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What If I Hate Being a Mom?

what if you hate being a mom

Yesterday, I spoke with a new mom who’s having a rough time. She’s at home with her 7-month-old, breastfeeding, doing all the childcare and night parenting, and feeling guilt-ridden for not being very happy. Naturally, she loves her son, she’s grateful for the opportunity to be with him, but she feels trapped, lonely, and like every other mom is having more fun. Sometimes it’s so bad she gets into the shower at the end of the day and just cries. She’s crippled by sleep deprivation, her husband works 12 hours a day, and doesn’t get how awful she feels. He gets to go to work, which is by far the easier job.

Sound familiar? 

A few years ago, when my kids were 2 and 4, I ran into an old friend who I hadn’t seen in 10 years. He was divorced with no kids and was so genuinely excited to hear all about my family. “Wow, you’re a mom,” he said. “That’s amazing! What’s it like?” 

My response was a shock, like a bucket of ice water thrown at my face. “I don’t like it at all,” I said, with far too much honesty. 

His face fell. His jaw dropped. And I instantly knew I had made a terrible mistake. Moms aren’t allowed to feel this way, certainly not allowed to say it out loud.

I began dog-paddling backward. “Of course, I love my kids, and I wouldn’t change a thing, but…Diapers? Mopping up vomit? Bleeding nipples and breast pumps? Being awakened repeatedly through the night and at 5-6 am daily for four consecutive years?” 

No, the truth is that I like nothing about the actual job, yet I love my kids more than anything else in the world. So, I do it anyway, even if I hate it sometimes.

If you’ve ever felt this way…read on to learn more about why you feel the way you do – and how to change it.

 

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How life changes after a baby

Having a baby is one of the biggest changes a person can face. And, in 99.9 percent of cases, it’s the woman’s life that changes the most. If you’re able to be a stay-at-home mom, your life will quickly become all about diapers, spit-up, and crying – and we’re not just talking about the baby’s regular tears. 

The situation becomes even more dire if you’re trying to maintain your career. How can a woman reasonably be expected to work eight+ hours a day and raise a happy, healthy child? You’ll spend your lunch break pumping milk, and there will never be a time when you’re not tired. Additionally, you’ll feel guilty about going to work, as if not being there 24/7 for your child will permanently mess them up.  

Trying to keep your relationship going will also become extremely difficult. How in the world can you watch a baby all day – or split your time between the baby and work – and still be expected to get excited when your partner gets home? And sex? Forget about it. That’s what got you into this situation in the first place!

 

I hate being a mom…is that normal?

The reality is that it’s quite normal to hate being a mom from time to time. When you decided to have a child, you gave up a huge chunk of your life. Now, it’s the baby’s life that matters most. You’ll eat last, sleep last, and just generally become last on your list of priorities. And that’s only if you’re lucky. In some cases, you’ll also have to deal with a very real mental health problem. 

Intrusive thoughts are a major issue for new mothers. These thoughts can include disturbing or violent content. For instance, you might find yourself thinking about what would happen if you walked away from your baby and never went back. You’d never actually do it, of course, but simply having the thought may make you feel like the world’s worst mom. The good news is that not only are you not a bad mom, but pretty much everyone has thoughts like this one from time to time. 

Unfortunately, you may also develop a more serious mental illness. Please keep an eye on yourself for the following warning signs: 

  • Major changes in sleeping or eating patterns. 
  • Extreme mood changes.
  • Excessive anxiety, worry, or paranoia. 
  • Withdrawing from social events. 
  • Long-lasting irritability or sadness. 

 

If you begin experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to speak to a professional right away. You can also find some great tips in this piece, Stay-at-Home-Mom Depression: Symptoms & How to Cope.

Not sleeping is another biggie for mothers. Everyone needs to sleep at least seven hours a night on a regular basis. When your sleep pattern gets interrupted by a screaming baby, it can mess up much more than just that day. Studies show that most parents – or at least mothers – are sleep deprived for at least the first six years of a child’s life. 

Being sleep-deprived can cause you to look ten years older. It also comes with higher blood pressure, a slower metabolism, weight gain, being more likely to catch a cold, having less mental acuity, and depression. Additionally, your odds of developing heart disease increase by 48 percent, you’ll triple your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, and you’ll become 36 percent more likely to experience colorectal cancer. In other words, sleep is critical, and you must figure out a way to get more of it before it’s too late. 

Finally, you can also suffer from depletion. According to the dictionary, this means exhausting or seriously decreasing your supply of something. In this case, it refers to your emotional and physical fatigue. This can be a serious issue, so be sure to speak to a professional if you’ve been experiencing: 

  • Intense exhaustion and fatigue. 
  • Hypervigilance. 
  • Lethargy. 
  • Memory loss. 
  • Anxiety. 
  • Difficulty concentrating. 
  • Lower sex drive. 
  • Poor immune function. 
  • Pre-existing medical conditions become worse. 

 

What to do when you don’t like being a parent

Being a parent is hard, and the secret is that no one likes being one all the time. There are going to be plenty of times in your life that you will hate being a parent, and it starts the same time that motherhood begins.  

Now that you know this, it’s time to help yourself bounce back. When you have intrusive thoughts, are sleep-deprived, or are suffering from depletion, it’s important to take some time for yourself. You may be thinking, “How am I supposed to do that?” But here’s the thing: if you don’t give yourself some self-care, you’re going to burn out even more quickly. Therefore, turn off your guilty inner voice and carve out some time to take a bubble bath, read a book, or take a nap. Just doing one of these things will help you recover some of your lost energy. 

what if i hate being a mom - tweets from moms like you

Do you still feel alone? You’re not. Review the almost 300 comments on this post. Just knowing you’re not alone in your experience will most likely make you feel much better. Additionally, you can look through our helpful resources for new families for more information. 

If you find yourself struggling as a result of becoming a mother, don’t despair because there is help available. The first thing you must do is reach out to someone. Whether you choose your best friend, a doctor, or a therapist, the act of reaching out will make you feel less alone. And don’t just do it once. Instead, keep reaching out until you get the full support you need. 

In some cases, you may find yourself past your limit. That’s when it’s time to pick up the phone to get some emergency help. These calls are confidential and could make the difference between bouncing back and doing something regretful. If you need help right away, call one of the following: 

  • SAMHSA’s Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP
  • NAMI Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI
  • Mental Health America Hotline: Text MHA to 741741
  • The Samaritans: 1-212-673-3000

Ultimately, the only way to start feeling better – and to stop hating motherhood – is to reach out for some help. By talking through your feelings, you can reach a much better state of being. Be sure to use the tips above and remember: it’s okay not to love being a parent every second of the day. But if the feelings become overwhelming, there are resources available to you.  

Perhaps if we didn’t expect mothering to be the most joyous time of our lives, we wouldn’t feel so blindsided and guilt-ridden. 

The same guilt is exactly what prevents so many parents from getting the help they need to sleep train their baby. Teaching an infant to sleep on their own is no easy task – it can be exhausting, stressful, and messy, just like so many aspects of parenting. 

If you can find the confidence to ask for help from sleep training specialists like us who know babies, there’s a world of support waiting to help you get the rest you need to start feeling like yourself again.

The staff at Mommywise is here for you! We understand your baby’s signals and offer in-home guidance to sleep train your baby. Additionally, we set up young parents for success by allowing you to sleep, too! Contact us today to learn how you and your baby can finally get a good night’s sleep. 

 

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FAQs

 

Is it normal to hate being a mom?

It is not normal or abnormal to hate being a mom, but it is common. Most importantly, know that you’re not a bad mom if you don’t love it. Most mothers are exhausted and annoyed at motherhood because their children may  cry and whine a lot, not listen, and do dangerous things that they’re not aware are anxiety provoking for parents. Motherhood is hard and it’s true that many moms hate being a mother. It’s ok, you’re not alone. 

 

Is it normal to regret being a mom?

Yes, it is normal to regret being a mom. It’s also normal to question if you’ve made a mistake. One does not truly know what motherhood is like until you have a child. It can be very tiresome, stressful, and if you don’t have readily available family support nearby, you lose much of the freedom you once had when you didn’t have children. If this is you, you’re not alone. 

 

Does motherhood get easier?

Yes, motherhood gets easier if you’re healthy and have the resources and support to care for yourself, too. If you’re feeling unusually anxious, angry, floppy, weepy and/or or experiencing chronic insomnia, you may be experiencing a mood disorder such as postpartum depression and/or anxiety. When your child is a baby, it’s rough., You need to feed and give your baby naps every few hours. On top of bottles and formula or pumping and changing diapers every few hours, repeated sleepless nights makes it painfully exhausting*

*If your baby hasn’t yet learned to sleep independently, consider sleep training so that your whole family can get a healthy amount of quality sleep. If you have no idea how to sleep train your baby, hit us up. It’s all we do! 

When the baby turns into a toddler, then you have to make sure they do not run into the street or you have to clean up the countless messes they make. Try to get as many people on your support team as possible. Fathers, partners, family members and any other caretakers can be part of your Team. Those years are tough but it does get easier once they turn into a young child (around 5-10 years old). They become more independent and they don’t need you as much. Once they get into their teenage years, they become even more independent but those years have their ups and downs. No matter what, motherhood is a journey. It gets easier but there are always times when it seems unreasonably difficult. One step at a time. With grace and love, You got this.

 

Why do I hate being a mom so much?

A mother may hate being a mom for many other reasons than her actual kids. After all, parenting is the hard part – it’s all the work on top of childcare and lack of family support that makes parenthood the hardest. You once had freedom and once you had a child, your world turned around with less time and a new job at hand. There is also a ton of pressure on mothers “to be a perfect mom”, “to breastfeed”, “to be empathetic”, “to be family-oriented”, “to prioritize children’s needs, partners’ needs and responsibilities at home”, “to love motherhood”, “to be nice” and the list goes on. There are plenty of reasons why you may hate being a mom, but remember that you’re not a bad person if you feel that way, and you’re not alone!

We live in a culture that doesn’t support, value or compensate mothers for their work. Using the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), CDC research shows that about 1 in 8 women in the U.S.  experience postpartum depression”. However, it’s estimated that it’s actually closer to 1 in 4 since so many mothers don’t seek mental health care or treatment. Clearly, there’s a real problem if 25% of mothers are clinically depressed after having a child!

 

How do I get help as a mother?

You can get help as a mother. If you have helpful friends or family, ask them for help with whatever you need. If you feel like you’re unusually tired, anxious, angry, and or have a family history of depression, see your doctor. If you have the resources to pay for household help, hire help. If you don’t, there are resources available to you through non-profit organizations that can support you whether it’s emotional support, financial support, medical care or babysitting cost reduction services. Check with your state for nonprofit organizations that can help you as a mother.

 

What happens when you hate being a mom?

Don’t be afraid to speak to friends or family members about your feelings … you may be surprised to find comfort from a friend who is experiencing those same feelings. You can also contact a hotline if you need someone to talk to…

  • SAMHSA’s Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP
  • NAMI Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI
  • Mental Health America Hotline: Text MHA to 741741
  • The Samaritans: 1-212-673-3000

 

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339 Responses

  1. I found myself here after taking my 4 year old on a vacation to visit my brother out of state — our first vacation since before the pandemic. He was incredibly homesick, usually in the middle of the night; terrified of my brother; and developed an ear infection on a weekend evening when the only medical care available was at the ER. So much for a vacation!

    The problem with “choosing” to be a mom is that you don’t really know what you’re choosing until after the deal is done. So much of pregnancy is spent focusing on a “birth plan,” which, frankly, goes out the window the moment you enter the hospital. No one prepares you for the YEARS of interrupted sleep; the difficulty of trying to maintain a career; navigating the crappy American healthcare system, which you use more than you ever wanted to when you have a small child; and the overall feeling that you’ve lost yourself. And even good husbands end up being kind but clueless. Mine pats himself on the back for “supporting his family,” even though we make about the same amount of money, and all the daycare scheduling, doctor’s appointments, house cleaning, laundry, etc. fall on Mom.

    I’ve heard it gets better. But I haven’t experienced that yet. Thank you for being honest about how much motherhood can suck sometimes.

  2. I don’t find this comforting at all. I may not alone, but I want to fell better. I want hope that someday I will feel better. These stories make me even more depressed, there is no hope. I just want to die. Motherhood is an epidemic

  3. I am 43 and have an 8 year old boy. I love him very much but oh my god if i had a chance to do it all over again, i would have made my ex husband wear a condom. Or have just avoided my ex in the first place. I hate being a mother. I am jealous of my friends that dont have children. Beyond jealous. My life is a constant argument. Nothing i do is enough. I hate spending time with him but force myself because it is what is expected of me. I feel guilty EVERY SINGLE DAY for feeling the way I do. My son was visiting his father for 10 days and was supposed to stay an extra 7 days but had to come home early. I actually cried. I have just gone on anxiety medication as dealing with his shit on a daily basis is driving me around the twist. Summer vacation has been a damn nightmare. I cant wait until he is old enough to take care of himself. God forgive me.

  4. I’ve read through ALL of these comments ladies and they mostly pertain to dealing with young children. A lot of you are hoping it will get better, and I don’t mean to dash any of your hopes, but it probably won’t. Let me tell you about my ADULT son. He’s in his Mid-Forties and first of all he never listens to me when I try to tell him anything. He’s constantly argumentative and he has almost no ability to take care of himself. I would put him on the level of a person that has a mental disability but is high functioning, except my son doesn’t have a disability. He also is so neurotic that when he does something like stubs his toe he literally worries he’s going to die and calls me on the phone all upset about it(not exaggerating). So during the pandemic he worked from home and basically locked himself up and wouldn’t leave his house. He got so mental about the pandemic, that I had to run to the grocery store for him to get him groceries or he would have starved. I’m 73 years old for crying out loud and I’m braver than him! I guess I did it out of my motherly duties and devotion, but I probably should have just let him starve and I may have finally felt sweet relief in my life. So again ladies, I’m sorry to burst your bubbles about hoping things will get better, but it may not. I felt I did everything right as a mom, and I gave this boy everything I had and he still turned out kind of mental. I guess it all depends and it is different for every mom. This is a lifelong commitment and to be honest, it sucks.

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