Update: This article is now a few years old, and I am happy to say that my experience of parenting has improved. I now have two kids who have made it through their teens (for the most part), and two more about to enter teen-dom. So maybe there’s hope after all?
I have a major truth bomb for you, and I am relieved that I am not the only one to feel this way to be honest. We’ve all heard that parenting is not easy, and no one really expects it to be, but have you ever considered that it might not be worth it? I can tell you with much certainty, that if I knew how hard parenting teenagers would be, I may have reconsidered the entire parenting gig all together. If I knew that I would spend years on end in survival mode, peeling myself out of bed and getting through each day like a robot mom, I’m just not sure I’d do it.
I can’t admit this to my kids. When my youngest asks me if I love being a mom, I say yes. When she asks me what my favourite part of parenting is, I tell her cuddling her. That part it true, my favourite part of parenting is the snuggles. But that ends. I won’t tell her how hard I have found being a parent, because I don’t want her to feel any sort of guilt. It’s not their fault really. It’s my naivety, thinking I could mother four children on my own, that’s ludicrous.
I read this blog post by themotherhub (this is a newer post linked, as the author deleted the original) recently, and it was as if the author was in my head. She spoke the words that I often think but am too afraid to speak. She opens with:
I like to be honest about my parenting experience; by honest I mean telling everyone how hard it is, how tired I am, the impact it has had on both my finances and my mental health. Don’t I sound fun? I do this because I really had no idea about parenting before I had my first child, none of us really do. You can read all the books, go to all the ante-natal classes, but you can’t really prepare for this experience.
via Feminist Friday: Complaining about Motherhood is a Feminist Act — Feminist Parenting
I am a birth and postpartum doula, and people often assume that I’m a doula because I love babies. While I certainly did love my own babies (you know, when I wasn’t crying my face off and drowning in PPD), I don’t actually love other peoples babies that much. *gasp, I know* I am a doula because I want to help women/people prepare for parenthood. I want to assist in the empowerment of women/people right from the get go and support them through this incredibly hard transition. I care deeply about the parents. Birth is the easy part to be honest, parenting the hardest thing in the world. But if you start the journey surrounding yourself with support and being informed and empowered, you may just be willing to ask for help when you really need it. And then, you may just survive. Figuratively and literally.
p.s. – because you may need to hear this: Just because you may not enjoy parenting, does not mean you’re not an excellent mother/parent. It is entirely possible to show up for your children and show them endless amounts of love, but still struggle and not enjoy the process.