Nobody would say parenting is easy, but it also happens to be one of those life changes you can’t fully prepare for.
While parents often feel pressure to enjoy every second of parenting, a recent article published in Today’s Parent found some parents, despite loving their children, hate the act of parenting.
Author Liz Krieger said the actual “day-in, day-out” side of parenting is something she doesn’t enjoy.
“Over the past few years, in more and more conversations with other moms at drop-off and pickup, in Facebook groups and chat rooms, this spiky truth — that parenting is something that many women struggle to enjoy, or at least find themselves loathing a decent percentage of the time — has been seeping out,” she wrote.
Krieger added in a world of the “honest mom genre” (think “bad” moms drinking wine or posting the unglamorous side of parenting), it’s not always easy to talk about how some parents actually feel.
“For those of us who find ourselves legitimately tearing up — angry, barricaded in the bathroom and despairing over how we’ll get through the days, weeks and months ahead — doesn’t do the trick.”
It can be ‘very common’
Child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts, founder of parenting resource website Family Sparks, told Global News disliking parenting is a very common parental experience.
“I believe that when parents are feeling this way, they are suffering. They do not have sufficient or any help,” she explained. “They do not have extended family nearby who can lend a hand. They lack sleep and basic self-care. They struggle to balance the demands of their lives with the demands of their family.”
Raising children also comes with financial requirements, which mean family budgets have to stretch.
“All of this means stress. When parents feel this way, it might also indicate an underlying depression. In fact, people with post-partum depression often experience this kind of deep unhappiness with their parental role.”
She added these feelings can become more intense if parents are raising a child with special needs.
“I believe that parents do not always talk about these feelings because there is a kind of societal taboo to talk about personal challenges. Parents are supposed to be ‘in love’ with their roles, it is human nature. Feeling deep discontent can leave people feeling like they have ‘failed’ at their basic primal duty.”
Parenting has been set up ‘to fail’
Early childhood consultant Julie Romanowski of Miss Behaviour added many parents also set a ridiculous standard to be “perfect parents.”
“It’s not achievable,” she said. “I think the entire concept of parenting has been set up to be doomed to fail.”
She explained many parents may not like parenting, but very few are open to admit it. There is a lot of judgment in the parenting community, and coming off as a parenting-hater may equate to someone who doesn’t love their children.
WATCH: Do your kids make you question your parenting decisions?
For parents who have trouble adjusting to the routine, Romanowski said you have to set up your own expectations.
“I don’t think repetitive tasks are the issue (we can binge watch TV daily no problem),” she explained. “I think the repetitive tasks are frustrating, irritating and unfulfilling because we want to be doing something else and we can’t — we’re stuck doing these undesirable tasks instead.”
What can parents do?
Both experts agreed there are ways for parents to overcome some of these feelings. Not every day will be perfect, but there are ways to work around some of those tasks parents are finding too much of a routine.
“Get enough sleep and ensure proper self-care,” Roberts said. She also recommended creating a schedule you can actually follow.
Romanowski said parents should also know what type of support is out there.
“I wouldn’t ignore it or just suffer through it, I would look into feeling better as much as possible,” she explained. “That kind of stuck feeling or feeling of dissatisfaction can really weigh down a person and possibly affect mental well-being.”
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.