I want to preface this post by saying that I love my son. I love him more than words can express. I can’t imagine my life without him and in the short time he’s been with us, he has brought us incredible joy. When he smiles, I melt into a giant puddle. When he hits a milestone (a few weeks ago it was rolling over) I feel like I’ve accomplished something incredible.
But in the spirit of being 100% honest, let me say this:
Sometimes I resent my child.
I feel like a bad mom for saying this, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one who’s felt this way.
Being a parent means you’re responsible for another human life. And with that responsibility comes incredible sacrifice. That means running on an hour or two of sleep, changing endless amounts of poopy diapers (and getting said poop on yourself too), arguing with your spouse about how to raise your kid, going days without a shower, living in your baggiest pair of sweatpants, shoveling food down your throat before your baby wakes up…you name it, us moms live it.
But didn’t you choose to be a parent? Yes, yes I did. But I’m not perfect and sometimes frustrations get the best of me. Sometimes I’m not the patient, loving mother I’ve always imagined I would be.
Here’s an example: last week, my son’s sleep took a nosedive. Instead of waking only once at night, he was waking every two hours crying. One night he cried off and on for two hours before my husband finally took him downstairs to his swing. And naturally, my son fell asleep immediately. Which leads me to believe there’s some sort of sleep association going on here (check out my sleep training post if you haven’t already).
I was angry, sleep deprived, and confused. I wished I understood why he was waking so frequently. But most of all I felt resentful toward him for the lack of sleep he’s brought upon on our household (even the dog is really tired).
You see, ever since Jackson was born, sleep has been a MAJOR struggle. We take two steps forward and then ten steps back. Just when we think we’ve hit upon a great schedule and he’s sleeping like a champ, BAM! something happens and we’re right back to where we’ve started. Isn’t that what parenting is, though? And shouldn’t I, as the mom, be able to handle it?
But most of all:
is it okay that I am resentful of my son for causing me to lose sleep?
In today’s world, I think it’s taboo to admit you feel anything other than absolute love, pride and joy over your child. But the truth is, we’re human. We have high expectations for our kids and when they don’t meet them, it can feel devastating. In some ways, I expect my son to act like a nine month old instead of a four month old. If I adjust my expectations, I think I’ll be more patient and better able to adapt to the daily challenges of parenthood.
So while the feelings of resentment may seem selfish (and perhaps they are), I’m learning that parenthood is a constant fluctuation between your former, more selfish side and the side of you that is sacrificing everything for this little person you’ve brought into the world. Those two sides are at war and darn it if my selfish side isn’t winning right now.
If you’re feeling angry and resentful toward your child for whatever reason, let me say this: you’re not alone. And it’s okay. In fact, I think it’s completely normal to resent your children at times (especially if you’re sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation messes with your mind. I like to plead insanity when I’m sleep deprived).
But you know what? At the end of the day, you love your kids. You’d do anything for them. And no feelings of resentment or anger will change that. So let’s talk about these feelings and help one another through the tough times. The times where we can barely pick ourselves up off the ground. Where we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Where, quite frankly, we aren’t even sure the tunnel has an end.
Moms, tell me I’m not alone here. Have you ever felt resentful towards your children? If you don’t feel like commenting below, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how I can help support you!
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