Back in December, I shared this post with you.
I wrote about how:
“I hate the constant demands they make on me; the constant questions; the constant “look at me!”
The noise, the mess, the housework. Having to teach them stuff, explain rules and expectations, deal with their emotional issues, answer the never-ending questions. Playing with them. Watching their TV shows and films.
The guilt. The constant guilt. About not doing all those things. About wanting to be elsewhere, doing something else. And then when I am, feeling guilty about not being with them.”
This touched (and still does) a lot of you.
It is my most popular post. It brings the most readers to my blog, readers who are searching for “I hate being a mum/mom/mother”.
(I also discovered that some of those readers come here looking for evidence of how awful motherhood is and how stupid us “mommies” are for having children in the first place. There are whole websites dedicated to these Child-Free members of our society, who complain about being marginalised by “breeders” and do it in quite vulgar language. You know who you are.)
When I hit “publish” that day, I was expecting a backlash of negative comments and judgements about my fitness to be a mother. I think that said a lot about how I felt about what I wrote, rather than what you, my readers, did.
I am grateful for the supportive comments you left instead, even those of you who could not understand how I could feel this way and those of you who long for motherhood, but haven’t been able to attain it.
Several months on, I am realising just how widespread the dissatisfaction with motherhood is and that there are many mums like me looking for connection and support.
I am not alone.
Neither are you.
In many conversations with my psychologist, as well as others whose knowledge and opinion I value, I learnt some things since writing that post. Things that I now want to share with you, hoping that they help you survive how you feel right now.
Here is my Five Step Rescue Plan for when motherhood gets too hard to handle.
It is OK to feel the way you feel. A lot of parents, particularly mothers, feel this way. Whether it’s only for a moment, in specific situations, or most of the time, you are not alone.
It’s OK. Sit with it. Don’t beat youself up.
2. Get help
Talk to someone. Anyone. Preferably a professional, such as a medical doctor, a social worker, or a counsellor. Someone who is not emotionally invested in your situation, someone who is less likely to judge you. Because, let’s face it – feelings like this are not easily accepted or talked about in our society and it can be scary to admit them to someone you know. If you are lucky enough to have a sympathetic friend or relative, do confide in them.
If you feel in any way judged by the person you talk to, find someone else. Keep looking until you feel safe and comfortable with someone.
3. Dig deeper
Whether you hate motherhood occasionally, or most of the time, I guarantee that there is something else going on in your life, or in your mind, that is behind those feelings.
When you’re right in the middle of your life, it can be hard to see the big picture and look behind the scenes. I cannot stress enough the benefits of working with a trained counsellor. Together you will be able to dig through your life, your emotions, your thinking – to figure out what is really going on.
For me, it is the circumstances in which I find myself mothering, that are causing my negative and self-destructive emotions. I’m a sole parent, betrayed by the person who I should have been able to trust most. A person who abused me emotionally for a very long time and who misused the trust others placed in him.
I have moments when I struggle with parenting alone, as well as my depression and the trauma left behind by the psychological abuse.
For you, it may be any one, or a combination, of things, including:
- your relationship with your partner,
- relationship(s) with other members of your family,
- parenting skills and challenges,
- work/life balance,
- time management,
- putting everyone’s needs ahead of your own,
- mental health issues,
- chronic illness or disability in the family.
4. Take action
- marriage counselling,
- reviewing your financial situation,
- working out your life values and priorities and redesigning your life around them,
- career counselling – maybe your current job or career is too stressful, or not challenging enough,
- returning to work if you’re a stay-at-home-mum – not all of us are cut out to be with our children 24/7 and that’s OK,
- childcare – giving yourself a few hours or a couple of days to do things without your children may well save your sanity, it did mine,
- getting a cleaner,
- seeking respite care,
- getting treatment for any health issues.
5. Check in
Will you start today?
If you have any tips for readers who are struggling with motherhood, I would love you to comment below.
And don’t forget, if you liked this post, please share…
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