Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's Okay to Hate Being a Mom

I see this issue pop up here and there, and every time I do, I notice some disturbing trends. First, whenever a parent shares that she is upset, confused, angry, sad or even regretful about something related to parenting, I notice an immediate hammer of bashing drops. The message is clear: don't complain or you will be attacked and then ostracized.

Next thing I notice is that those who do not outright attack, start with the more passive routes behind a helpful persona. "Perhaps you need to research mental illness." "Have you talked to your doctor about prescription medication to take care of that?" "Honey, sometimes undiagnosed conditions come out after you become a mother. Go to a doctor."

Even worse, I find people like to add God into the equation. "Complaining is sinful." "Those feelings are just the devil trying to get you to be a bad mother." "You are being selfish and don't have the spirit inside you." Ever heard of JOY? It stands for: Jesus, Others, (then, far distant) You. Sounds great on the surface. Except when you're a hurting, exhausted, lonely, run down person who needs help, love, support and encouragement. (A brief thought provoker on JOY here:

Hey Christians, remember this? Jesus prayed to "take this cup from me."
He wanted to avoid the BIG responsibility and duty in His life. He wanted to avoid suffering.
Maybe instead of bashing Christian mothers, you can remind them that Christ has been there
and understands their hardships. 

Although I also encourage parents to take symptoms seriously and to rule out any conditions or illness, the comments are rather clear...if you are unhappy, clearly you're sick in the mind. Or an evil person.

Some people asked for ideas about what to say that's supportive in this case. Here are some ideas:

Very familiar with the person: "Hey, it's normal. Try to make it through the day/week/month. Treat yourself. Get some extra sleep. Let me know when I can come over to do the dishes or watch the kids."

Friends: "Let me buy you a coffee and you can let it all out." "Let's have a playdate at the local hamster tube place and just veg out." "Hey I saw a funny movie. Rent it and watch it tonight after the kids fall asleep.Give yourself some time to laugh and relax."

Everyone: "I've felt that way, too." "I've been there, too." "This is normal." "You're going to make it through this." "It really does get better." "If you need anything, let me know."

The other day, I received a vulnerable private message. The mama shared a lot of negative emotions she was feeling. The raw hurt coming through made me want to directly address this issue:

It's okay to say you don't like mothering.
It's okay to say you feel discouraged.
It's okay to say you're not having a good time.
It's okay to say you're unhappy.

It's okay to feel angry, sad, worried, lost, inferior, regretful, trapped, confused, exhausted, frustrated and more.

It's really okay.

These feelings do not define you. They do not show your true character, nor do they bind you to any one choice when resolving or improving the situation.

In case you think you're the only one, you're not. Every parent at some point has felt this way, whether fleeting in the middle of the night, or longer term with a difficult phase. And if they haven't, well, they will

Parenting is a catalyst. It's the point where our identities, goals, fears and dreams collide with another person and then expand or contract with that person's best interests as the top priority. Parenting is hard, sweaty, sometimes (ha often times) unpleasant work.

Let it be clear that on this page/blog, we do understanding. We do supporting. We do encouraging. We do affirming. We laugh at silly jokes. We stay up too late. We get to the nitty gritty on hard topics. We listen without requiring addendums. In this place, we accept ourselves right where we are at the moment and we look forward to great things in our lives.

Go ahead. Acknowledge those emotions. A numb person can't feel the deepest aspects of human experience. That means taking the negative with the positive. Acknowledge your hurts, your hardships, your frustrations, your tragedies and everything else that comes with opening your heart, body and life to another person for the rest of your life. It's okay to feel human.

Amanda Bannon shares a photo of her son, Connor. He was upset
because some chickens wouldn't let him pet them. As unconditional/attached parents,
we strive to acknowledge the full spectrum of human experiences for our children.
What about us?

If you liked this post...

One Rough Moment:

You aren't good enough:

I'm a mom and I've had enough:

For those situations when it's more than feelings: PPD, PPP, PTSD, anxiety and depression: