I love my children deeply. I couldn't imagine life without them, and I don't want to. But as much as I love being their mom I would be lying if I said I love every moment of parenthood. It's hard to admit the truth, but I think it's a conversation all of us moms should start having. And if you talk to other moms in confidence, they'll likely share the moments they've regretted motherhood, too. In fact, I don't know a single mom that won't admit to questioning her decision to become a parent from time to time.
Honestly, I think us moms are so wrapped up in trying to curate an image of a perfect home, perfect kids, perfect relationships, and perfect Pinterest-worthy parenting that we seem to forget that no one is perfect. So it's OK to hate your kids' behavior sometimes, or be completely overwhelmed by how hard it is to be a mom. It's alright to admit that you really miss sleeping or that you've suffered a monumental break down. It's OK to wish for the days when you were able to pee by yourself or leave the house at a moment's notice. We all have those moments, and the more we're willing to be honest about them the more moms will feel comfortable coming forward and being "real" about motherhood and all it entails.
Having regrets or missing your child-free life doesn't make you a bad mom. It just means you are being authentic about your experiences, and that you're willing to be honest with yourself about the parenting moments that make you wish you could take a very, very long break from your children. So if you're feeling a little down and out about motherhood, read these moms' confessions and know that you're far from alone:
"I remember sitting awake with a newborn who would never stop crying. There was a day when she'd been crying nonstop for hours. She was maybe 2- or 3-months-old. The only thing that would make her stop for a moment at least was my breast. So, I sat awake with her and I cried. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't feel some regret in that moment, having not slept in months."
"I have three older children and a toddler. I love my toddler with all my heart and wouldn't give her up, but I have had some horrible health issues since her birth that have almost bankrupted us and have destroyed me mentally. On really bad days I think life would have been a lot smoother if we had just stuck with the big kids. I hate myself for thinking that, and this is a really difficult subject for me to even think about."
"I would never trade my child for the world, but I do regret losing freedom. We’re constantly having to negotiate who will have to stay with him and who will get to go have fun or work or whatever. Everything is harder. You can’t just drop everything and go have fun like you can before having kids. It’s worth it because being a parent has a ton of rewards, too, but it’s also hard."
"The moment our second son was diagnosed with autism I instantly regretted parenthood. I felt selfish and wrong and like I'd made a mistake bringing this child into a world not designed for them with a parent who had enough of their own issues. [Parenting] two special needs kids [is] hard. If I knew I was going to have two I would've never done it."
"It was about three weeks in and one week after my twins’ discharge from the NICU when I first regretted parenthood. My children were allergic to sleep, my son had colic, and both had reflux. It was rough. I barely slept and postpartum depression was kicking in. I thought I made the biggest mistake of my life, and then I would be overcome with guilt because I had fertility treatments to conceive them."
"My son brought home a nasty stomach bug. I cleaned vomit for two days and then caught it myself. I decided to take him to daycare so I could rest. While vomiting in the daycare parking lot, and holding him in his car seat with one hand,because I hadn’t gotten him buckled yet, I thought for the first time ever, 'I really don’t want to be a mom right now.'
Being a single mom is tough all the time, but puking in a parking lot while the other parents just stared at me in disgust was my breaking point. I love my kid to pieces but, if I’m being honest, I was totally fantasizing about giving him away for a few minutes."
"Before you have had a child it is really impossible to understand how much you will love them. How all-consuming that love will be. After my son was born, in that newborn haze, I kept thinking about all the hurt he will endure in this life and was completely leveled by those thoughts. In those moments I regretted bringing him into the world. I still do sometimes."
"When my son was about 5-days-old, when breastfeeding was going terribly and I was in so much pain from my C-section. I felt terrible and didn’t want to deal with it anymore."
"When my kid hands me a poop nugget."
"When my son hasn't been able to figure out, despite two years of therapy and specialty workers in school, how to react to any large emotion with anything other than violence. I feel like I must've failed him from the start. "
"The moment when both twins defeated the baby gate, got a dozen and a half eggs from the fridge, and covered my beautiful, new, cream carpet with them."
"Right now, while I'm dealing with a worsening of my bipolar disorder and spending time on disability due to it. I can't believe I created these two awesome beings only to feel this way right now, wishing that I didn't have to deal with their needs while not being able to take care of myself. I hope they don't ever have to deal with a brain like this, but I fear they will because I'm the third generation of bipolars in my family."
"We decided to try for a second kid. I said, 'If it doesn't happen, we will be happy with one.' Then I got pregnant with twins. We should have just taken our one."
"I regretted it today in Target when I caught my toddlers puke with my bare hands."
"This morning I thought it was nearly lunch time and that the day was half over. I looked at the clock and it was only 9:05. I nearly cried."