Sometimes I Hate Being a Mom. Now What?

i hate being a mom

Do you ever have a moment—be it ever so brief—in which you look in the mirror and think, “I hate being a mom”? Or maybe just, “I didn’t know it would be like this.” You’re not alone.

I’ll be the first to tell anyone who will listen that parenting is work. Hard work. But in my own experience, it’s not without joy, even on the tough days. However, some parents tell of waking up one day to find they are simply surviving their children, rather than enjoying them. How do these moms and dads get to such a joyless place in the journey? The reasons are probably many and varied, but I’d bet that for some it’s the result of a performance mentality.

It’s easy for high achieving parents to fall into the trap of seeing parenting as a project, rather than a relationship. A project for which there are only a few acceptable outcomes: the honor roll, the right college, the right career, the right spouse. Trying to cram your uniquely talented and differently motivated little human into a mold you built before you met him is frustrating! So when you hear yourself saying, “I hate being a mom”, consider these four ways to enjoy being a mom again and savor the days you have with your kids.

1. Stop comparing.

As parents, we’re conditioned to compare our kids to others from the start. At every pediatric visit, they tell us whether our children are behind, ahead or right on target for average growth and development. And while some types of comparison can be helpful for identifying developmental areas that may need attention, it shouldn’t be our default mentality. God designed your child to be like no one else who ever lived—completely individual and precious. So free yourself from all the anxiety and fear that comes from trying to make them measure up to some standard that, quite frankly, might not even be the right one. They don’t have to make straight A’s, make the varsity team or be the most popular kid in school to be wonderful people with happy, fulfilling lives.

2. Filter the parenting fear mongers.

Honestly, if I took to heart even half of the impassioned warnings that flood into my social media and news feeds about the dangers my kids face, I’d lose my mind. One week it’s gluten and processed foods, one week it’s vaccines, and the next week it’s Internet predators and massive head injuries from sports. Don’t get me wrong: Every one of these warnings contain thought provoking and helpful information. But the alarmist way much of this information is pushed out to the parenting public can make you terrified that you’re going to mess your kids up or ashamed that you probably already have. Glean information with your guard up, and protect your anxiety level.

3. Give yourself permission, in advance, to be imperfect.

That’s right. Just go ahead and make peace with the idea that you’re going to stink it up as a mom some days—and your kids will be okay. {Tweet This} You’ll say the wrong thing, fail to follow through on the discipline, feed them a little too much fast food, and let them stay up way too late on some school nights. It will happen. And you’ll recover, they’ll recover, and one day you’ll realize that all the self-loathing you heaped upon yourself at the ends of not so perfect days was overblown. Just tell them you love them. Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong. Then get up tomorrow and try again. And when it’s all just ridiculous—don’t forget to laugh.

4. Learn the difference between parenting and lifestyle hullabaloo.

Ever see the “Thank You Notes” segment on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon? Here’s mine:

“Thank you Internet for convincing moms that every child’s outfit should be to die for, every child’s room a designer showplace, and every party and playdate a gathering that really could use an experienced event planner and marketing team…”

If being a mom is overwhelming you, take a long hard look at whether the things on your mom to-do list are substantive things that will matter to your kid in the long run (cuddling and reading a book, talking about faith and values or preparing a nourishing meal) or if they’re layers of lifestyle upkeep that the people in your mom circle have made the status quo. I love stylish things and picture-perfect memories as much as the next gal, but we must learn to recognize them as the negotiable things that they are, and let them go when it’s all too much. Scale back to a simpler way of mothering and living, and you may find that your sense of satisfaction with your role increases.

5. Take care of yourself.

Your mind—your emotional health and sense of satisfaction—is inextricably linked to your body and soul. Take care of all three and you’ll enjoy a greater sense of purpose and pleasure in your life as a mom, as a wife, and in all of your important roles.

Want even more tips for getting back to your happy place as a mom? Check out 6 Ways to Be a Joyful Mom.

© 2015 iMOM. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.

In The Comments

Have you ever struggled through a season in which you hated being a mom? What helped you to find the joy in motherhood again?