We all have our "off" days when it comes to raising kids. The days where you swear if you have to change one more explosive diaper you're probably going to explode yourself; the days when trying to communicate the importance of broccoli to a child that loathes anything green; the days when you finally reach your limit and you want to quit mothering. We all have them, and it's okay to sometimes not want to parent anymore because of them.
The one thing that every mom thinks, but rarely says out loud is that, sometimes (or even a surprisingly decent amount of time) we just want to quit motherhood. We just want to pack up our spit-up covered bags and be on our merry way, back to the days when our lives weren't dictated by a tiny human's bowel movements. Motherhood provides you with some inevitable life changes that, while wonderful, are also difficult. Because you're still human and you're still flawed and you're still capable of being selfish, growing tired of caring for a child is a perfectly normal part of parenthood. In fact, if motherhood hasn't completely exhausted you at some point, you're probably not doing it right because this gig is serious. It's awesome and priceless and magical, but damn if this journey isn't a trying one.
The good news is: you're not alone. Even if the moments that leave you wanting to quit the parenting game make you feel like a terrible parent, you're not. You're doing fine. Actually, you're doing better than fine and the one thing you need to know when you feel like quitting is that, well, you won't. That thought will come and go and you'll experience one of those priceless parenting moments and all will feel right in the world. So if you ever get to feeling down; if you ever doubt your abilities to raise tiny humans into capable adults; if you ever think that parenthood feels like an endless abyss of tantrums and messes, just remember that it's not your fault. There are many, many, completely justifiable reasons for why you feel like giving up, including:
Parenthood Is Physically Exhausting...
Getting little to no sleep for months at a time isn't for the faint of heart. There's a very valid reason why physicians recommend getting a solid eight hours of sleep per night; it's because we function at the level of a bunch of inebriated college students if we don't. Just because we're able to soldier through a slew of sleepless nights for the sake of our child, doesn't mean that we're fully functioning or that we're of sound mind and body. Sometimes there just isn't enough coffee in the world to keep our eyes open long enough to button those tiny little snaps on our kids' clothes and, usually (at least during those first few months) the lack of sleep is out of our control.
...It's Also Mentally And Emotionally Draining
Oh, you thought you were just going to be physically exhausted? Negative. Even if you're part of a parenting team that participates equally in the feeding, changing, and rocking, you're probably still going to want to reach for the wine before 9 AM at some point. Raising children is no easy feat, and constantly giving every last ounce of yourself to a tiny human that depends on you for their every waking need often leaves nothing left of you for, well, you. Not getting even a few minutes to gather your thoughts or to take a deep breath can (understandably) make a person feel temporarily insane.
Toddlers Can Be Real Jerks Sometimes
Of course you love and adore your children, but that doesn't mean they can't be jerks sometimes. The only thing you can do is try to be as patient with your child as possible, even when they're rolling around in the floor screaming because, no, they cannot have cake pops for breakfast. Remember that it's likely just a phase and they lack the developmental skills to adequately express themselves or process their surroundings and while it's difficult for you, it's difficult for them, too.
Constantly Guessing What Your Baby Is Crying About Can Get Old
Babies are so helpless when they're first born, and the only way they know how to communicate their needs is by crying. Once you and your baby are better acquainted with one another, you'll begin to learn how to interpret their needs based on your baby's decibel range. A little whining? They're probably just sleepy. Hitting the high notes? Get the bottle now. No, seriously, right this second before you lose your hearing! Until you've gained a better understanding of their inevitably crying and what each specific cry means, trying to figure out what your baby needs can be frustrating and it can take a lot of trial and error before you figure it out. Just know that you will figure it out eventually.
It's Easy To Feel Isolated
It's strange how becoming a parent can actually make you feel very alone. Your family just grew, so why would you feel more alone now? Well, the answer is different for everyone, but many parents often feel very isolated from their pre-child lives amid the many changes that a new baby brings. When you spend basically all of your time watching the Disney Channel or reading baby books or singing lullabies, it's easy to feel segregated from other adults that maybe aren't in the same phase of life is you.
Sometimes It Feels Like You're Failing
Even the best of mothers experience moments where they feel like they're falling short. Kids are unpredictable, and what they want or need varies from day to day. Keeping up with their ever-changing appetites and attitudes and emotions sort of feels like being in a constant sprint towards a finish line that you can't really see. Kids are going to have outbursts; they're going to misbehave and push boundaries; they're going to tell you they hate you when you do something necessary and, in the process, they're going to probably push your patience, too.
Maybe You Just Want To Not Be Needed Every Now And Then
You are your child's go-to person for everything. Literally, everything. Meeting their needs is sort of your job, and you rock at it, but let's be honest; sometimes their needs are a little unreasonable, and meeting all of their demands can seem more difficult than obtaining a college degree. You soldier through it every day, kissing boo boos and pouring juice and reading the same book over and over and over again, because you love them, but it doesn't mean you enjoy the process or are always thrilled to be constantly giving of yourself. I mean, you're a human being and you have needs too. Sometimes, that need is the need to not be needed.
We All Want To Be Selfish Sometimes
You sacrifice so much, every day, for your children. Is it so much to ask that you get to finish your breakfast without having a tiny hand trying to steal your bacon? Is it too much to ask that they maybe don't hog the whole bed or steal all of the covers? It's important to teach your child the value of sharing, but sometimes it would be nice if you could just have something that was all your; five minutes, a bowl of cereal, a shower, a nap, really anything. The ability to be selfish is a rarity when you've got kids, and sharing and giving and providing for everyone but yourself is exhausting (and honestly not recommended so, you know, practice some self-care mom).