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I haven't been completely honest with you, in part because I'm ashamed and in part because I've been stuffing the obvious truth down so hard for so long I've grown accustomed to the denial. I'm not good at it, do not enjoy the vast majority of it, and quite truthfully don't want to do it anymore.
If this were a job I'd have quit already, turned in my two-weeks notice and sought out a new venture. One that I was more naturally suited for, one that afforded me the opportunity to excel, pursue my passions, and grow.
But that's the thing about parenting. That's the catch. There is no going back.
I remember PSA campaign posters from my teen years meant to empower those in bad relationships. "You have the right to break up," they read. "You have the right to change your mind." But you don't get that here. There's no sniff test, no warranty, no opt-out clause, no take-backs. I can't break up with my kids no matter how much they misbehave, no matter how much physical or verbal abuse there may be.
(There isn't hardly any of those latter two in my case, thankfully, but the point still stands – a child can hit/bite/scratch a parent and say they hate them as many times as they'd like and the parent still doesn't get a pass to leave.)
I'm good on the surface, diligent about homework and shuttling this kid or the other to this place or another, but crap at the bigger issues. I cannot, for the life of me, get my kids to stop bickering. I have talked, yelled, whispered, counseled and punished with regularity for nearly a decade now with little effect. I am Sisyphus forever trying, and forever failing to succeed.
The kicker, I suppose, is that I rather like my children as individuals. I just don't want to parent anymore.
The eldest, age nine, is smart as a whip and is a budding creator. The younger boy, age eight, is a spitfire that can be aggravating one minute but have me laughing with his wit the next. They're great kids. I'd love to have the privilege of knowing them while someone else raises them.
I'm tired and I want out.
Allow me to preemptively address a few anticipated comments to going public with my hatred of parenting. I've been here seven years, and have some idea of how these things tend to go:
Your poor kids.
I know, right? I too wish they had that other kind of mom, the one who actually makes Pinterest things and excels in her role. Alas, they don't. They've got me and I guess we're going to muddle through.
But what if they read this someday?
Yep, they might. Right now they think my job is to, and I quote, "play video games on my computer all day," so I've got my fingers crossed if and when they do find this post it will be enough years down the road that they can read it with an open mind. This is me, being honest. This is the truth of my parenting experience.
I've dealt with infertility. You should be thankful just to be able to have kids!
I'm sorry it's been a struggle for you. I don't get that either, why it's so hard for some people to have a baby and not for others, it's totally unfair.
You should have thought about this before you had kids.
Sadly, I did. I did consider that it'd be hard, I did consider that I had previously thought about not having kids, but I also thought all the stuff I'd read about hearts bursting open with previously unfathomable depths of love and devotion would happen for me too. I'm underwhelmed by reality.
You see, what I'm beginning to suspect is either I'm a cold-hearted witch (a solid possibility), or those of you out there whose "hearts overflow with love" while snuggling with your kids are exaggerating. I like snuggling, for sure, but I also like warm chicken soup. It's nice and I'm fond of it -- but it's no end-all and be-all.
Have you all out there with your superlatives just set the bar too damn high and I'm exhausted grasping for it? Am I lacking in emotional enthusiasm, or have you all just exaggerated your feelings beyond what is realistically achievable?
What is this post even doing on BabyCenter?
Hey there, I think the Q&A concluded already, but whatever.
I'm here to share the honesty of my experience so that another out there may feel kinship. Perhaps 100 or 1,000 of you will relate, perhaps only one, but that's who my story is here for – you, if you're the one who needs it. Everyone else, please just consider this post as a discussion point.
I'm not going anywhere, in real life (like it or not) or away from this blog (fingers crossed). I am a parent, and will continue to intensely be so for at least another decade. There's no changing that fact.
I confessed my true feelings about parenting to a friend recently in private, testing the waters before going public, and was relieved to find she commiserated in some ways. She told me, "I have been extremely blessed with easy, funny kids, but I still have a weekly, 'How the F did I get here. I was not cut out for this. I hate this!' moment. It's not about not loving my kids, its about hating all that goes with being their provider, protector and effing unpaid housekeeper."
Indeed, it does feel good to know someone else understands.
Do you really, truly like parenting?
Photos: MorgueFile, Sara McGinnis
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.