Childrearing

‘Being A Mother Bores Me,’ Admits Journalist Julie Cook – Let’s Thank This Woman For Her Honesty

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motherhood boring

“I didn’t know until I had my son — and found myself forcibly immersed in this world of play dates and parenting talk — how much I actively dislike children.”

This candid admission comes from 31-year-old journalist Julie Cook – mother to a boy named Alex – who has written a just-published piece for the Daily Mail called “I Love My Son, But Being A Mother Bores Me.” If we’ve learned anything from TIME magazine’s scandalous breastfeeding cover or The Atlantic‘s bold-faced assertion that women can’t have it all, it’s that publishers love a good Mommy War. Cook’s latest piece will stir up yet another controversy – mark my words.

I can see it now: the legions of critics who will devour Cook for admitting she’s uninterested in motherhood (some will say she doesn’t deserve to be a mom) vs. the supporters who will praise this woman for her brazen honesty. Personally, I fall into the latter camp. That’s because I believe her sentiments are way more common than you’d think. Actually, the only difference between Cook and probably 50 percent of mothers out there is that Cook had the nerve to share her thoughts in a national newspaper.

For those who haven’t read the piece, here’s a little sampling of what’s in store:

“I vowed I would not have another child: not because I feared birth or the first three horrific months where the tiredness could drive me to tears standing in a supermarket queue, but because it was only through experiencing it that I was made aware of how uninterested I am in motherhood.”

“I suddenly realized…I’d joined a club I didn’t really want to be a part of.”

“If I saw ‘mum friends’ coming towards me with their buggies, I’d turn mine 180 degrees quick smart and head in the other direction, desperate not to spend another mindless hour talking about the inanities of having a child. I didn’t feel the need to bill and coo over their offspring — having a child was exhausting enough without having to further exhaust myself pretending to be interested in a subject I found, frankly, dull.”

Many of Cook’s feelings are foreign to me personally; others are so bang on, it’s as if she’s read the secret diary in my head. It seems her friends feel the same way (some of them do, anyway). Cook describes how she confided in some girlfriends, telling them she finds motherhood to be a bore. Their eyes would widen in shock, she explains, until they’d have a couple glasses of wine and nod their heads in agreement, “guilt streaking their faces.”

“I miss my old life, the office, my colleagues. I’ve got no interest in kids at all — except my own, of course, but even that bores me sometimes,” admitted one friend. Others weren’t so understanding. As Cook describes, “[They’d] look at me with utter contempt or horror. Their lives seemed to revolve around little Jacob’s swimming lessons or Harriet’s art classes.”

Whether or not we agree with Cook, I think we should be thanking this woman for telling it like it is. The only part that irks me is that her little boy, Alex, will grow up and read this piece one day. That said, there is no question that he is very much wanted and loved. In fact, Cook sounds like a really good mom, which just goes to show that loving your child and feeling bored by motherhood aren’t mutually exclusive.

(Photo: dailymail.co.uk)

18 Comments

  1. Another Steph

    June 29, 2012 at 12:11 am

    You know, I actually agree with her somewhat . I’ve always hated babies and I thought that would change when I had one but it didn’t. It goes without saying that I love my baby but sometimes I’m like, “Just tell me what you want and hurry up and grow up so I can play with you!”

    However, I do think it’s… irresponsible, for lack of a better word, to broadcast this sentiment and include photos so that the son might one day read the article.

    • Mrs. Lynn

      June 29, 2012 at 8:38 am

      I agree. I love my son and I’m overjoyed to be his mom. I enjoyed pregnancy and becoming a mother but I still don’t like other people’s kids, though and most moms annoy the crap out of me. I love my nieces and my son. I’m not a fan of small children. I’m just not. I would also be lying if I said that there weren’t times I wish my son wasn’t so needy but he’s a month old, I have to be there for him at all times. Mostly, I love it, but sometimes I want to be able to come and go like I used to.

  2. lawcat

    June 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I agree with her. I love my son as well, but for a number of reasons we won’t have another.

    I generally am bored by other mothers as the conversation usually steers towards the children, or parenting, or some other facet of motherhood. I was uninterested in these topics prior to becoming a parent, and I’m uninterested in them now. I find playgroups and PTA tantamount to a circle of hell. Luckily, many of my friends feel the same way.

    Being a mother is not my life’s sole calling. It’s not something I yearned for. I would have lived a happy and fulfilled life with just my husband and I. But like I would for any member of my family, I would lay down my life for him. He brings joy to our lives and the love in our home grew when he arrived.

    My life isn’t wholly consumed by my child. I’m a wife, a daughter, a lawyer, a volunteer, a traveler, a bit of a foodie, and yes, a mom. I didn’t need to become a mother to feel fulfilled in my life. Being a mother isn’t my defining characteristic, it’s one part of many that makes up a complex person.

    • Nichole

      June 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      This has got to be the absolute most perfect response to this topic (so far anyway…I haven’t read ALL the comments yet.)! After almost every sentence I read, I responded in my head with, “Yes!” or “Exactly!” or “Finally!”

      Very well-written, and very spot-on, in my opinion! 🙂

    • whiteroses

      June 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      I agree with this completely. I’m a wife and a mom. That is by no means all I am. I can’t imagine my life without my husband or my son. But that doesn’t mean that the second I put on a wedding ring for the first time or held my son for the first time that I suddenly stopped being everything I was before. I’m a writer, a historian, a volunteer, a traveler, a daughter, a friend, and a cousin.

      I desperately wanted to be a mother. At the same time, I didn’t want to give up everything I was before. I love my nieces. I love my son. I adore my husband. But just because I’m one specific thing to one person doesn’t mean that I’m only that thing.

  3. Katie

    June 29, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I really liked this article. As a married 31 year-old who is on the fence about children I actually found it very encouraging, that the author isn’t into the whole mommy scene but still is a good mother and enjoys her son.

  4. Autumn

    June 29, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I can’t relate to all of this, I have never disliked kids. However, I can relate to some of it. I have two boys and sometimes I get bored and even frustrated with the whole parenting thing. I just recently graduated college and choose to find a part-time job where I could stay home with the kids during the day and work in my spare time, in the evenings. I need something for myself, something that does not revolve around parenting. As much as I love my kids and would do anything for them, two is enough and I will not be having more kids simply because I feel if I had more kids, I would have to be a stay at home mom. The thought of that simply depresses me. I will also admit that sometimes I feel playing with my children is a chore. That may sound horrible but seriously, I’m almost 26 years old, I just don’t know how to play with transformers and spiderman and it be enjoyable. I love doing things with my children, taking them places, spending time with them, but actually sitting down and playing with transformers or action figures?? I can’t bring myself to smile about that. On top of that, after spending all day doing laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, taking care of my 8 month old and 5 yr old AND going to work for 5 hours where I deal with other parents and their children….I just need a break and some me time. To close, I will say, being a parent is an amazing thing. I brought two children into this world and they are truly the best parts of my life. But that doesn’t mean the best parts of my life don’t sometimes drive me insane….and a little bored. And I applaud Mommyish for providing a safe place for parents to open up about such a taboo subject.

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  6. Nichole

    June 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I am a mom and I love my son but I am not into the mommy scene either. I don’t do mommy groups or play dates. I love time to go on my runs alone. And although I love my son a lot, he is not my entire world. My husband and I still have dates,we both work and life goes on. He is not our world but part of it.

  7. Bailey

    June 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I am a stay-at-hom-mom and I love spending time with my own kids but my husband recently told me that “for someone who’s such a good mom, it’s shocking how much you dislike children.” I think he hit the nail on the head. I’ve never been a kid person though I’ve always wanted to be a mom. That feeling definitely didn’t go away when I had my own kids. I still have little to no patience for other people’s children.

    I don’t know that I would say that I’ve ever been “bored” by motherhood- it’s too exhausting to be boring- but I do think it is very important to have interests outside of your kids. I do lots of things without my kids, either while they are in pre-school or in the evening when my husband can watch them. That’s good for he and I both. My biggest challenge with being a parent has nothing to do with my own kids and everything to do with my fellow mommy peers, most of whom seem incapable of having an interest outside of their kids. I often wonder what they were like before they had children. Surely they did something other than structure their days around lessons and naps and birthday parties.

  8. sweetpea

    June 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    She hit the nail right on the head. Granted there is too much to do as a mother to be `bored`in the ` I HAVE NOTHING TO DO`sense. But mothering is full of mind-numbing duties:feeding, burping, changing, trying to get a child to sleep and repeat. when they get older you have to deal with their attitudes as they attempt to find their sense of self.
    And as for the mommy talk, i ran away from it too. when i took the kids to a few activities like story time at the library, i realized i was the only mom who didnt come with another mom, and didnt go for coffee or playdates after. i spent the whole day knee deep in children i didnt want to talk about it.
    I applaude this woman for standing up to the whole `being a mom is the best thing in the world`crap that people try to throw at you.

  9. LiteBrite

    June 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I didn’t read the article, so I can only go by what was posted here; however, so far I can relate.

    I was never a “baby mommy”, you know, the mom who coos with her newborn and talks baby talk, etc. Oh I loved him to pieces and would fight to the death for him, but secretly I couldn’t wait until he was more self-sufficient. Now that he’s 4 1/2, I find he’s much more enjoyable to be around, but I still don’t get into playing with Legos, Spiderman, CandyLand, etc. I do it because it’s important to him, but that doesn’t mean that I do my little happy dance when he says, “Hey Mommy, let’s play Hi Ho Cherry O!” I don’t even like going to the park that much, especially now that he’s older and doesn’t need as much assistance. Sitting on a park bench watching him slide endlessly down the plastic jungle gym is not that exciting for me.

    I was also reading the other comments, and I agree with many of them. I don’t do playgroups or playdates (except with family or close friends), I don’t belong to any Mommy groups (most meet during the week, which interferes with my full-time work schedule), and the PTA = sheer torture to me. My kid doesn’t even – gasp! – do any activities like soccer or swimming (although I’m thinking of enrolling him in something when he turns 5 this November).

    I know a “Mommyhood is the greatest thing ever” zealot would look at me in horror for admitting these things and assume I don’t love my child. That assumption would be dead wrong. I love my child more than words can express, and yes, I love hanging out with him. I take him with me to festivals, the farmer’s markets, errands, etc. I just don’t like doing all the kid stuff that he enjoys, and I don’t find every aspect of motherhood engrossing. Thankfully I’ve been able to keep many aspects of my pre-child life (friends, job, volunteer work) which helps mitigate the boredom tremendously.

    • CW

      June 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      I don’t really like infants either. Babies are pretty boring until they are about 6 months old and can start doing stuff and interacting with people more. I fortunately did like my own babies more as infants than I do other people’s babies but I find it difficult to gush over infants like most women do.

    • Krissy

      July 4, 2012 at 5:30 am

      LiteBrite, you sound like my twin! My son is 4 1/2 also and I love this age so much more, now that he is more self sufficient. And agree with you re play groups etc, the toddler stage killed me and bored me at the same time. I often spend my weekends taking him to the farmers markets, errands,etc but try to make it fun for him at the same time and get him involved and making decisions while at it, so yeah, I hear you!

  10. Lynore

    June 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I am not a huge fan of the Mommy cult activities (because I tend to take a while to warm up to strangers) but other than that, I can’t really relate to this sentiment. Sure, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows every minute of every day (what is?) and I do miss sleep but I am on my second pregnancy and with a son and his activities, a full time career, a Master’s degree (now on hold),time with my husband and my friends the last thing I am is bored. I also can’t complain about pregnancy despite having potentially devastating complications with my son and being carefully monitored now. Of course I am most fascinated and awed by my own child but I don’t abhor other children (I like them!) and enjoy listening to other mother’s experiences and birth stories.

    The possibility of a third child is still on the table (because I would welcome more kids circumstances permitting) and although I don’t believe all women need or should experience motherhood to be fulfilled as women I feel that had I not had children I would have regretted it. And I will also add that I had no interest in having children until my 20’s had passed and I had established myself so it wasn’t as if motherhood was a lifelong dream. But it is a recent development in my journey and one that I am enjoying. I am glad that this author feels comfortable creating a space where honesty without judgment can prevail but I just cannot relate to it or some of the other comments expressed here.

  11. Ali

    June 30, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Wow. No trolls on this one? Thanks for the thoughtful discourse! I almost abandoned this site after the mean, judgy comments on the latest “alcohol while pregnant” article. Thanks for keeping it classy, ladies!

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  13. Androgyless

    March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    kudos to her for having the courage to say so. Personally, I’m glad I found out I don’t want children before being stuck with one. So, I’ll just stay happily childfree my entire life.
    I’ve had people staring at me in disbelief or try to twist my words in such a way that would make it seem like I did want one just because I told them ‘maybe an adoption if my partner really wants them’. Since then I’m full on no about adoption as well.
    I used to think I would get married and have kids later when I was a child because that seemed to be the way everybody was leading their lives. I’ve changed my mind on both during teenage years, realizing I have no obligation nor interest in either.

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