• Fri, Mar 7 - 12:30 pm ET

Are You There, Moms? It’s Me, Idiot What Do You Hate Most About Being A Parent?

mom adviceWell hello everyone! How was your week? I’m back and hoping to learn from my most trusted source of advice on my future as a parent–you people. Yeah sure, I could just Google this crap, but I don’t trust the Internet. I trust you. I want you all to tell me what the worst part of being a parent is, and don’t hold back on my account. I can take it.

Generally speaking, parenting seems pretty great. Most parents I know seem to like their kids despite the fact that their kids obviously suck, and my own parents lie to me all the time by telling me that being parents is the best part of their lives.

I believe that parenting is probably one of the best things in the world (if you want to be a parent at all), but I also have eyes and was a horrible teenager, so I know that it’s basically the most thankless job on earth. I would imagine that after my mom found my pregnancy tests in high school, she didn’t run around beaming about the joy of parenting. She was probably equally unenthused when I claimed the pregnancy tests belonged to my 13-year-old sister, and then almost failed Chemistry. To be fair to my online reputation as a worthless piece of shit, I also get really great Mother’s Day presents.

I want to hear the broader themes of what you hate about parenting, and not just the isolated moments of teen hell-raising. Maybe it has to do with your life being shared, the weight of responsibility, or something like having to socialize with a two-year-old. I don’t know. Lay it on me. What am I in for?

Photo: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

You can reach this post's author, Julia Sonenshein, on twitter.
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  • Crusty Socks

    Julia, what do you think your parents would say was the worse thing about parenting?

    • Julia Sonenshein

      I’ve talked about this with them a lot! It’s an interesting conversation to have, because I think we’re approaching a relationship where honesty is more prevalent, so they’re sugar coating less. For them, it had to do with compromises they had to make in terms of being working parents with stressful careers–we saw them less than they (or us) would have liked.

  • jane

    Truly the worst thing about parenting is when they’re unhappy and there is nothing that you can do to fix it. My daughters ex-best-friend basically ditched her this year, and my daughter was so so hurt and there was really nothing I could do about it. Or when they have the flu and are totally disgusting and still all you want to do is make them better but there’s nothing to do but wait. Parenting often makes me feel really helpless.

    The early morning wake ups (read by 6.30 every single morning for the past 8 years) also suck donkey balls.

    • Kay_Sue

      This is so very true. It sucks to watch them hurting and not be able to make it better.

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Yikes, that does sound really awful.

    • Valerie

      Ugh that is tough. And I’m with you on the wake ups. My son is a big fan of the 5-6am hour. Has been since birth. Sucks.

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    I agree with Jane below. It’s beyond painful when your kid is sad and you can’t fix it. Seeing them get their feelings hurt is horrible. I remember when mine were smaller a lot of the bad parts had to do with feeling isolated and that I never had time for myself, just to take a bath or read or breathe for a few minutes. Now they are older and I realize I caused so much of my own anxiety trying to parent like I felt I should, freaking out about the house being clean when I should have just been enjoying them.

    I think the really bad parts have to do with on occasion not being able to deal with the love you have, because it can be scary as hell. Like considering them moving away and all that.

    On a more practical note, I HATE deciding what to make for dinner.

    • JLH1986

      It’s only 2 of us and I HATE deciding what to make for dinner. I started a recipe club on FB so I could poach recipes from people so I didn’t have to think so effing hard.

    • val97

      Yes, this. When my oldest son was 8, one of my sisters died. She was number one aunt and very close to him. It was heartbreaking for all of us, but seeing my son grieve like that was horrible. It’s been 6 years, and I’m still tearing up writing this.

      On a lighter note, dinner is the most annoying. I used to try to make enough dinner so that we would be able to have leftovers the next day, but now they are too big and eat everything in the house.

    • Zoe Lansing

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister!And,yes,even though I don’t have kids of my own yet,I can imagine how watching your child (no matter his or her age) grieve would multiply your own pain by quite a bit.When my sister died,a few people said things to my dad and stepmom (who,genetics be damned,definitely lost a daughter,as well.She’s our “real” mom in every way that matters) along the lines of “at least you have other children.”A stupid thing to say but in some ways accurate,as my brothers and I did help give them some motivation to go on despite,I’m sure,wanting to just crawl up and die at times.On the other hand,they also suffered (and still suffer) knowing the pain we were in (and,to a large extent are still in; as I’m sure you know,it’s not something you ever really get over).I also think that aspect of it made it harder on my grandparents.My paternal grandmother died 6 years before my sister but all the others were still alive.My grandfather said at one point that he never felt so helpless as he did watching not only his granddaughter die but watching his son lose his daughter, knowing how much pain he was in but not being able to do anything to stop it.And this was coming from a man who rarely showed emotion.I also got to know some of the other patients’ families quiet well while my sister was in the hospital.There was a 3-year-old little boy on her floor (even though she was 20-21,she was treated on pediatric oncology) who’s leukemia ended up be terminal,as well.His grandmother said to me at one point right before he died “as hard as it will be to lose my grandson, it will be even harder to watch my daughter lose her child.”

  • Kay_Sue

    The uncertainty. Here’s these little folks I am responsible for raising and caring for and keeping alive and mostly in one piece and making sure aren’t assholes. And yet every day seems to have a whole plethora of things that are working against me. And, to add a cherry to the cake, I have no idea how it will all turn out in the end. It’s kind of terrifying to me.

    • Margie

      Oh man, you said that perfectly.

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Yahtzee. Well said, and I would imagine my parents would say the same thing.

  • Margie

    Feeling like a failure because all my son wants to do is watch Team Oumi-Zoomi all day and I let him.

  • Mandy

    Worst thing about parenting: the “staging” as I call it. That is, having to be the one responsible for everything, in charge of everything, worrying about everything. Parenting would be so great if you could just play with your kids, take them to fun places, and watch them grow and develop. That is the best part. The worst stuff is the “other stuff” – preparing/cooking meals, loading/unloading the dishwasher, piles and piles of laundry, keeping them on a schedule, getting them down for naps, managing tantrums, taking them to endless doctor/dentist/specialist appts, making sure they have the right sized clothes when seasons change, packing lunches/backpacks, unpacking lunches/backpacks, worrying (health, social/emotional well being, futures, friendships, etc)…..you get the point. All that other stuff sucks. That’s why grandparents have it the best!!!!!!!! I can’t wait for that!!!!

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Yeah, parenting does sometimes seem like one big logistical nightmare hanging in the way of the good stuff.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      If I could hire a nanny/maid for the tasks (Housework, food, errands) and then get to focus on relationship stuff (fun, talks, discipline, teaching), that would be excellent. It’s easy to see why the rich do it.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I have an 11-month old son, so he hasn’t had any complex social situations yet. I think if he was bullied at school, my heart would break.
    But as for now, I hate getting him in and out of the house. It’s a real drag and it takes forever. I also don’t enjoy managing his nutrition. Seeing what he can/will and cannot eat and making sure it’s enough that he’ll sleep through the night and finish naps, and the clean-up and wondering if I should be discontinuing purees and pushing more self feeding… it’s not my favourite stuff.

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Blarg that seems like a literal juggling act.

  • Ptownsteveschick

    I feel confident in my parenting, but even with that, I am always worried. Am I doing the right thing, am I building my daughter’s confidence without making her an entitled asshole, should she watch tv, should I be doing more, doing less, doing different stuff. Will it all work out ok, will she grow up to have depression like me, how will I deal with it if she does, will she like me when she is an adult, will we be friends and on and on and on. For me, the worst part is that now, for the rest of my life, I will never not be worried.

    • Julia Sonenshein

      I can guarantee that I am on this track!

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      I’m pretty terrified of my daughter developing OCD like me. It has passed through four generations that we are sure of and has not diluted a bit. At least I was the one who realized what was wrong (it wasn’t as understood in my grandparents’ and dad’s era) and helped my sisters get diagnosed as well, so I have an idea of what to do, but man I do NOT want her to have to deal with this.

  • SA

    The fact that you can never truly relax. Even on date night you have to check your phone to make sure the sitter hasn’t called to let you know the house is on fire. You worry sitting at work if those sneezes are turning into a cold/flu/mad cow disease (depending on what you google). You go out of town for a concert for the night and the person watching your child isn’t answering their phone and you spend the first half of the show checking to hear from them. You read some awful tidbit in the news and instantly picture what if it were your child. You go over and over in your head again what you did wrong during the day. There is no vacation from being a parent.

  • Megan Zander

    For me it’s when I’m sick. I suffer from migraines and am prone to bronchitis, and pre babies I would take my meds and pass out for as long as I needed to. I’m a SAHM and my husband is a professor, so he can’t call out to cover for me when I’m sick. My kids are still little, so I’m hoping that in a year or two when I can plug them in front of the TV with some Goldfish and curl up with them it will get easier. But it’s really hard not to feel a teeny bit resentful when my head is screaming and they want to bang on things.

    • Zoe Lansing

      Ugh,I get migraines that cause me to actually lose my vision and my meds for them make me pass out (usually after vomiting) and I’m already worried about what I’ll do when I have kids and get a migraine, especially since my fiancé also has a job that makes it really hard to call in sick.Too bad we don’t know each other IRL (and probably live nowhere near each other) or we could agree to watch each others’ kids when one of us has a migraine! I’d even watch yours now before I even have my own for you to watch cause I know firsthand how much migraines suck!

    • Megan Zander

      They are the worse. I get annoyed when someone says they have a migraine while shopping or something, because it’s like, if you really had one, you would be in a pitch black room unable to communicate! I would totally babysit swap for you too! That’s one of the saddest parts of maki friends online, not being close by at all :(

  • TashaB

    Mentally, the logistics of daily life (will I make it to daycare on time? what the hell are we having for dinner?) and the worry about the kids health/future (ie, will the economy ever pick up so that when my child is ready to leave home, that is an actual possibility because JOBS?) super suck donkey balls. She’s only just turned two, so a lot of that is a long way off for me.
    The in-the-moment really hating thing for me is bodily fluids. We’re potty training right now, and I really, really hate pee on my floor. And vomit. Being vomited on by your child is the worst – the vomit is gross, your kid is crying because vomit, you are squicked out because vomit and now wondering if you should call the doctor/health nurse because vomit.

    • Lee

      My kid pooped on the floor on Wednesday. Then he stepped in it. Then he stepped on the rug. It was awful.

  • AlexMMR

    A lot of days are just boring. The girls are only starting to learn how to talk and they have their own agenda for the day. If I do anything to try to entertain myself, they get upset but if I just try to sit on the floor so I can interact with them, they aren’t interested. Apparently my job is to sit there, all day every day without actually doing anything.

    • Abby k

      So, so true. And heaven forbid you play with one kid and not the other at the same time-even if the other kid did not want to play with you, now they do!

  • val97

    I didn’t do well with the baby stage – the interrupted sleep and the constant cleaning of disgusting stuff – yuck. Now with one teen and one tween, I’d say the worst part is worrying about their futures. To my dismay, I was not #blessed with geniuses, and they both have struggled in school at different times and about different things.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Honestly, if you had been gifted with the gifted and talented (as an atheist, even the ironic use of #blessed makes me SMH), you’d still likely be worried. I was incredibly smart but also incredibly lazy, so I’m pretty sure I got into college based mainly on my mad standardized-test-taking skillz. Not to say my grades were horrific or anything (I was a B+/A- student all averaged out over four years), but my parents were absolutely right that I could’ve done better if I’d actually bothered to try.

      TL;DR: It’s my opinion as someone who was a “gifted” child that you’ll probably worry about your children’s futures no matter how they’re doing in school.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      To be honest, the other direction isn’t exactly the high life. I’m the first person in either side of my family to go to college. I go to the most highly ranked university in Ireland, it consistently is comfortably in the top 100 universities in the world, and the pressure is staggering. I love what I do and i’m proud of myself for being where I am but having 50+ people constantly on your case about being the best, outdoing all your competition and being the top of the class is unbelievable, especially now i’m nearing the end of my Bachelor’s and the thoughts of a PhD/Masters arise. To pick up a lazy stereotype, the classic ”studious asian kid” has all of my empathy and sympathy.

      If you’re really worried about their futures, think about trade schools and community colleges. Applicable or broad range knowledge and skills. They’ll figure their own strengths and work from there. Internships, if you can get them, are a godsend. The best thing imparted in me was independence though, basically learned how to be grown up- house skills, budgeting, balancing a cheque book, taxes, grocery shopping, how to wash clothes without turning everything blue. Basic shit most normal adults don’t even second guess.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    I think the worrying. Am I do doing this right? Do I yell too much? Am I stimulating him enough? How can I prevent him from becoming a bully? How can I motivate him to work hard and do well in life and not be a slacker?

    Will all the work and worrying I put in matter? Will it pay off? I now see why parents can be so distraught when their kids do drugs, get into trouble, have sex at an early age or don’t want to do anything with their lives. You can feel as if YOU somehow failed your kids despite your best efforts.

  • Abby k

    My mom always used to say “it feels like I’m talking to a wall”, and we would all roll our eyes and tell her she was so dramatic (or, you know, we’d think that because no way am I telling my mom she’s dramatic). But now I totally get it-the worst thing is being ignored. It’s like you can say anything you want and they can even be looking straight at you, and still nothing seems to get through to their tiny, adorable brains. And then you say it louder and louder and suddenly you’re screaming and your kids are like “whoa, calm down mom, why are you always so angry?” And then you go scream into a pillow because now no one listens to you AND you’re Angry Mom. AND IT NEVER ENDS. Is there a way to make a manic, twitchy-eyed, crazy person smiley emoticon?

    • TngldBlue

      I’ll get progressively louder, the dog will have hid under a chair three requests ago, and I’ll finally lose it and my daughter will look at me like what the hell lady, no need to scream. It drives me to drink.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      Oh my god, this is me! I mated with the most stubborn person on the planet and it directly translated into our daughter’s personality.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I teach middle schoolers so I get that at work AND at home.

  • Natasha B

    The worst part of parenting? How sorry people feel for you, and assume you’re lying or sugar coating when you tell them you’re a SAHM, and yes, you actually enjoy it. And that you must be on some strong drugs to actually enjoy being around your kids. And that you’re wasting your bachelor degree and why don’t you have a career?!?! And assume you’re some backwards non feminist crazy conservative.
    Rant. Over.

    • Kay_Sue

      I hate this so much. Especially your last sentence….I feel it, I really do.

    • Natasha B

      Yeah, some days are worse than others. Oldest had a DI competition recently, which meant I had to hang out with all the other moms all day…all older, all ‘big’ careers, all made some snide-ish remark when it was revealed that not only an I a SAHM, but pregnant, with ‘GASP’ a FOURTH child. On purpose. And enjoyed it. The norm in our ‘burb is 2 kids max, high power the kid from the moment they pop out. It gets….old…sometimes.
      Add to the fact that I’m in my early, early 30′s and people just get rude.

    • Brittany Anne

      Oh, I so feel you. I’m a SAHM too, and in my early 20s. My husband and I got married right out of college, and wanted to have kids right away. We knew we wanted one parent staying at home while the kids were young. We decided that my husband would work and I would stay at home because a career in law is a lot more lucrative and stable than a career as a freelance pianist. It was the logical solution for our family.

      I think the worst part for me is that people think, because I’m a SAHM, that I have zero interests outside of my child, which is completely untrue.

    • Natasha B

      Yes! Precisely! I can carry a conversation about something besides diapers and nap schedules! Let’s talk politics, sexism, fashion, newest books, movies, etc. I’m still a real live human with varied interests, I just happen to have a small litter of adorable spawn that I tote around with me.

    • Shadow Guest

      I have a real, honest and non-snide question concerning having a degree and being a SAHM: why did you (all) personally go through the years and money of school and brain-crunching studying and all that jazz, and then choose stay with the kiddos? I wonder because an old friend of mine is about to get her doctorate in quantitative psychology (nine years of school!) and at the same time has always wanted to stay home with kids when she has them. My first (un-enlightened) thought was, “you’re going to go to school for nine years to only continue a career for what…three years?!”
      I’ve only ever known one SAHM, and she wasn’t too fond of her situation, so it was a pretty bad pool to learn from; and what better place than you Mommyish readers? I’m one of those creepers who usually lurks in the shadows and does not comment often :)
      *creeps away*

    • Brittany Anne

      This is actually a really good question! I went to college mostly because it was never a choice in my family *not* to go to college. It was just what I was going to do, and there was never any discussion about it.

      As for my degree, I have a BM in piano performance. I knew that I would, most likely, be taking off several years at some point to raise young kids, because I knew I wanted children at some point. So I wanted a degree that would offer some flexibility. As a musician, it’s pretty easy (or at least easier than in other fields) to take some time off, then jump back in, whether it be with piano teaching, freelancing, working at a church, whatever. As long as you can play, people don’t tend to care so much about gaps in your resume, at least in my experience.

    • Kay_Sue

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a lot of reasons.

      The first and biggest, is that when I actually achieved my degree, I wasn’t considering being a house-spouse. I was intending to work. While I was already a parent, I saw supporting myself and my son as a primary objective.

      When I decided to stay home, I was in a different spot in my life. I don’t regret taking the time to get my education. I like having something to fall back on, and I want to push forward and probably either do another or post-grad when my youngest is in school, because eventually I will return to the workforce (unless my novel pans out–who wants the movie rights??). The decision was easy for me at the time because I was very burned out. While I had a job I’d enjoyed for a while, I was a “fixer”. I got moved to manage stores that needed fixed…then I fixed it…then I got moved to another store that needed fixed. On top of that, the last store we had “fixed”…and upper management decided to liquidate it anyway. So this is kind of an extended vacation.

      There’s also the fact that, when I was in retail management, the hours and job itself were competing with my family. And sadly, my family consistently lost. For a long time, I was the bread winner, while my husband was in school. So my job had to take precedent–it was what paid rent, kept our cars rolling, kept the lights and heat on, put food on the table, etc. But I also distinctly remember getting home one night, walking into my kids room to kiss their (sleeping) foreheads, and breaking down in tears because I hadn’t seen them in three days. In a way, I really relate to Oprah–she said she remained childfree because she knew something would suffer, and in her world and her personality, that would be her children. I had a very distinct moment there were I realized that I could keep doing a job I was passionate about (sometimes too passionate) or I could be a mom. It’s not like that for every woman–there are so many that balance it better than me, my own mom being one of them–but for me, personally, that was a choice I had to make. When things aligned better, my husband finished school, my store was closing, he got brought on full-time at his current employer–it just seemed like everything was right to take some time off. I’m enjoying it, and I plan to use the time to find a new passion, preferably something that I can balance with my family.

      Anyway, this was long, and doesn’t even begin to delve into it. But I hope it’s kind of a start to understanding why some women choose to.

    • Valerie

      I think you are awesome and wish we could be buds for real. :-) You are such a smartie pants.

    • Kay_Sue

      Hey, it takes someone awesome to know awesome, so I am going to have to trust your opinion there. ;)

    • Valerie

      #AwesomeTwinsies

    • Natasha B

      When I graduated HS and went to college, I honestly had no ‘plan’ to ever be a SAHM. I didn’t even know if I wanted to get married, or settle down. I went to college, because that’s what was expected, and I wanted a higher education, and the experience, and options for my future besides expert soft serve server at DQ. I switched majors freshman year, and finished with a business degree. I had some great experiences, and I did work full time after school, in a business position with some great opportunities-even when I got pregnant and raised my daughter as a single parent for several years, until I met my SO. I worked full time until she was 4, then when we decided to expand outpr family, we looked at our options and decided I would stay home. We’re now working on addition number 4, which means I’ll be home for a while yet. I honestly never saw myself as a SAHM during my early 20s, but I love it and wouldn’t trade it. I’m still in touch with my former boss/mentors from my previous job, and know IF I decide to re enter the workforce, I will have good contacts.
      I think , sometimes, women go into being a SAHM with these expectations that every moment is going to be Instagram-worthy and beautiful and perfect, and are so let down and feel like failures, when frankly, it is not. It’s hard and messy…like life. It takes work and effort, like life.

    • neighbor57

      I am not a SAHM, partly because it would drive me nuts, but mostly because I’m a single mom and someone has to pay the bills. (The kids, so far, have refused to.)
      Most of my friends are SAHMs, most with college degrees. 1) They are a lot more aware of the world and involved in their kids’ education, 2) They have intelligent conversations with their husbands, 3) They will not have little children forever and will one day reenter the business world.

  • Diane Harrison

    I hate watching them struggle and not being able to fix their problems. I hate watching my oldest son idolizing other kids and mimicking them even though we talk about being a leader, not a follower. I hate seeing my kids bullied…or at least made to feel badly by the “mean girls”. I hate raising kids with a spouse that on the most basic, fundamental level disagrees and fights every single parenting decision. The kids are pure joy, everyone else around them makes parenting one of the most sad, hopeless jobs around.

    • Guest

      The nice thing about little kids idolizing and mimicking other kids is that they may learn more than if they were on their own so they can be a leader one day. I learned tons from my older brother, in particular I remember him teaching me how to be funny which seems so random but was a foreign concept to a small child. Now as adults I lead and he seems to follow (getting a big kid job, buying a house etc). There is still hope :) Although I would say being a follower is certainly not a bad thing (unless it is a “drink the koolaid” kind of follower).

    • Diane Harrison

      Yeah…he’s a drink the koolaid sort. :( Something that just happened two days ago is the perfect example….(he’s 8 btw) Son came home two days ago and said his best friend wears a bunch of friendship bracelets (like 12 of them) and he begged me to buy him some. Because I have a daughter, we have a rainbow loom….so mommy spends the next 5 hours making him a dozen bracelets in “boy” colors and designs. He wore them proudly the next morning to school…I picked up yesterday afternoon and he didn’t have any on. They were hidden in his bag. He broke down in tears when I asked why he wasn’t wearing them and he said the “best friend” told him his were stupid and ugly. So my kid only wanted bracelets because everyone else was wearing them and then stopped wearing them because everyone told him not to. See what I’m saying? I’d rather he have not wanted them at all and then when he got teased, I’d have rather he just laughed it off and said, “oh well..I like them!”.

    • Brittany Anne

      This is only sort of related, but I have a brother who is 15, and he seriously is the only 15-year-old I’ve ever known who genuinely gives no fucks about other people’s opinions of him. He is so cool, and I’m just using this comment to brag about him, but I sincerely admire him for his self-confidence. I only hope that I can instill that in my kids.

    • Guest

      Yeah, that is definitely a concern. Hopefully as he gets older he feels more confident in his own opinions mattering as much (if not more) than anyone elses :-/

    • EmmaFromÉire

      The most confidence I ever gained was when I started taking singing classes, and took up debating in school. I never sang publicly, but even singing in front of one or two other people was massive for me. With debating, my own opinions were grounded. When you think he’s the right age for it, I’d definitely look into it!

  • Lee

    The worst part of parenting for me was giving up some control to other people. I work full time so during the week my son spends his time between 2 grandma’s, a babysitter, and daddy. Everyone isn’t going to do things my way and it took me a long time to accept that.

    • SA

      Oooh. That is a good one too….I’ve definitely had to work on that.

  • Rachel Sea

    I was mommy to my cousin for much of his baby and childhood, and I was constantly afraid I was screwing him up. His mom was a deadbeat, and his dad just wanted to be his buddy, and he was born into our family, which meant the odds of him being a drug addict were staggering. He had so many things working against him, and me being a teenager, and having no good parenting role models felt like one of them.

    In retrospect I did a pretty okay job, and I am so proud of the person he grew up to be, but at the time I felt like I was drowning. Turns out that feeling was the most normal part of the whole situation. Almost everyone fears they are screwing up irreparably, but mostly kids turn out fine.

  • Zettai

    The honesty is enlightening but I’m getting kind of depressed here.

  • ShanLea

    The (mostly) irrational fear that no matter what you do you’re screwing it up. My older kid has been having a stomach issue for some time-if I let him stay home and he ends up not feeling too bad as the day goes on, I feel like I’m setting an example of education not being important. However, if I send him to school and then he calls me 2 hours later because he can’t stop throwing up, I feel like I’m not caring enough about his health. One example of many, sometimes you just feel there is no way to win.

  • aCongaLine

    In the moment, I hate that my expectations, my husband’s expectations, and the reality of me being the stay at home parent are not at all the same. WHile I love being with my kids (most of the time, when they’re not assholes… but, if they’re going to be assholes, I’d rather they be assholes to me), I don’t love the shift in my marriage that being home with the kiddos has caused.

    In general, I hate the largeness of it- I have these two kids who are happy and healthy, but I feel uncertain, and self-conscious, about my ability to parent. I’m worried that I’m screwing them up without realizing it. I can only hope that what I’m doing as a parent is sufficient to help mold them into respectable, happy, productive members of society.

    • emilyg25

      I really appreciate the honesty of this.

    • aCongaLine

      It felt really good to write it out. Everything’s a work in progress.

    • Natasha B

      I second Emily. Your honesty is awesome. When I first went from full time working to SAHM, it was hard. It took a while before we worked everything out and found a good rhythm. But it’s lots better now.

    • ted3553

      Managing expectations is HUGE! we’re working on it as well. Somehow, my husband thinks that I will work full time and have trips out of town, have an immaculate house and never complain that perhaps when he’s off work for a week at a time, he could take over a good part of the workload. We’ve come a long way which is why I haven’t killed him but we’ve got a long way to go. I also put all kinds of expectations on myself that I fail to meet regularly.

  • TngldBlue

    At first the hardest part was the loss of my autonomy. I really wasn’t prepared for the complete upheaval that comes with having a baby. Now that she is 4, it is definitely the worry that I’m screwing her up and she’ll end up a homeless drug addict at 18.

  • ted3553

    From the teen end-having to just listen and guide and let them make mistakes when if they just did what I told them, i could save them the hurt/ struggle/pain/time. It’s so hard to keep calm and talk rationally when my teen mentions that her friend has a boyfriend who NEVER leaves her alone. I could lecture all I want about how what he does is a precursor to abuse and he’s incredibly controlling but I have to discuss and calm down because if not, I lose all effect and any influence.
    From the little one end, it’s really a shift because my life isn’t all about me. I had my kid later (34) so I had a well established pattern and that’s all changed. There are days I’d kill to get up, eat breakfast, go to the gym, come home, watch ridiculous reality shows all afternoon and go out with girlfriends at night. Now, that never happens and one of those parts take a lot of planning.

    • Brittany Anne

      My son is only 10 months old, so thankfully I have a long way to go before I have to deal with teenagers. But I love what you said about being calm and rational, and it’s something I really want to do well too. When my brothers and I were teenagers, we very quickly got to the point where we didn’t tell our parents *anything* because they freaked out so badly about stuff. Not anger, really, just anxiety that snowballed into extreme overprotective-ness. (My curfew all through high school was 8:00.) I know that they worried because they loved us so, so much, so I don’t really begrudge them it, but I do want my kids to (hopefully) feel a little more comfortable talking about things with me.

    • Elise Elyz

      what feels hard to me is that for now, my life seemingly isn’t at all about me…

  • Valerie

    Honestly? The internet. I am so afraid that all of my carefully laid plans for how I will parent and what kind of people my kids will grow up to be will be demolished by one ill-conceived selfie or that they will be bullied to the point of suicide by a bunch of their dickbag peers. I think parenting now is the hardest it has ever been in so many respects. I realize we have all the modern conveniences one could ask for but along with that comes so many other concerns that past generations have not had to deal with.

    • Natasha B

      I’m late reading through all the comments, but YES. THIS!!!! Terrifies me to no end. Our oldest daughter in 9, and while the whole social media thing is not creeping in yet, it will be soon. And it scares me soooo bad.

  • Julie

    I can’t get as drunk as I want. Also all the spilt juice.

  • Emily Wight

    Sometimes the kid wakes me up at 5:30 in the morning so I put on Toopy & Binoo and throw some Nutri-Grain bars on the floor but he won’t leave me alone so I end up semi-conscious on the couch at 5:45 in the morning on a Sunday with fruit goop and crumbs on my face while the world’s most mind-numbing puppet show plays onscreen and then the kid doesn’t ask to be taken to the bathroom and pees on the floor.

  • Jennifer Freeman

    The worst part? Having to become a better person and feeling really crappy when I am less than perfect. I am pretty quick-tempered and a bit of a perfectionist, and I have a bad habit of holding others to ridiculously high standards (and being annoyed when they don’t meet those standards). It has taken a lot of time and work to see that not everything needs to be perfect, that not everything will be perfect, and that kids aren’t supposed to be perfect. Having a teenager has been tough in that regard; she is learning and growing and there are just things that she won’t know to do or think about doing that I assume are common knowledge.

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      Are you a Virgo?

    • Jennifer Freeman

      No, I just tend to be a demanding jerk fro time to time. :)

  • Jaclyn

    Nobody is kidding or exaggerating about that whole “you never fucking sleep ever again” thing. I thought that once my daughter was a little bit older, I’d start getting more/better/uninterrupted sleep again at some point. Well, she’s almost 4 now and that hasn’t happened yet. On the upside, you sort of get used to it. I just had my second baby a few months ago and I don’t even feel like a zombie… anymore than usual, at least.

  • JaneDoe27

    When my darling first son was about 4 weeks old, I was sitting in a downtown park breast feeding him when he pooped the world’s largest liquid poop. It was a poop that literally defied the laws of physics. No 8 pound child could hold 12 pounds of liquid manure. It covered every inch of my body from my neckline to my ankles and every inch of my baby boy.
    I had to walk into the lobby of a hotel across the street and use their washroom. I stripped off my dress and put it to soak in a sink and then stripped off my baby and bathed him in another sink. A woman came in and saw me standing in my poop covered underwear, hair ends streaked with poop, washing my poop covered baby, doing my laundry in the sink and asked with great sympathy if we were homeless.
    This is parenting. On the down side, my son is now 16 and is way more full of shit now.

    • noelle 02

      Ok, you truly did make me laugh out loud, which rarely happens online. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kat

      Omg!!! That is completely & utterly HILARIOUS. I almost cried!

  • LiteBrite

    I think for me it’s trying to balance motherhood with all the other stuff I have to do. I don’t mean that in a “Woe is me; my life is so haaaarrrrdddd” way,
    but I will say that I have less daily free time than I did before I had a
    child, and yes, that’s difficult sometimes.

    It’s also hard to balance that daily stuff with always having to be “on” for my son. For example, I’ve had a really difficult week, but I still have to be willing to play Legos, and Candyland, and be cheery, etc when what I really want to do is sit in front of the TV for 10 straight hours drinking vodka right out of the bottle. My mind is screaming “I vant to be alone!”, but a little voice next to me is saying “Mommy……”

  • Kendra

    The judgment. Easily. No matter what you do in any given situation, somebody is going to be looking at you like you are an idiot or incapable or horrible or whatever. If you ignore a tantrum, you’re a jackass. If you give into a tantrum, you’re creating a monster. If you leave in the middle of a tantrum, you’re teaching them they can get attention. And so on and so on and so on. Parenting would be so much more peaceful if you could go about it without having to know that you are getting side-eyes from 50 different people at any given time for 50 different reasons.

  • Jayamama

    The guilt.

    You can never do it right. If your two-year-old has a tantrum in the store and you give her a swat to get her attention, someone thinks you’re abusive and are going to raise a violent school-shooter. If you ignore her, someone thinks you’re too lenient and are going to raise a spoiled, self-entitled brat. And honestly, though you try to not care about what people think, you wonder in the back of your mind whether they’re right.

    You’re up all night with your sick baby and your toddler gets up at dawn wanting cookies for breakfast. When you say no, she has a melt-down and you snap at her because you’re exhausted. Or you spend all of her nap time getting the living room back in order, and she makes a huge mess in the ten minutes after she wakes up and you yell at her in frustration. You know it’s wrong, and you tell yourself that you’re only human and make mistakes. But you look at her tear-filled eyes and feel so horrible for losing it your cool.

    No matter what you do, you know deep down that you may be screwing your kids up for life and there’s no way to know until they’re adults and won’t talk to you. All you can do is your best and hope that it’s good enough.

    • Jessica Johnson

      Beautifully put!

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      Can I change my answer? Because you just so perfectly nailed it that I’m feeling a little teary-eyed.

  • neighbor57

    The worst is never being alone. Never. I don’t mean physically alone, because any mom who doesn’t actually leave her children and go somewhere else for a time will end up driving into the ocean. But even when I get away, the children will not leave my head. I think about them, wonder if I’m raising them right, wonder if they’re going to be serial killers, whether they’ll talk to me when they’re adults, whether they’ll use drugs, etc., etc. They will not leave my head!

  • whiteroses

    The worst part, for me, is that there are so many things that I can’t fix. I’m a problem solver. I’m used to getting into the center of something and getting it done.
    My son recently had a violent allergic reaction to some medication he was taking. There are few things worse than having a child who is hurting or in pain and you can’t fix it.

  • MamaLia138

    Thank you all! You’ve made me feel sane! I have one little boy. He is two and I often wonder: Am I totally fucking this up? Is it normal to feel like parenting sucks sometimes? I love my kid. He’s adorable, smart, funny, but I get overwhelmed with the demand if it all. I work full time. I also worry full time. The uncertainty. Am I being to harsh? Am I being too soft? Will my son have a tantrum in the grocery store? Will I get to work on time? And of course the guilt. If I take him to school with a runny nose and I get a call at 11am saying he’s now got a102 degree fever I feel like the worst mother ever. If I call off work and stay home he’ll feel fine in an hour and now I lost money from not going into work. If he spends the night at grandmas on Saturday I get some much needed rest and time with my husband. BUT then I feel like I’m not spending enough time with him. After all, he’s in daycare 5 days a week! The staging too. Laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning. Hell, that’s why I really need a break sometimes! Reading these reminded me that we are all just doing the best we can. Sometimes you DO totally screw up. Sometimes your child does or says something that makes you feel like the worlds greatest parent. It’s all push and pull. There is no true balance. The key is remembering that you worry, feel guilty, and work your ass off because you LOVE them. Love isn’t all they need, but it’s the most important. Sorry so long, but I wanted to say how much I understand what you’re all feeling and THANK YOU for saying it here. Sanity restored!

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      THIS.

  • Alanna Jorgensen

    They. Constantly. Want. Something.

    And not getting out as much as I used because I don’t want to over use my mom babysitting.

  • vicky

    the lack of sleep, time, clean clothes… babies take over your life, my daughter is 13 months, she drives me crazy, i loved her so much and still there are times when i wish i had waited longer to have kids, i have to work 9 hours a day, husband is not too cooperative, daycare is not the best, she gets sick with other kids bugs and thats terrible. honestly, being a parent is no picknic, its a job, a thankless one