3 images overlapping at the edges on a colored background with the title of the blog,"I hate being a mom_ and that's okay". 3 images of mothers of various ethnecities with their children in challanging poses, not everyone is happy, frustration is being expressed in all the images from the mothers.

(CW//: gendered language, adult language, mention of medical events, trauma)  I hate being a mom.  Okay, okay, I don’t hate it… at least, not all of the time. Let me explain.  Motherhood was always presented to me as a journey of love, joy, fulfillment, road trips where my kids roll their eyes at me, and lots of bad art.  But what no one told me is that this road trip has road closures and detours that require challenges and sacrifices that I wasn’t fully prepared for!

While the societal narrative often romanticizes the role of a mother, the truth is that for me being a mom is not only not always sunshine and rainbows, but sometimes I really fucking hate it.

I want to share my reality of some of the hardest things I’ve faced as a parent and shine some light, even if it’s just a teeny tiny flashlight, on something I don’t hear a lot of parents talk about….Second guessing their decision to have children.

Let’s talk about second guessing a decision to have children

And hey, maybe I really am the only one who feels this way?  

Am I? 

Before we get into the depths of this blog, I want to start by recognizing that I carry a lot of privilege and that there are tons of folks who carry the burden of all of what I am going to talk about and some, those who didn’t have a choice around becoming a parent, and others who have even more things like oppression, racism, poverty and more. I want to situate my identities and privilege as I write this article and let anyone who reads this know that I do recognize that yes, others experiences are worse.  

How Doulas Support the Non-Birthing Parent

Motherhood is complicated and societal expectations of what it means to be a parent don’t simplify anything.

I know folks are like “screw em, who cares what other people think?” and while I agree, the pressure to conform to an idealized image of the perfect mom even if you don’t believe in that image still leaves me and many other parents I know feeling inadequate and overwhelmed.

The expectation to effortlessly juggle a successful career, maintain a picture-perfect home, and raise well-adjusted children is a heavy burden to bear. Not to mention doing this without that village everyone talks about… christ, doing it with a village is still ridiculously hard.

Then, we throw in how expensive it is to live in many areas of our country and the need for a dual family income becomes non-negotiable.

The financial responsibilities associated with raising a family often force both parents to step into the workforce, even if they don’t want to. In Seattle, a double income seems mandatory to survive. 

Contrary to the prevailing narrative, even if we could afford it, I don’t want to be at home with my children all the time. I want to work. I love the sense of purpose work gives me and I’m a better parent when I’m engaged in meaningful work outside the home.

The sense of accomplishment and fulfillment derived from pursuing personal and professional goals impacts my well-being. Overall, I think this actually makes me more patient, resilient, and present. 

The yucky part is that even though I like working, I still experience the guilt of not being present with my children during the day and then again when I’m actually physically with them nights and weekends, but wishing I was somewhere else.

Working makes me better at being present, yes, and also because I’m tired from working, managing a chronic illness, carrying the mental load, being a single parent, adjusting to my partner’s new physical disability and him being in hospital still.

Oh! And, still doing the things that keep my family and I alive (food prep, clean clothes, clean-ish house), it often feels like sitting down to play or interact with my screeching children is the last thing I want to do. Add on more guilt.

One mom says, “No, I would not do it again!” and that’s okay

I don’t know about you, but when you then throw in managing my extremely overstimulated neurodivergent brain, reparenting myself, addressing the wounds of my past, and striving to be a role model for my children, it’s exhausting to be a mom as well. 

The balance between nurturing the emotional well-being of my kids and attending to my own self-care and healing process seems impossible.

The emotional labor involved in breaking cycles of dysfunction while simultaneously fostering a healthy environment for the next generation, while absolutely necessary, is also draining. 

And then we think about raising children who don’t grow up to be dicks but instead kind, aware, empathetic, and respectful humans, Jesus! Is it any wonder we don’t sleep well or enough? 

In a world that often rewards white supremacy characteristics of urgency, individualism, power, etc. instilling values of rest, resistance, community, and empathy requires intentional self-education, and parenting. Again, absolutely necessary. 

All of this, and I’m sure more, sometimes leave me wondering, why did I have kids?

And when I honestly reflect on that question, the answer makes me sad. 

I had kids because that was “what I was supposed to do”. 

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted children, no one forced me to have kids. But I wanted them because that is what I was told women want and what we are good at: having, nurturing, and protecting children. 

Knowing all I know now and living through what I have lived through, if I could go back, I would not have children. I would choose not to be a mom, and that is okay.

GASP! I know. Unpopular opinion, likely. And, it’s still my truth.

Postpartum Essentials - a line art drawing of a mother and father cradling each other and a newborn on the father's shoulder with a beige background with green water color circle and gold glitter accents

I don’t intend to abandon my children or my family in reaction to these reflections and hard parts, but it makes me think very long and hard about how many decisions I’ve made based on what I was told or expected to do. And all the work of unlearning and relearning in order to change the ways I will make decisions in the future.

Why even write this then? If nothing is going to change and I can’t un-have my kids, what’s the point?

Because, if even just one person who reads this and also feels the weight of these thoughts and is scared it makes them “bad” or “wrong” or a “horrible parent”….

I want you to know you aren’t alone. 

The question I’m left to reflect on now is: “How the hell are we supposed to keep doing this?”

Love, Christina

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?  Email me at bfp@bigfatpregnancy.com!

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