Most Parents Hate Parenting – Here’s Why
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Do you ever hate this whole parenting thing? There’s absolutely no shame here… I think most parents feel this way at some point in their parenting journey.
In this video, I’m going to cover 10 reasons you might hate parenting, and most importantly what you can do about it.
- You haven’t come to terms with your own childhood [00:53]
When we haven’t done inner work to reflect on how we were parented, then we might be holding onto baggage. Our children’s behaviors trigger us because we haven’t addressed our inner wounds. Even though your parents likely did a lot of things right, everybody has wounds from their childhood. Everybody has ways that they weren’t properly seen, heard, witnessed, or maybe even neglected, abandoned or abused. If you haven’t come to terms with those things, then they will haunt you as you raise your children. That’s because we project onto our children things that we experienced in our past. So if you find yourself getting constantly triggered by parenting itself, it’s crucial to go through a deep process of understanding of how you were raised. To start, I highly recommend the book, Parenting from the Inside Out by Dr. Daniel Siegel.
- You’re still waiting to be parented yourself [03:02]
If you never had a parent who truly nurtured you and role-modeled what it means to be an adult and had enough space in their hearts to nurture you emotionally and physically, then you might still be waiting for that. You might feel depleted from giving to others all the time when you feel that you’ve never been cared for and led as a parent needs to lead their children. Beyond the inner work we’ve spoken about already, the answer is to parent yourself. This means becoming aware that you have an inner child that still hurts and aches to be treated kindly and loved unconditionally. If you’re stuck in the “What about me?” mindset, then I want you to start to treat yourself like another child in the family. Treat yourself kindly. Take care of yourself. Be the mother you never had or the role model that you need. Hold space for your inner child that’s crying out for attention. And be that adult in the room that takes charge and leads.
- Your home is a mess [05:39]
If you have too much stuff and your home is not functioning well — surfaces are piling up, laundry is not getting done or put away, you can’t cook properly — then you probably are going to hate parenting. It’s not a pleasurable experience to be in a chaotic space that isn’t well run. The lowest hanging fruit that you can embark on here is to declutter and embrace minimalism within your space. (Check out these mistakes to avoid when doing this!) To really enjoy parenting, we need to create a great atmosphere in the home. Parenting can be overwhelming and maddening and triggering, or it can be fulfilling, satisfying, and pleasurable much of the time. But it all is going to depend on the steps we take to address our pain points.
- You haven’t stepped into your leadership role [07:29]
If you are waiting to be saved or told what to do, then you haven’t realized that… we are grownups! We are captains of our ships! We must take full responsibility for what goes on in our home. When we’re stuck in passive energy, we feel powerless, helpless and depressed. Our whole childhood, we’re told what to do by our parents, schoolteachers and bosses. Then suddenly we find ourselves leading our family financially, physically, emotionally and psychologically. We may not have made the psychological adjustment that we need to be leaders. So if you feel powerless, of course you’re going to hate parenting. The burden feels too great. You must begin to empower yourself and make decisions on what your family is going to be like: culture, boundaries, time management, social circles, education… everything! That can be overwhelming and scary, or it can be an exciting adventure. Today, I’d like to invite you to really look at it as an exciting adventure. This is real life! This is us stepping into our highest roles. That is the mindset that lets us start enjoying the journey rather than be intimidated by it.
- You’re giving waaaay too much of yourself [10:06]
Perhaps you’re burning out or on the brink of burnout. Parenting is a marathon and it has to be sustainable. The approach that I’ll just give, give, give, give, give all the time and sacrifice my own well-being and self-care is not sustainable. If you give too much of yourself, you will very quickly have nothing left to give. This is a very common parenting approach, and I think it makes us hate parenting and resent our children. The more that we give, the more people will happily receive. If you’re jumping up to get your child a cup of water that they could get themselves, if you’re rushing to tie their shoelaces when they’re old enough to learn how to do it, if you’re sitting there night after night for hours on end until they fall asleep when you could be setting a boundary and taking your evenings back for yourself, it’s important to realize that it’s not sustainable. The truth is that no one is going to come and tell you to look after yourself. That’s why you need to take the reins and prioritize your own self-care so that by taking care of number one, you can give from a cup that truly spilleth over.
- You’re not addressing key behaviors that are disruptive [13:40]
If your child is getting up multiple times in the night, is very whiny or clingy, is having severe tantrums all the time, is biting, hitting, kicking, screaming, talking back, or any other behaviors that might be driving you crazy, then you need to address them. You need to think about where those behaviors come from and how to handle them. You need a game plan. If you’re living with unpleasant behaviors from your child and you’re not addressing them, then of course you’re going to hate parenting. It’s not fun to live with a child who is wild or rude or violent, and feel like we’re powerless to guide them and be the parents we need to be for that child. As the parent, it is not only your right, but it’s your duty in my opinion to learn how to handle the behaviors that are disruptive and causing you to dislike your child’s company. You’ve also got to believe in yourself that you’re capable of doing that. Seek out the support, tools and approaches you need. Make a plan, put it into action and reclaim the enjoyment of being in your child’s company.
- You’re not sleeping enough [16:06]
So many parents I know are sleep deprived. We like to blame this on our kids, but we also need to take some responsibility for it. Are we going to bed too late? Are we scrolling on our phones before bed and disrupting our melatonin production? Are we not taking naps when we possibly could? People are tortured by sleeplessness, so if you feel tortured, it might just be that you are lacking restful sleep. When you’re exhausted, everything gets colored with that horrible feeling that everything sucks and life is hard. But if you were well rested, you would have the capacity to handle your children, to be creative, to be a leader and a problem solver. If you think you might be sleep deprived, start to really prioritize your sleep. If the problem really is your kids’ sleep, then you have the power to make changes to that as well. Kids can learn to sleep with consistency, support, high expectations, and a lot of follow-through (babies, too!). Sleep is so crucial to every aspect of parenting that I urge you to take the steps to make it a priority in your home.
- You’re not making it fun for you [19:00]
You may not be taking your pleasures where you can get them. You might not be treating yourself very well. Maybe you’re stuck in a suffering mode because your mindset is that you need to be a victim or a martyr, or to give up on your fun and joy, because you’re a parent. Now I’ve seen parents who tell me, I can’t even go to the supermarket by myself, or paint my nails, or even drink my coffee while it’s hot. Most of these people could swing a little bit more self-care. I recommend that you choose to enjoy your life, that you choose to treat yourself well and to take your pleasures where you can. If you want to have a walk and be in nature, then do that with your children. If you want to get a babysitter and go out with your partner in the evening, then do so. Enjoy your life, prioritize it, and make it something that you care about. It’s a way of reenergizing ourselves and it makes parenting more sustainable in the long-term to show up for our kids with a smile on our face.
- You’re comparing yourself to others [22:33]
We’re all on social media seeing happy families on the beach, living their best. And that comparison-itis is the thief of joy and really makes it very hard for us to love our lives. If you are finding yourself constantly comparing yourself unfavorably to others, I want you to think about what that’s doing to your level of happiness and health. I sometimes catch myself looking at families and thinking how incredible they look or how amazing their houses are or how happy they seem or how peaceful they are. And of course, we all have to remind ourselves that we’re just seeing the highlight reels. We’re just seeing the touched up, edited photos that people have chosen to publish and show to us. I think we all know this logically, but we still do it. Instead of that, I want you to start to turn inwardly and look at the things you love about your own life. Really see how your life is beautiful, incredible, amazing and unique. When we flip that around and start practicing gratitude for what we have, we’re much less likely to hate parenting right now and much more likely to feel good in our day-to-day lives.
- You have a fixed mindset [25:18]
If you think that things and people don’t really change — that you’re never going to stop yelling or that you’re never gonna be in shape or you’re never gonna have an organized home or a better schedule — if you think that you’re stuck forever where you are right now, you are seeing your life through a lens of pessimism. We want to look at our lives through a lens of optimism and notice that our challenges are transient and things that we can overcome. Carol Dweck has a fabulous book called “Mindset” that teaches us the difference between the fixed mindset, which sees things as unchanging, and the growth mindset, which notices that things are forever changing. Everything changes all of the time, including us and our children. If you hate parenting, you might be feeling like you’re stuck where you are or like you don’t have agency to make the changes and to flow into the next (perhaps better) iteration of you. I want to remind you that we do have that capacity to change, adapt and adjust and make our lives better every day.
Do any of these reasons you may be hating parenting ring true? How can you flip them around so that you can love parenting and parent from love? Let me know in the comments below or join me on Instagram @parentingjunkie!