The old saying goes that there is nothing more beautiful than motherhood. Many emphasize that having kids is an essential part of living a fulfilled life and that there is no bond stronger than the bond between mother and child. Therefore, it can come as a shock when someone admits that they don’t like being a mother.
However, though it may rub people the wrong way, ‘I hate being a mom’ is a very common feeling many people share — and it absolutely doesn’t make you a bad person. There are many reasons you may dislike being a mom and plenty of healthy ways to resolve this issue.
Is It Normal to Hate Being a Mom?
Since society mythologizes motherhood so much, it’s almost taboo for a person to admit that they don’t like being a mother. However, it happens a lot more frequently than you might expect. In fact, recent research says that over 70% of Americans believe that being a mom today is a lot harder than it was 20 years ago.
This is in no small part thanks to the overwhelming amount of responsibilities a modern mom has to juggle. In 2019, over 57.4% of American women participated in the labor force in some capacity, either engaging in full-time or part-time work.
However, despite women working stressful jobs, people still expect them to be primary caregivers. From preparing lunches to playing with the kids, taking them to school, and making sure they’re entertained, motherhood is practically another full-time job you have on top of your other full-time job.
The pressure is even greater if you have a newborn on your hands. Caring for a baby is an exhausting task that can zap you of all your energy. Between the feedings, diaper changes, and constant crying, you have no time for yourself, your hobbies, and your interests.
In fact, research suggests that new parents can lose up to 109 minutes of sleep each night in the first year after their baby is born. This can seriously impact mental health since sleep deprivation is one of the leading disruptors of mood and cognition.
Beyond bringing you down, caring for a child can also make you lose your own identity. Young children rely on you for all their needs, so you have to reorient your entire life to look after them. And in an environment where everything is about your little one, losing your sense of self becomes very easy.
In light of such hardships, it’s no wonder so many people become resentful of their role. However, even though it may seem wrong to feel these things, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. Parenting isn’t easy, and feeling miserable about being a mom doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person — it just means you’re human.
Why Do I Hate Being a Mom? 5 Possible Reasons
Mental and physical exhaustion are the most common reasons women grow to dislike motherhood. However, they are far from the only ones. Depending on your current situation at home, personal relationships, and financial status, there are plenty of factors that can make motherhood seem like the worst.
1. Lack of a Support System
The 21st century places a lot of emphasis on both parents being equally capable of caring for their children. Nevertheless, many people still believe women are better at it — they’re supposed to just ‘instinctively know’ everything there is to know about childcare. And because they know, people expect them to handle child-rearing all on their own, without any help.
However, as flattering as it is to think of moms as superheroes, they’re anything but. The old adage of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is absolutely true. Consequently, there is no shame in feeling overwhelmed by your new responsibilities. So, instead of trying to push yourself to do everything on your own, recognize that it’s just not feasible.
Nobody can be the perfect mom, not even those mommy bloggers dominating social media. People’s individual circumstances are different, and trying to emulate some idealized version of motherhood is not going to work. In fact, it’s actually just going to make you even more miserable.
2. Strained Relationship with Your Partner
If you’re a mom, lacking the support of family and friends can be detrimental to your health. However, not having the support of your partner is arguably even worse. Perhaps your partner is employed full-time and expects you to handle childcare on your own.
Alternatively, they may have underestimated how much time childcare takes up. If you’re a parent to a newborn, then the baby is going to take up the majority of your day. This, in turn, will leave you with little to no time to spend with your partner as a couple. A lack of quality time can seriously strain a relationship and make your partner feel neglected.
As a result, your partner can end up checking out of the relationship and leave you to handle the baby all on your own. This is a frustrating and difficult situation that can make you feel betrayed and very resentful of motherhood. However, it’s important to acknowledge what’s happening and take the necessary steps to fix it.
You and your partner agreed to have kids together. Therefore, it’s expected that both of you should put in equal effort to care for your little one.
3. Misbehaving Kids
The biggest sin you can commit as a parent is admitting that you don’t like your kids. After all, kids are supposed to be a blessing, the biggest source of happiness in your life. While these statements are true, they also ignore the fact that kids can also be awful sometimes.
They can be loud, rude, and hyperactive. They can also be very disobedient despite your best effort to discipline them. In short, they can drive you up the wazoo and make you unhappy about your role as a mom. But, if you dare say this out loud, you will get some pretty nasty looks from the people around you.
However, despite what people may think, these feelings are valid. Kids are hard to deal with, and it’s normal that they get on your nerves sometimes. What’s more, acknowledging these feelings doesn’t mean you’re a terrible mom who doesn’t love her kids. It just means you’re honest about the hardships of being a parent.
4. Financial Issues
Money may not be the most important thing in life, but it is a necessary part of it—especially if you plan on raising a family. The average cost of raising a child in the US is roughly $12,930 per year. This is quite a lot of money, even if you’re well-off. However, if you are struggling financially, then the daily cost of taking care of a child can make you feel worse about motherhood.
5. Postpartum Depression
Childbirth is a difficult process that can forever alter not just your body but your mind as well. In some cases, it can even cause you to develop serious mental health issues such as postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of anxiety, mood swings, increased sadness, and altered mental perception. It most often impacts young mothers shortly after birth, and it can last for several years. Though around 30% of women experience it, the condition is frequently overlooked. This is primarily because a lot of women often avoid seeking treatment.
However, you shouldn’t ignore any negative feelings you’re experiencing. Postpartum depression is a serious condition that can hinder your ability to care for your baby properly. If left untreated, it can even develop into postpartum psychosis. This type of disorder can trigger hallucination, paranoia, and delusions which may compel you to harm yourself and your baby.
Therefore, if being a mom is giving you the blues, consider the possibility that your feelings may be a result of a mental health disorder.
What Should I Do If I Hate Being a Mom?
As established, not liking being a mom is a common feeling many women experience. However, the question now is, what can you do about it? Though it won’t be easy, there are several steps you can take to address the issue and live a healthier and happier life.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. It may be difficult, especially since disliking motherhood is such a taboo. But ignoring your feelings can make you even more resentful. However, if you acknowledge it’s happening, you can take the necessary steps toward healing.
2. Discuss Your Issues with Your Partner or Family
If a lack of a support system is what’s causing you to feel bad about being a mom, then it’s time to have a sit down with your loved ones. Be honest and upfront about your feelings, and let them know you’re struggling to keep up with your responsibilities.
If you need an extra pair of hands, ask them to help you with the day-to-day tasks of caring for your little one. Alternatively, maybe you’re lacking emotional support. In that case, ask them to lend you a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Either way, letting them know what’s going on is how you build the healthy support system you need to find happiness in being a mom.
3. Seek Counseling
Sometimes resolving your issues on your own is not a feasible option — and there is no shame in that. When it comes to mental health issues, going to a professional may be the best course of action for you.
Currently, Interpersonal Psychotherapy is one of the best treatments for dealing with postpartum depression. It’s a time-limited therapy model that lasts 12‒16 weeks, which is perfect if you have a busy schedule. Plus, it can provide you with the kind of relief both you and your little one desperately need.
However, even if you don’t have postpartum depression, counseling is still a good way to address your issues. Whether you’re experiencing difficulties with bonding with your little one, want a place to vent, or seek guidance on how to be a better parent, a trained professional can help you accept motherhood and all it entails.