I Hate Being A Mom: Helpful Advice
Caring for another human being often leaves many moms feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to become a better mom. You may say, "I hate being a mom," even when you know you love your kid. They may experience mom guilt, be burdened by the fear of failure, and feel unappreciated for everything they do for their children.
Many parents, including women who become stay at home moms, are juggling their feelings and concerns on top of worrying about their children's emotions. Combined with mental and physical exhaustion, sleepless nights, and a lack of free or alone time, parenting may be stressful. Although being a parent can be frustrating and exhausting, many find it ultimately rewarding.
Acknowledging being a parent
Several aspects of being a parent may bring up unpleasant feelings, causing some to feel like a bad mom or a horrible mom. Many parents may go through transitional struggles or hard times from all the work. However, if you can't seem to find hope or joy in being a parent, consider exploring your feelings further to find out what’s wrong.
Assess your situation, take notes on things you can change or improve, and get help from other parents, other adults, or outside resources to manage your emotions while working through rough patches. A supportive partner can also make a world of difference.
If you're a new parent, you may be experiencing postpartum depression, characterized by intense feelings of sadness, mood swings, and guilt. This serious condition 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, as these can be symptoms of postpartum depression. Remember, partners of any gender, non-biological, and adoptive parents may also experience postpartum depression.
Depression is a highly treatable mental illness that many parents, including new moms and recently pregnant moms, experience. Some may also face depression during pregnancy. Talking to a professional, attending doctor's appointments, and connecting with other moms can be the first steps to enjoying motherhood, feeling happier, and taking care of yourself, your mental health, and your baby. It's important to realize that seeking support from a husband or a partner can also contribute to becoming a happier mom.
You're not the only parent feeling this way
Expressing your emotions can be beneficial, even if they feel unpleasant. If you're a parent struggling with persistent low mood, tearfulness, feelings of overwhelm, low self-esteem, extreme fatigue, or low motivation, help is available to become a good mom and feel happy.
Many parents have these feelings, including moments when they feel sad or overwhelmed, regret being a mom, or hate being a mother sometimes. You may decide to reach out for support to safeguard your mental health. Potential support options may include:
- Parenting support groups
- Online counseling
- In-person therapy
- Family and friends who care and support you
- Online parenting groups
- Your primary care physician
At this point, it's essential to understand that seeking help is a strength, not a weakness. Realizing that you don’t have to be a perfect mom and that asking others for help doesn’t make you a bad mom may make you feel better.
Reasons why someone may feel they hate being a mom/dad
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. If you hate being a mom, consider whether the following may be contributing to your thoughts and feelings.
If you’re awake at night worrying that you hate kids and you wonder why, it’s possible that you’re exhausted. 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. Motherhood can be draining, and sleep is often crucial to process everything you’re experiencing.
For parents of a new baby, getting enough sleep may feel tricky. Being the parent of a baby may mean you get less sleep than you're used to. 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. These methods may allow a new mom to get more restful sleep.
Relationship problems when being a mom
Children may make things more complicated regardless of the state of an intimate relationship. Being a parent in a relationship may create more opportunities for disagreements on childrearing and the division of household labor between partners.
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 as your family grows.
If your partner is not helping with childrearing, or if 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 parenthood (for example, if you recently became a stay-at-home mom), 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 speaking kindly to yourself and taking some time to adjust to the changes. Remember that you’re not “just” a mom but an entire unique individual.
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, and it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling like a bad mom. For many mothers, raising a baby feels like one of the most critical tasks, often experiencing heavy pressure and trying hard to be "perfect." You may want to avoid making an irreversible mistake that will harm your child's development. However, very few moms are perfect in reality.
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. Sometimes, feeling that you hate being a parent may indicate that you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to be perfect.
The job is challenging
Being a parent can feel like a new 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. Many moms, dads, and parents are going through similar situations. There are resources to help you make the job of parenting easier.
How to make parenting easier
Life as a parent, while challenging, can still contribute to a good life when balanced properly. 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, like a best friend, may have the same feelings and be safe people to vent to.
Take care of yourself
Identify small things you can do to make yourself feel better, such as taking a lunch break at a favorite restaurant or walking in a nearby park. Self-care is one effective way to improve your sense of wellness and look after your own needs. 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 mental health and overall 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 are doing enough. Being the best mom you can may look different for you than for others, so try not to compare yourself.
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. Most parents might benefit from therapy. Research has shown that mothers who receive psychotherapy fare better, and their children benefit from their hard work. You would rarely hear any of these children say, "I hate my mother", after therapy.
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. Being a mom should include taking care of your mental health, as well as your child's. If you hate parenting and being a mom, 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.
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