Let me preface that statement in the title of this blog post with the following: I ADORE my children, I would give my last breath for them. Woe betide anyone who tries to hurt them, because they will have to face me.
However, there are days, in fact weeks, where I don’t like the parenting job I have to do. But you know what, that’s ok. It’s ok to think it, it’s ok to feel it, and it’s even ok to express it. (I would never say it to my children – although when they are older and are parents themselves, I might direct them to this blog post, when they are having a bad parenting moment, and need to know they are actually doing ok and are normal)
I sometimes don’t like this job. This job of being a parent, of being responsible for the lives of small humans, who are reliant on me to bring them up and help them be the people they are and will grow up to be. It’s hard. It’s 24/7/365. I might have had a vague idea of how to go about it, before they actually came into my life, but frankly, a lot of the time, I make it up as I go, with very little on the job training or support. It’s also not paid, and we don’t get that much sick leave or holiday time.
I do this parenting job, because I want to. I wanted children, I love them so fiercely, it hurts my heart. But sometimes, when I am having a really hard day, and one or both of them is either being difficult, or is having a hard time, or is frankly being a brat, as children can and will do, I think to myself, “I don’t like this job”. I know I am not alone, in this thought.
It’s ok to think that. Really it is. We all have moments when we don’t like what is going on in our lives, whether we have made the choice to be there, or whether we are doing something for someone else. It’s totally normal for someone to come home after a bad day at their paid job, and have a moan to their spouse, partner or best friend that they have had a rubbish day, and don’t like their job. Why should parenting be any different? Why do we have to pretend it is all sunshine, and happy, and that it isn’t frankly, sometimes damn hard, and that we aren’t liking it?
I see so many blog and social media posts extolling the wonders of motherhood and being a parent, and telling us how much we should enjoy it, how grateful we should be, how we shouldn’t complain about it, because one day our kids will be grown and gone, and I hate them. Yes, they are right, that our kids will not always be small and won’t be with us forever but they also make us feel horribly guilty, when we simply cannot muster up the joy when we have had a long day dealing with a tantruming toddler/a crying new born/a pre teen who has discovered she can slam doors when she is angry, a messy house, and very little down time. Take your pick of the area you are in at this parenting moment, they all have their highs, lows and challenges, some of it really isn’t that enjoyable, and it can be very tough. Know that it’s ok to not feel delighted and happy about it. It’s ok. It is also ok to think that you aren’t doing a very good job. Most of the time we are, but sometimes we don’t get it right, and it’s ok.
I used to feel so guilty and angry at myself because I don’t always “enjoy” parenting. I used to think there was something wrong with me, that when I saw these blog posts or Facebook lectures on being a happy parent, embracing the moment, being joyful etc, that I would cringe and hate myself and then try and go and compensate by trying to be a better mother, but not in a healthy way.
I want to be a good parent, I want to be there for my children, I will do my very best to give them what they need and love them and look after them, but some days, I don’t enjoy it, and whilst I will be putting my all in, I can admit to myself that I am not enjoying it, but that it’s ok and normal to feel that way.
Mothers (and fathers) are human, but I think sometimes society, social media, cultural influences and what we have learned makes us feel that somehow we are not allowed to express how we feel or be honest about how we are doing.
What I am trying to say, is that if you are having a moment, or several, where you feel like you want to give up this parenting job, that you don’t like it, that you aren’t very good at it, know that you are normal, know that it’s totally fine to feel that way. I find that when I am in that place, I have to talk myself out of it, but I know it’s ok. I look at the many amazing and positive things about being a parent, and how wonderful my children really are (even if I have spent half the night awake with one, or had a battle royal with the other about clothing choices) and it helps me to know that I can do this job, I will do this job to the best of my ability, and that it’s ok not to always enjoy it. You are doing a great job, but like all jobs, we have bad days. Hang in there, don’t feel guilty, and know that out there, there are many of us who feel the same, we just aren’t very good at sharing that.
I love being a parent, I love my children, but sometimes I don’t like this parenting job, and that’s ok!