I Don’t Like Being A Mother

911 Comments

I Don't Like Being A Mother

I read posts all the time – on this site as well as others – about how tough motherhood is.

Posts about how it’s hardest job in the world, that it’s thankless, that it’s exhausting, etc. As it is.

But they all seem to begin or end with the same little caveat: That the author wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. That she loves her children to the moon and back despite the hell that they put her through. That motherhood, even with its many flaws, is still the best experience of her life. That she wouldn’t change a damn thing if she could.

But, here’s the thing I’ve never admitted out loud before… I would. I would change it all. Because, in my heart of hearts, I don’t like being a mother.

I love my children, I do, and I write these words anonymously so they never find out the horrible feelings I feel. But I have to get them off of my chest somehow; the burden has become too much to bear. Ever since becoming a mother 12 years ago, and every day since, I haven’t been able to escape the sinking feeling that I shouldn’t be one.

It’s not the trivial things that people complain about like peeing with an audience or having to drive to endless lacrosse games. It’s the fact that I truly liked my life better before I was a parent. I liked who I was better, and I spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming of those days.

I take good care of my children and they have an adoring father, grandparents and aunts and uncles. They are well adjusted, happy human beings. They are fine It’s me who’s the problem. Me who feels like I’m playing a role I wasn’t meant to play every single day of my life. Me who must be missing some chain of DNA that all mothers are supposed to possess.

I’m not sure what I want from putting this out there.

I’m sure I’ll be called a bad parent and people will suggest I just leave home; that my kids would be better off without me. But I won’t, because I don’t think I can ever truly be happy again, whether I’m at home with two kids or living on my own somewhere far away. Guilt would consume me either way, so I may as well be the only one to suffer and not bring the whole family down with me.

And there’s always nighttime, when the kids are soundly sleeping and I can dream of the days before motherhood; the days that should have lasted forever.

Comments

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    • 3

      Anonymous says

      Being pregnant now at 43 with my first child, I completely understand this woman’s feeling and also respect her honesty and opening the door for other’s of us to be honest.
      No. Motherhood is not for everyone. Sometimes, it is a strange oddity you wind up in finally after one’s life has been taking care of your parents (like mine has) and finding that once they pass (like my mother just did in February) – where do you go from here? My anguish and grieving the loss of a mother who had me at 40 btw, and who was someone who made it clear to me she lost her dreams after I was born and then turned inward my whole life while I tried to make her happy, really sucked. As a result I never found the ability to find happiness for me. The times I tasted it and it was taken away, I felt a complete failure. And now here I am with a little alien-wonder growing inside of me. Did I really ever want kids? Only because I thought it was progression of time and it is “what comes next” I am part of a generation that was caught between a rock and really messed up place of not being nurtured to find me and concentrate on my happiness. I only pray that I do not make the mistakes psychologically my mother did. Do I look forward to the special moments with my child? Yes. Do I look forward to the times that are draining and reminding me I haven’t achieved in my life what I want yet? No. Do I look forward to trying to figure out how to completely be a working , strong and independent woman and show my child what my mother tried, but failed over and over again at? No. Again I admire this woman for opening a taboo conversation. I also hope I find support groups that help me find me through the process and learn what it is to be accomplished at more than changing a diaper, breast feeding, and teaching my child to use the toilet. If I have a boy, yea! the world is kinder to men and I know how to raise a gentleman. If it is a girl- dear god help me have a relationship where she feels strong and respects me and I give her something to admire. Amen.

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      • 4

        says

        You are better off & your child will be, too, b/c you’re aware of the perils and what you do and don’t want for your child. It won’t be easy, but the caring in your voice shows you’ll do a good job. Although I didn’t want to be a mother at first (still undecided), there ARE good moments. I hope you have a boy too. I have one of each & boys are so much easier.

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    • 5

      Kerri says

      I thought I was the only one too. How unbelievably relatable this post was. I’ve felt that way for several years, ever since my husband moved out and I was left with three close in age boys, ages 3, 4, &6. I hear story after story of single moms doing it all, going to school, working two jobs, all while being supermom and I know that isn’t (and never will be) me. I’m also severely depressed and even though im bring treated there are still some days where all I can do is chain smoke and nap the entire day. I love my children so much and I take good care of them, I care about their general welfare but I clearly am not cut out to raise kids.

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      • 6

        Ashely says

        Same here! I also have 3. My last one, I honestly did not want, and I only had her because my husband wanted another one. I was on birth control, but she got through anyway. She’s honestly a horrible baby. She never sleeps (she’s almost 2), and she cries CONSTANTLY even though there is NOTHING wrong with her. We’ve taken her in and the pediatrician she’s perfectly fine (2 different opinions). I hate being a mom and wish I could take it back every day of my life….

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      • 8

        Jessica says

        I feel exactly the same and I too thought I was the only mom out there who feels like I should have never had a kid, and here I am with three. I’m depressed, miserable, in a terrible relationship…I feel stuck and I know that if I didn’t have kids with this man I would have left hun a long time ago and would be a lot happier… I do love my kids and if anything ever happened to them I’d die. They are happy and very well taken care of… I’m the miserable one here. And I just keep doing the mom thing only because it’s what is expected of me, not because I really want to… I do it because I have to. Because my kids didn’t choose to be born, I had them and I will do the right thing by them because that’s what I’m supposed to do… I just keep wishing I would get out of this depression and be my old happy self, it just hasn’t happened yet and I’m not too sure it ever will… it’s good to know that I’m not alone in this and that I’m not the only one who seriously feels this way…

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    • 9

      k. says

      There are a lot of women that never wanted to be a mother! It doesn’t mean a woman is a bad mother just because she didn’t get baby hungry and little baby shoes still make her get gooey eyed.

      I was in that place, I loved who I was, and then found out I was pregnant. That baby sucked my whole life and identity away. Other mothers made me feel horrible when I mourned my life before, as I tried to find joy in my new found prison of being a mother.
      It wasn’t easy to admit I had a right to my own life outside of being a mother, but my husband is a wonderful man. He could see I needed more then just being mom. We have worked it out over the years, we share the time with child caring so that it is not all on my shoulders and I still am allowed to pursue my dreams.
      What do my kids think about this? My 4 daughters aims are high for they don’t see a limit on what they can do. My oldest is in medical school, next one down is pursuing engineering, and so on…all the way to my littlest one that excels in math and science just like her big sisters. I am still mom that never did change, I am the one they still run too.
      To this mother I say, no one ever said you have to give up your life to be a mother, your children will be better off to have a strong mother who didn’t give up on her dreams, then a sad mother who is sacrificing her life because she thinks that is what a mom is.
      -Just a warning- mother-in-laws are really good for a good guilt trip about making her perfect son watch the kids.

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      • 10

        whatsreal says

        It seems to me you have fallen into the trap of believing you are better than other people. You are not “more than a mom”. Women who stay home full time are not “just moms”. We all choose these roles, and how completely or deeply to fulfill them, for ourselves. If you wanted to work outside the home *in addition* to being a mom, that is awesome!
        Funnily enough, I always assumed I would do additional work as well. But life turned out differently. I desperately wanted to stay with my kids fulltime. It shocked the hell out of me! I viewed motherhood as my new proffession and dove into it (do *not* get the June Cleaver impression… quite the opposite!). I did that, because that is what I wanted to do. (Or choose never to be a mom at all if that is your preference, of course)
        My husband is not less of a “dad” because he works outside the home. He is fanatastic. He always has his father hat on. If one of our kids needed him, he’d be there in an instant (well, okay, an hour) and that is awesome. But he did not parent at the same level I did. He is just as important. We just do different roles.
        So when you say “That baby sucked my whole life and identity away.” I hope you realize that that baby did nothing of the sort. You did that. And then you changed it for the better. Major kudos to you! But be careful you don’t leave the impression that you believe you are better (“more”) than women who make different choices. We must all do that which is right for us. That is definitely what is right for the kids, too.

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    • 14

      Ebie says

      I can totally relate! I’m often heard saying, “I suck at this mom thing!” Thanks for being brave and sharing your feelings. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

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      • 15

        shayla says

        I m also mother when ever I go with my baby people start hating me because I m only taking care of my one year old baby my frands think that I m massing up their kitchen but I m just making my baby food I wash some dish n clean little but they fight with me that I m doing nothing .this heart me lot

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    • 16

      Melissa says

      You’re the majority! I find it interesting that people are saying they feel alone when I see the majority of mothers feeling this way. The problem lies in not embracing your new life. You want your old life, and regardless of these comments supporting your regret, that’s a very sad way to live. Your children will grow up, and you will have your selfish life back before you know. Yes, you are selfish. You can try to deny it, but that’s what it’s called when you hate the responsibility you have as a mother. No, you’re not alone, and the news has endless stories of other selfish parents who feel exactly the same. And I see them every time I take my children to the park! Here’s a solution: team up with other parents and trade baby sitting so you can all have selfish time. Just remember, you never get this time back. Love your children with all your heart because nothing you’ll ever do in life compares to how you love your children. Parenting is the most important thing you’ll ever do. Take time to be good to yourself so you can be the best parent! Nothing matters more than this!

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      • 17

        Misty says

        And that, my fellow scary mommies is why the author chose to remain anonymous.

        I’m calling crap on this lady. You have zero idea of what the author does or at least did do prior to children. Hell for all you know this woman (while highly unlikely) could have been on the verge of curing cancer before a screaming infant with a disgusting diaper pulled her away. That, would have been far more important then raising a child. Maybe she worked as a guidance counselor for troubles youth, putting them on a different path. Saving 100’s of lives or raising 1 child?

        Its the mindset of “this is the most important job ever” or “you never get this time back” is what causes this stigma for mothers. Guess what folks, the crack head 3 doors down can raise a kid. Sure it’s important to teach your child, but guess what? Its honestly not the most important job ever, its not the end all be all of your life. And its sure as hell not what I want my identity to be.

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        • 18

          Jennifer says

          Well, it’s the most important job but not in the way the goo-goo eyed mean. Here’s the thing: as a professional who has to deal with other people’s offspring, for the love of God, quit worrying about their emotional needs and enrichment and are the little darlings eating enough macrobiotic organic whole-plant sprouts or whatever and teach them how to behave like civilized human beings, at least in public. Raising kids to respect authority, take care of their own needs, and generally function as useful adults is indeed critical and not to be sloughed off on caregivers, teachers, and any other adult who’ll come into contact with your kid. You do not have to love “being a mommy” (I don’t think my mother loved everything about it, nor did she hate everything about it, but she wasn’t a helicopter parent-I remember being aware she was in the house, but she didn’t hover over us supervising us constantly, either) but you do have to take it seriously. I have no idea what loving going to work feels like (even when it’s nominally something that interests me I always end up finding jobs boring and draining and figure anyone who says otherwise is really fooling themselves or is not working in a traditional job) but raising kids is just like going to work, even though it’s not a trip to Disneyland every day, it is important and you need to do it right. The crack head three doors down isn’t raising a child, they bred something that statistically will just be another unhealthy criminal drain on social resources. The ability to breed is not equivalent to raising a child. People who are capable of that are doing important work, too. But just like work for a paycheck, it won’t be fun all or most of the time.

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        • 19

          Jennifer says

          I love your response, Misty. Thank you for sharing it. I was really sad to read Melissa’s note and wished the author would not see it because it blames her for her feelings, tells her she is wrong and would likely make her feel worse than she already does. This is not productive, fair or nice. I applaud her for the strength it took to come to terms with her feelings, write them down and – mostly – to share them. You, anonymous writer, are very brave. I 100% disagree about the statement that she is being selfish. No, she is being honest. Depression can be debilitating and as someone who deals with it myself, as well as being a single mom who has to “do it all,” by circumstance, I often find it a huge, huge sacrifice just to make it through the day, let alone doing it with a smile and routine that will not land my son on the metaphorical psychiatric couch 5 or 10 years from now. All I can offer is solidarity and a note to say, you are not alone.

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      • 20

        Anne says

        ….When my friend told me she was going to have kids soon she added “… you should think of it too because you know you don’t want to be alone in your old age”… I thought to myself of how selfish SHE was. However, it was not only her that has said this as I hear people all the time who decide to have kids for this reason that is; to have kids to make sure that their lives are fulfilled etc…. Whatever the reason is to either have kids or not to have kids its always a selfish one. I have decided to put off having children as I cannot afford it. I came from a home of extreme, I mean EXTREME poverty. While most of the girls I played with in my neighbourhood growing up began having children at 16 I was thinking of how I could become a professional and escape this cycle. I saw my mother depending on a man that beat her physically and emotionally. I see these women now 10 years later and they are poor, on welfare, some of them no longer have those men to support them, most uneducated unable to take on a well paying job… as for my mother well she was eventually murdered by my father… I would love to have kids for many reasons for one I would love to be able to raise well rounded individuals who are healthy both physically and emotionally who can grow up to contribute positively to the human race. But I cannot… at least not now and sadly maybe I will never be able to. As I came from poverty and decided to go to school I have debts that are so enormous I do not know if I will be able to be financially stable on time to have kids. Am I selfish ? in certain ways yes, but I am also thinking of my future kids, I do not want them growing up with hardly any food in the cupboard and wearing three pairs of socks instead of winter boots, I will not depend on a man to support me as my mother did and live under his control… love does not always find a way. Please, lets stop judging others. Motherhood is difficult enough as it is … there is nothing wrong with what this woman is admitting to… it is what many women are afraid to admit in our world that still thinks the un-evolved thought that being a woman equates being a mother. Being a parent is not for everyone and I wish more people realized that.

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    • 22

      JM says

      I’m a 30 year old man who has no problem getting dates, but still a virgin due to my fear of getting someone pregnant. I’m scared of having kids and hearing kids yell or scream in public irritates me. Watching how they behave only reinforces my fear of having my own kiddos. I have older brothers and sisters, married for years without kids. We must have some kind “no kids” gene. I have two aunts who never married and have low tolerance for unruly kids.

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      • 23

        whatsreal says

        First of all: condom + trustworthy partner w/additonal protection. I assume you still have fun, but it is one of life’s pleasures worth exploring. Second of all, most parents will tell you they thought of children as freaky little rugrats until they had their own ;) And one is never “ready” so don’t be afraid if life hand’s you a sudden suprise one day. Just information to take or leave as you like :)

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  1. 24

    Melissa says

    I admire your strength, courage and honesty. Motherhood isn’t for everyone. Despite that, you love your children and are caring for them the best you can. I’m thinking good thoughts for you.

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    • 25

      Jaden says

      Totally 100% agree with this comment, I was having the same thoughts… I’m hoping for this author that she finds some kind of peace and that someday, when her well-adjusted kids grow up (because she did her best despite how she felt about being a Mom) she can let go of the guilt of today and be proud of how she stuck around and did the right thing. And also hoping that when that day comes that her children are grown, she is able to reclaim a bit of that freedom and happiness of her youth. <3 hugs to you, Mama.

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      • 26

        Rachel says

        I agree with both of you, and Jaden, I could not have said it better. This article is heart wrenching for so many reasons, and hopefully the author can one day find some of the inner peace that she so obviously deserves.
        Hats off to the author for being willing to say what a lot of women actually feel, but are made to think is abnormal.

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      • 27

        Nicky says

        I admire your honesty and I completely understand what you are feeling. I am relieved that I am not the only one who feels like this. I love my kids more than anything but I always wonder if I was really ready. I feel like I am two people, a monotone auto pilot mother at home just meeting their needs and then when I am out in public I have to pretend to be happy and playful and interested in other people and their children when all I want to do is go have a nap. It’s a struggle, but there are those glimpses of love and silliness that help make it bearable. Not having help, family, friends, support, being depressed, having severe anxiety, etc. all contribute to me feeling this way I am sure but I take it day by day and try to make happy memories for them even if I am not.

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        • 28

          Destinee says

          Omg! Y’all said a mouthful then. I’m so glad I’m not alone. I look at moms who absolutely can’t live without their kids. As for me, I always feel like I would rather be doing something else.

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    • 30

      Camellia says

      No. Please stop ‘wishing’ she would fall into line like you did. Not everyone is made to be a mother, and many times people feel this way and that’s okay. She loves her kids, and she’s raising those kids well, but you desiring her to give up her dreams of who she is, hell, to give up who she is, so she can become Perfect Mommy Dearest is kind of disgusting and arrogant. Stop trying to tell her that motherhood has to be joyful when it actually has deprived her of the joy in her life. You’re no better than these people who say women HAVE to be wives and mothers to matter.

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      • 31

        Desiree says

        She said she hopes the author finds joy in her role. Why wouldn’t you hope someone else would find joy? I think you read a little bit too much into that comment. The author of this article has chosen to stay and take care of her children despite being unhappy, to save them pain. Would you rather her unhappiness continue or would you rather she be able to find joy? If you’re offended by the idea the author seek counseling; we are hardwired to feel a certain way regarding our children, if the author doesn’t feel those things there is a very real probability that she may be suffering from some form of depression and not even realize it.

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        • 34

          J.K. says

          True, it would be wise not to have any more but there are other factors to this that we may not be aware of. Maybe her SO talked her into giving him another baby. Maybe she did so because she felt that something was wrong with her and that she should “pretend” to be happy as not to be “a horrible person”. etc. Maybe she thought things would get better if she had another one…that her “instincts” would magically kick in, or that having a sibling her other child wouldn’t require her total focus 24/7 and she’d get a break. Who knows. Maybe her dislike of motherhood didn’t really come to full force until more than one little being was in her life.
          Sometimes we don’t realize what our limits are until we REACH them. How the heck is someone suppose to know in advance how many would be too much? You just DON’T know until you reach that threshold, and once there you never know how you’ll feel about it.

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    • 35

      jane says

      you don’t need counseling to know you don’t like something. I’m 5 weeks into motherhood, and I don’t like it. Whether I just don’t like this incredibly demanding and exhausting phase, or being a mother in general, only time will tell

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    • 38

      fushia fairy says

      I agree. I wanted to be a mom and it was hard at times. I can’t imagine doing it if you never wanted to or having more after realizing you don’t like being a mom. It is okay to not want to be a mom.

      I am so confused why any of these moms went on to have more children???????

      Glad she is getting support here and advice.

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      • 39

        Melissa says

        I, too, feel exactly the same way the author feels. I only have one daughter, but did marry a man who has full custody of his son. I never wanted more children, and I do take complete responsibility for adding another child to my life through marriage. And if I’m being perfectly honest, like another reader stated earlier, I am selfish. I am selfish for the life that I want, which is not the life I have. I was a young mom, again my doing not anyone else’s, and I long for a life where I have the freedom to be exactly who I want to be. I’m a good mom, my kids (both are 12) are smart and respectful, but I dont want to be a mom. We take amazing family vacations, sit down to dinner together every night, pray together and spend tons of time together. But I count the days til my kids go to college, truly believing that my life will be better then. When my husband and I go out, or hang out with friends, we rarely talk about our
        kids cause lets be honest….most of our life revolves around them. I too think that this topic is a huge faux pas and thats why women are so secretive about it. But the emotions are real…just as real as love and hurt. I dont hate my kids…I hate being a mom. If I could change that emotion…I would in a heartbeat. I dont want to hate being a mom. I just accept the fact that I do.

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    • 40

      Sarah Jane says

      I think you have a lot of courage to say how you feel. Being able to express yourself is important. I, too, have questioned if I should have been a mother. What you said about having guilt consume you whether you are with your kids or by yourself – I understand that completely. I often wonder if I would have been happier on my own. But I know I would probably be just as depressed as I am now, and that the guilt would consume me as well. I hope one day I can find peace and happiness. I hope you do as well.

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  2. 41

    says

    There are some things I relate to in this. Feeling this way does not mean you are a bad mom! Somedays I feel like I’m just playing a role that I don’t have the script for. I love my daughter and I’ll do anything for her, but when she’s asleep and I’m all alone, I feel sad as well.

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    • 44

      Scary Grandmother says

      I was a Mom who never liked being a Mom. Then I found myself a Grandmother and didn’t like that either. Now I am in my 60’s and a Great Grandmother and guess what…..he’s beautiful, but I don’t like being a Great Grandmother either. Well in some ways I do, but I have never in my entire life been that woman who gets all ooey gooey over babies. I don’t even like to hold them. I’ve spent my whole life thinking there was something wrong with me. Like most of you, I do love my kids, and I care very much about my Grandchildren. I just feel guilty that I don’t respond to them the way I think others think that I should. Finding this website has made me feel a little better at this late stage in my life. A little….not a lot. It’s hard not to worry about what your kids think of you.

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    • 46

      A Write Relief... (for PND) says

      I completely agree, Sharon… I too have felt perhaps I’m not “made” to be a mother, but also love my kids and don’t seem to reflect on the days before motherhood as much as this author. Society and the stigma attached to speaking openly about motherhood has a great deal to answer for. So very sad that mum’s out there (myself included at times) don’t feel they can truly speak about their feelings. Big hugs to this author. She is most certainly not alone. xx

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  3. 48

    Alissa says

    Oh shit you are not alone. At all. And despite how you feel about it, your kids would not be better off without you. Sorry, but if I am stuck with mine, you are stuck with yours too.

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