Edited on 5 May, 2012:
This continues to be my most read and most commented post. While I wrote this post to express my own feelings about motherhood, I did not anticipate such a reaction from other mothers. I am glad that you continue to find this post and that it gives you a sense of connection, of knowing you are not alone.
BUT: I need to stress, that if you continually feel like this, that feelings of hopelessness and despair overwhelm you at times, you should seek professional help from your doctor or mental health practitioner.
It’s hard to admit to yourself that you hate being a mum.
Much harder than doing it publicly. As I said elsewhere, there is absolutely nothing that anyone can think or say to me or about me that I haven’t already said or thought myself.
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 isn’t something that I feel occasionally. This is something that has been growing since I’ve been alone. Having to be mother, father, extended family to them is driving me further into despair. Despite the fact that I am not with them all the time. They go to school and daycare. They have a sleepover at grandmas every fortnight.
I do get to do grown up stuff. I get to go out, I have plenty of “me” time. But when I come back, the children and their needs are always here. They get more and more complex as I get older and I just hate the responsibility.
Before you start shouting me down, saying “You’re not fit to be a mother!” and “Children are a joy and a blessing!”, remember that this is my life, not yours. You are not in my head, I am.
Being a mum is something I wanted since I was little. It’s the reason I married the man who ended up breaking me. I wanted to have a family so badly that I didn’t listen to my intuition and sacrificed who I was.
I looked forward to my babies so much! To all the things we would do together, to all the things I would teach them! All the places we would visit together, the games we would play, the craft we would do…. The family we would have.
Unfortunately, the Kleenex ad did not quite happen. Being a mum turned out to be nothing how I imagined. Add post-natal depression to the mix, throw in a psychologically abusive husband, sprinkle on some sole parenting and suddenly motherhood is a curse. A family does not feel like a family any more, it is not a soft place to land – it is a prison.
I do love my children. I miss them when they’re not around for more than a night. I don’t feel quite right, or safe, when I travel without them. I do everything that I need to do to look after them.
Yes, they probably know that things aren’t quite right. Yes, I’ve done some research and I do the things that are supposed to bring me closer to them.
And I know that despite how I feel about being a mum, I am still the best mother for them, because that’s what I am. Their mother.
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