoned parent, everyone goes through transitional struggles and hard times. But if you can't seem to come out of the fog or if you continue to wrestle with unhappiness, consider exploring your feelings further. 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.
You're Not the Only Mom Feeling This Way
There is no shame in expressing your emotions, even if they're unpleasant. If you're a mother struggling with persistent low mood, tearfulness, feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate, extreme fatigue, low motivation, or other concerning symptoms, you can and will get better. You have options for support, including parenting support groups, online counseling, in-person therapy, and connecting with family and friends who care, can support you, and can relate to what you're going through. Even though it doesn't feel like it, being a mom makes you an everyday superhero. Who else besides a superhero could deal with nonstop energy, messes, and opportunities to save the day, every day? You got this.
Common Reasons behind an Unhappy Parenthood
There are many reasons why mothers may feel unhappy from time to time. Sometimes, it's just a lonely job. It's common for mothers to have to deal with issues alone, especially if they're a single parent. Even though there are valid reasons why moms experience emotional struggles, it's still important to acknowledge them. Here are five things that often make parenting difficult for mothers.
- Fatigue. When you're tired, everything is exacerbated. A lack of sleep has a significant effect on brain functioning and is even linked to clinical depression. Restorative sleep is necessary for brain health, and if you're not able to get adequate sleep, it could affect the way you function, both physically and mentally.
- Relationship problems. No matter how good a relationship is, children make things more complicated. No two people have the same opinions on every situation, and adding children to the mix creates more opportunities for disagreements on topics like childrearing and the division of household labor. Thanks to the added stress, the daily pressures of raising children can be a perfect recipe for relational discord. With a child around, especially a small child that is dependent on you, there is less time and energy to focus on your partner. It may lead to resentment when your own emotional or physical needs feel unmet by your partner. Adjusting to parenthood means adjusting your relationship, too.
- Reduced sense of purpose or identity. If you gave up a meaningful activity to make room for motherhood, you may miss your job, volunteer projects, time with friends, or your regular workout routine. A part of your sense of self may have been stripped away for the time being. You have a new identity-you're a mother--but often it can feel like the other parts of your life get lost for a while.
- The pressure to be perfect. Raising children can feel like a heavy burden. For many of us, it is the most important thing we have ever done, so we run ourselves into the ground trying to be perfect. We don't want to accidentally make an irreversible mistake that will somehow harm our child's development. In the pursuit of parental perfection, you add an intense, unrelenting amount of pressure to your job as a parent. Our society also perpetuates many unhelpful myths about what it means to be a "good" or perfect mother. These myths are not based in reality, but if you feel like you're not measuring up, that feeling can contribute to self-defeating thoughts and beliefs that make things even harder for you.
- The job is more challenging than many realize. Being a mother is a round-the-clock job with little or no vacation time. There is always work to be done. Like every job, there are unpleasant tasks that must be completed. Let's face it--changing diapers and cleaning up vomit are not fun. Your children naturally cry and throw tantrums, and it sometimes feels like, despite your best efforts, your children are not happy. It's normal for children to exhibit challenging behavior as they grow and develop, but it can be difficult to know what to do when they're acting out and testing limits.
- Your child exhibits some disruptive behaviors. It's important to note that if your child displays certain disruptive behaviors (such as consistently refusing to follow rules), it is not your fault. In fact, one of the most common mental health issues affecting young children are disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs). If your child is struggling with symptoms of DBDs, it is not a reflection on you as a parent. Instead, it is an opportunity for you to be a nurturing parent by seeking appropriate treatment. Research shows that online therapy can help reduce symptoms of DBDs in children. Not all online therapy platforms will treat children, so you should make sure that your child's age group is accepted. If your child is in between the ages of 13-18 years old, you may want to consider BetterHelp's sister platform (TeenCounseling), which is dedicated to serving this age group.
What You Can Do to Make Things Easier
Parenting doesn't have to be painful, but it does require you to be aware of your feelings and to pinpoint actions you can take to make the difficult things easier for yourself. Sometimes taking a step back and assessing the situation may help you to see things you didn't notice before or at least give you another perspective to consider. Here are a few suggestions other moms have found helpful.
Be honest. Choose a small group of safe people in your life, and share your thougths with them. Be honest about how you are feeling. You may be surprised by how understanding they are; you will likely find that many relate to your experiences personally. Keeping your thoughts inside increases your feelings of shame, which leads to further self-loathing.
Make time to take care of yourself. Identify small things you would like to do to make yourself feel better. Would you like to start exercising? Do you want to have coffee with your friends once a month? Do you just want to sit and read a book? Craft a plan to make that happen. If you cannot get out of the house, it is important to find a short amount of time for yourself every day. Take a long shower, have a cup of tea by yourself, or take a walk around the block to clear your head.
Let go of perfection. Accept that perfection is impossible and that you will need to let some things slide in order to preserve your personal happiness and mental health. Let the house be a little messier than you might normally accept. Allow your kids to watch an extra show, so you can drink your coffee in peace if this will make you feel more capable of mothering overall. Let go of the guilt you feel when you cannot be the perfect mother. You're doing the best you can.
Communicate your needs clearly. Your partner is not a mind-reader. Choose your words carefully, and express how you are feeling. Be specific about what you need from him/her. Say something like, "I'm struggling right now, and I want to feel better. Do you think you could cook dinner every Thursday to help me?" Then, remind them gently as the day approaches -- do not just expect them to remember.
How BetterHelp Can Support You
Coping with the ups and downs of parenting can be easier with expert guidance from BetterHelp online counselors. They know parenting is a stressful job and want to help you gain useful tools and resources to make things better. These counselors understand that parents need an outlet to express their emotions and sort out their feelings, so they can focus on providing for their families. Experiencing frustration as a parent is common, and you don't have to keep your thoughts to yourself.
Sharing your feelings with an expert is a productive way of dealing with them. You'll also set an example for your family on how to manage emotions in a healthy way. With BetterHelp, you can discuss your situation in confidence when it is convenient for you. Learn how others have benefited from working with an online counselor by reading the following reviews, from people experiencing similar issues.
"I've been using betterhelp for a while now and have really enjoyed working with Rachel. I'm a mom to a young child and having the ability to message her or schedule live sessions is a game changer. She is very kind and attentive to my feelings and concerns and gives me helpful insight. I have genuinely appreciated her support and benefited greatly from spending time working with her."
"Lisa helped me deal with some postpartum issues I've been having since the birth of my youngest son 8 months ago, particularly anxiety. She gave me the proper tools to use to recognize my triggers and equipped me with techniques for managing them in a more positive way. In only two months, she has helped me snap out of my mom funk, and for that I am eternally grateful. If you are dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety like I was (still am sometimes), I definitely recommend talking to Lisa."
While meeting the needs of your children is a priority, taking care of your personal needs and getting adequate emotional support is also a priority. The advice and suggestions in this article show that you don't have to go through parenting difficulties alone. Strengthen your parenting abilities by applying these valuable tools and resources, so you can fully enjoy your role as a parent. Take the first step today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does anyone regret becoming a mother?
If you find yourself thinking, “I hate being a mom.” you may feel that you’re the only one that feels that way. However, there are other moms that struggle with feeling the same way that you do. It may have started during pregnancy. Pregnancy can be challenging and leave women feeling like they aren’t themselves any more. This can make it difficult to be excited about giving birth, picking out baby names, baby food, and everything else that comes with being a mother.
You may miss the things that you used to have time for before becoming a mom. You may miss the way that your body was before being pregnant. Pregnancy may have been a surprise for you. Or, you may have been trying but then feel surprised that you aren’t enjoying motherhood the way you had expected.
You may also struggle with motherhood because of the intense pressure that it adds to your life. Social media like Pinterest has created a new pressure on moms to feel that they have to create the perfect lives to be social media worthy. Children’s birthday parties are no longer cake and ice cream, they now have to be heavily themed from the invitation to the goody bag. Baby names have to be purposeful, meaningful, and newsworthy. Everything has become about what’s best on social. Security of a healthy baby and family seems to fall in comparison to making sure that everything looks just right for the judging eyes of others.
If you regret becoming a mother, you’re not the only one to have felt that way before. And, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be a mother. It may mean that you would benefit from meeting with a mental health professional like a licensed therapist.
Why do some mothers dislike their daughters?
There are several different reasons why some mothers dislike their daughters. It could be that they resent the responsibility that comes with being a mom. While some women can’t wait to pick out baby names, enjoy pregnancy, learn to make baby food, and things like that, there are some who may not have wanted to stay at home and raise children. They may not want to do all the things that come with parenting. Parenting may feel like a challenge for them and they end up taking it out on their children.
There are also some mothers that are jealous of their daughters. Maybe they feel they have missed out on opportunities that their adult child is getting to have. They don’t enjoy being a mom because they are more consumed with their jealousy. Their daughter’s social media may be filled with fun exciting posts showing an adventurous life and the mother may feel like she missed out on those opportunities to start a family.
Sometimes this happens because the mother is a narcissist. She lacks the emotional maturity to focus on her daughter instead of herself. This can cause tension in the relationship along with emotional hurt to the daughter.
If you’re struggling with your feelings toward your daughter, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist for help exploring where your feelings are coming from and how to properly address them in a healthy way.
Is being a mom worth it?
Some women cannot wait to be a mom. They can’t wait for things like choosing baby names, baby showers and handling all of the newborn care. They enjoy the benefits of being a mom so much that it makes things like learning how to sleep train, using breast pumps, potty training, symptoms from pregnancy, baby food stains and sleepless nights worth it. You may have even heard a woman that couldn’t stand being pregnant say that she would do it again in a second once she holds her baby in her arms.
But this isn’t the experience for everyone, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you don’t feel this way. There are some women who secretly think, “I hate being a mom.” but don’t want to tell anyone because they feel that it makes them a bad person. There are many reasons why you may feel like this. You are allowed to feel your own feelings even if they aren’t what you expected to feel.
If you’re struggling with the responsibilities of being a mom or feel disconnected from your children, talking to a therapist may help. If you are a new mom, whether you loved pregnancy, pregnancy health was good or if you struggled from the time you found out you were pregnant, your feelings could be caused from postpartum depression.
Is 30 too old to be a mom?
People have children at all different ages. Some women have babies young and others are older when they first become a mom. It could be that they struggled to become pregnant. Or, it could be that you had other things you wanted to accomplish before becoming a new mom. There is no right or wrong age at which to be a mom. The most important thing is that you’re ready for parenting. Parenting can be a challenge and there are some advantages to being in your thirties instead of still a teenager or in your early twenties when becoming a mom.
Some women find that they are more financially stable and ready to take on having children when they’re in their 30s. Affording things like car seats, diapers, and being able to stay at home can be an easier reality. You may also find that as an older mom, you understand more about health, baby development and the practical things like how to handle getting a social security number for your baby. Some of the things that would seem like a big deal to you as a younger mom, may be easier to handle in your 30s.
Some people worry that if they wait to become a mom, their adult child will have old parents which will make things more difficult on them. But this tends to be a concern that is bigger in people’s minds than what it is in reality.
Why do mothers and daughters clash?
There can be many reasons why mothers and daughters clash. Many times, it can be caused by jealousy from the mom. It can be a struggle as you get older to see your daughter enjoying the things that you used to enjoy but no longer can. You may feel threatened as you age and your daughter blossoms into adulthood. It can also be difficult to watch new opportunities open for your daughter that you feel you missed out on. If you’re not careful, this can cause you to feel resentment towards your daughter.
Society can also make it more difficult for mothers and daughters to get along. There is a misconception floating around that mothers and daughters should be the best of friends as the daughter ages. This is unrealistic and not true for many people. Believing this myth can but unneeded pressure on the mother-daughter relationship.
Do mothers love their sons more than daughters?
There are studies that have found mothers tend to be more critical of their daughters than they are their sons. It’s believed that a lot of this is learned behavior that is passed down from generation to generation. Only a couple generations ago in the United States, mothers were expected to put all of their own needs and desires second to that of their family. They were expected to stay at home instead of pursuing careers. It can be difficult for a mother who has done this to watch her daughter go in a different direction.
It’s also believed that mothers are critical of their daughters because they are a reflection of them. They put the pressures that they feel on their daughters as well. So, it’s not necessarily that a mother loves a son more than a daughter, but she may be more likely to be easier on him as he grows and throughout child development and into adult years.
Why are mothers so critical of daughters?
There are many reasons why mothers may be critical of their daughters. It can be that they believe their daughters are a direct reflection on them. So, they want their daughters to be as “perfect” as possible. Mothers often feel this pressure and put it on themselves and so they pass that down unknowingly to their daughters as well.
It can also be that mothers want their daughters to succeed and be happy in life. They feel that they need to push them to keep becoming better and pursuing more so they can take advantages of the opportunities that they’ve been given.
Some mothers are critical of their daughters because of jealousy as well. It’s one thing to enjoy the fun parts of parenting like thinking up baby names, baby smiles, and the funny things they do as they grow. But when a daughter begins to mature into a grown adult and starts to receive attention at the same time the mother is aging and feels like she is losing the attention that she used to have, it can be difficult. She may take this frustration out on her daughter.
If you feel that you may be too critical of your daughter, or if you deal with an overly critical mom, talking to a therapist can help. You can do individual sessions or you may benefit from doing sessions together to work on improving your relationship.
What is narcissistic mother syndrome?
A narcissistic mother is a woman that has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This is a mental health disorder that can make healthy relationships difficult or almost impossible without addressing the behaviors that the disorder causes.
A person with NPD believes that the world should revolve around them. They expect to be in control and want others to cater to their needs. They come across strong and confident but tend to have low self-esteem underneath it all. Parents with NPD have a difficult time emotionally caring for their children because they often struggle with emotions and lack empathy for others.
Why do parents love the younger child more?
Kids usually think that their parents favor a sibling over them. Most kids feel that a brother or sister is the one that has the easier life because their parents demand less of them and give them their way more. There have been studies done that find most parents will not admit to having a favorite, but the ones that do, a slight majority indicate it’s the youngest child because they’re an easier child.
However, it’s important to consider that favoring one child over the other doesn’t mean that a parent loves one child more than the other. It’s normal that parents have different types of relationships with each child because each child is an individual. It’s not possible for everything to always be fair or the same between them.