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A “Happy” Mom’s Confession

I'm not so nice at home

By Mindy Berry Walker |

“I guess this is one of those nights you’re crying again,” my six-year-old daughter Lucy said to me from her perch on the bed.

It was 7 p.m. on a weekday and my three daughters were bathed, pajama-ed, and playing. Even though the hard part was behind me, my cheerful front couldn’t disguise how overwhelmed I felt from steering this ship, our house, for so many hours. Watching my youngest, 20-month-old Phoebe, age-appropriately dump another box of toys all over the floor, the tears spilled out.

“No, no,” I said to Lucy, quickly finding an excuse. “I’m just tired.” But I couldn’t perk up, and she started crying with me. We hugged and soon my three-year-old, Eleanor, and Phoebe joined in for a snuggle, too. It felt cathartic, but it also felt wrong. Crying is one way I safely channel the anger I often feel when I’m home with my kids. It’s also a side of me that only the people smiling out from my annual fabulous holiday card know about.

“You have such a can-do spirit,” a school foundation member recently told me at a volunteer fair. “Mindy, can I just bottle up some of your enthusiasm?” a friend joked at the playground. At preschool drop-off, I often get, “I wish I could be peppy like you every morning.” About the class parent meetings I organize, I hear, “How do you juggle this stuff like it’s fun?”

Easy, I want to tell them. I’m a wreck at home. Moody, resentful, bitter – that’s how my husband might describe me on those weeknights when he gets home after the girls are in bed. The house is quiet, but the chaos from the hours just prior – the refusal to eat the red sauce, the wrong PJs – hangs in the air. Sometimes I am too worked up to speak. I literally can’t tell him a thing about our day because I’m spent from reading books, playing hide-and-seek, folding the laundry and pretending to be Mr. Potato Head with the purse, who sees a coyote but isn’t afraid.

On good days, my girls go to bed and proclaim that this was the best day ever. I am able to conceal from them that the whole evening routine suffocates me. Being at home often makes me feel trapped, like the whole world is productively moving forward while I brush three sets of teeth. Once that feeling comes on, I’m steps away from guilt and anger.

Let me just say that I was never angry like this before I had kids. I didn’t know it was possible for two distinct personalities to co-exist inside of me – the happy me, the mad me – and the fact that they do now makes me feel like a big fake, a hypocrite of happy. I often wonder if I should have to wear a nametag when I leave home that reveals my other side.

The happiness I feel outside of my house, though, is as genuine as the anger is at home. When I am at the park chasing my kids down the slide or zipping down the aisles with them at Stop and Shop, I’m good. In fact, I look back at the at-home me who was scrubbing the splat mat under the table with hot tears in her eyes just that very morning, and I can’t articulate what I was so upset about except that it felt real.

At this point, you may be probably wondering if my husband Peter is ever home. He leaves the house most weekdays before 6 a.m. and gets home at 7 p.m. or later. No, he will not be changing jobs so he can work less. We are wise enough – and by that I mostly mean old enough – to be thankful that he’s got what he’s got. Plus, he’s a great dad: He’s the Frederic Fekkai of my girls’ hair. He can make a variety of nutritional meals and clean them up. I can leave the house on a weekend afternoon and return to four content people. Candyland is on the table, the markers are out, and now they are biking. Peter can do everything I can do, with the added cache that he doesn’t resent any of it.

Recently, on a Thursday night, I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner. When I reminded him of it, he reassured me he’d be home from work by seven, and when I said that he’d be putting all three girls to bed and not just the older two, he said, “Not a problem. Never a problem for me.”

But that reply is a problem for me. His easygoing attitude toward bedtime clashes so hard with my resentment toward it that I feel like a failure. Could he not just add, “But putting the three girls down would be a problem for me if I had to do it most nights like you do, plus you do it on top of dinner and bath”? When I bring this up during our rerun “who has it worse” argument, he would say all of that is implicit. He just wants me to not worry when I leave. He would add that he can’t win with me, and maybe he is right – he can’t win with angry-me.

Outside, in the big world with my girls, there is a sense of adventure that I thrive on. Unlike at home where I feel the simultaneous tug to engage my children and breakdown the mess on the dining room table, at the pool or children’s museum, there is just one focus – them. When we went to get new shoes at the mall, I kept thinking there must have been a spill on my shirt because other parents were so openly gaping at me there with three young children. I came home so energized from our happy outing, that I put Phoebe down for her nap and baked Halloween cookies with my two big girls. At school, Lucy wrote about our baking in “writer’s workshop.”

I know that my kids would rather be home making dolphins from Play-Doh with me than visiting the seals at the aquarium. They don’t need to get out, but I do, in order to see the beauty of life at home. Otherwise, I lose control, and the hurt feelings, the extra snacks, and the spilled juice overwhelm me. The best way I have figured out how to feel like myself is to regularly take my kids out into the world with me.

At six, Lucy is starting to realize that life consists of more than just running around the playground. She is learning to write, to play sports, to draw. I try to nonchalantly plant the idea that the most wonderful things worth doing in this life aren’t fun at first. They take hours of practice before they feel good or even natural. And I realize now the same is true for me when it comes to parenting at home. I need more do-overs to get rid of this other me. I may still cry in front of my kids, but it won’t come from a place of anger.

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About Mindy Berry Walker


Mindy Berry Walker

Mindy Berry Walker, a former editor at Glamour and Self, writes frequently for Parents and Fitness. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, NY, with her husband and three daughters. If she could only take one toy to a deserted island, a container of Magna-Tiles would win hands down. She has a minor obsession with dollhouses made of wood, even though the pink-plastic one rules at her house.

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76 thoughts on “A “Happy” Mom’s Confession

  1. Tina says:

    I can totally relate, oh man. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Relating says:

    I can say that I can totally relate as well. Only when I try to explain this to my husband – who is also so good and easy going with our girls – he tells me that he’ll switch with me any day. Lately, he has been saying that he will stay home and do his work at home and go out to his appointments (he’s a Financial Planner)at night after I get home – from a full day of work. I don’t know which will make me feel like a worse mother. I resent my husband for being out all day and he resents for me being with the kids all day. How do we find a happy medium?

  3. eliana says:

    I never got very mad before the kids. The combination of exhaustion, boredom, inane repetition, guilt and pushing of buttons seems to bring it on. I appreciate this and wish you all the best.

  4. Jessica says:

    I have honestly never read a blog entry that I related so much with until I read this one. Thank you SO much for putting my thoughts into words, you have no idea how much it helped me. I’m going to print it out and read it to my husband tonight. He just doesn’t understand, and maybe it will help him to know I’m not alone in this…

  5. Ada says:

    This was hard to read only because it resonated so much. Having our first child was a pleasure and for the most part seemed easy. It’s amazing but our second is also pretty easy but something about having two of them with my husband rarely able to help during the weekdays and it really gets overwhelming sometimes. I get so short tempered so quickly and feel so guilty for it. I’m at least glad to know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  6. cneff says:

    This is a beautiful essay. I appreciate the honesty!! So much of this rings true to so many of us moms, I’m sure. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Jerri says:

    This article made me ache. I’m at home with a 2 and 3 year old and so understand the soul stripping care it takes to be with them and be an attentive responsive parent. But as I read this, I kept hoping you’d say you’d have a good solution; that you realized you needed a mother’s helper two days a week, that you hired a housecleaner to make your at home time less, that you found a drop off daycare the girls loved so you can go write a few hours a couple days a week. I know for me that working part time makes me a much better quality mother (and our childcare is top notch, so I don’t feel guilty about that) because i love my work, but have no desire to do a full on career right now.

  8. NZErin says:

    Just another thank you for expressing so beautifully exactly how I feel.

  9. The Mommy Psychologist says:

    I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes I feel as if there are two me’s. Me at home and me in the world. I still haven’t out why they are so dramatically different but I’m working on it.

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.”

  10. Momoffour says:

    Nice article – and good to read that so many moms relate to being a bit of a mean mom at home and a nice mom out. I am so glad it is getting warmer so I can send the kids outside more, it definately makes me calmer to have them playing outside rather than screaming and playing inside. Oh, and bedtime totally stinks, I dread it every night. We have a pretty good routine, but getting four kids under six bathed, teeth brushed and in pjs every night by myself is a real drag! I have to say, though that I sort of think it is worse when my husband is here to help, which is only on the weekend. Not to be mean, but he slows the whole slow process down!

  11. Mrsnhigh says:

    This is precisely why I work outside the home. God bless stay at home moms because I’d lose my mind instantly. I’m a teacher, and I’m a bit overwhelmed at the idea of staying home all summer!

  12. Eskimama says:

    “I need more do-overs to get rid of this other me.”

    No! Please don’t try to get rid of it! Embrace it, be kind to it, be compassionate towards it. It is a deep part of who you are (it’s part of me, too), and the more you fight it, the harder it will fight back. Show yourself compassion by admitting that parenting small children is very often boring, repetitive and thankless, not to mention valued negatively by society at large, and that it it is perfectly acceptable and even appropriate to feel resentful about this state of affairs. You don’t have to feel guilty for admitting that being a modern American parent often has a huge downside, especially when your children are very young.

    The romanticized view of parenting as being naturally, completely and always fulfilling really only prevails in societies such as ours, in which it acts as a fig leaf for the fact that we have no real social safety net or sense of communal responsibility. We are made to feel personally responsible for the larger failures of our society, because then we are deflecting from asking any hard political questions. “Why can’t I be a wonderful, happy mother all the time like I should be? What’s wrong with me?” replaces “Why am I alone and unsupported with 3 small children for 13 hours a day, just so that we can eat and keep a roof over our heads? Why is corporate profit more important than my need for and right to be supported in one of society’s most all-consuming, difficult and vital tasks?” (Judith Warner’s book “Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety” compellingly outlines this whole dynamic.)

    If you look at traditional societies, child-raising is a communal task; it is never, ever left to the mother alone. Even in other Western societies outside the US, there is generally more social support for parents – which is how French mothers get to be French mothers, and so forth. It’s the reverse for most of us in the US, of course, and it is a credit to the strength of most American parents that they somehow manage to carry out this herculean task solo. It’s no credit to us as a society, on the other hand – quite the reverse.

  13. sarah b says:

    this is a beautiful, true and touching piece. i’m sure so many parents can relate to this. thanks so much for writing. just beautiful!

  14. Anon says:

    I relate 100% even though I work part-time. My husband usually comes home at 7 to a chaotic house and his dinner keeping warm in the oven, and doesn’t understand why I’m so deperate to get the kids into bed at 8, even though he’s “just gotten home.” He also acts like it’s not hard at all for him when he takes care of the kids, but I remind him that when people see him out with active kids eating fast food, people think, “what a great dad to be with his children!” and if I did the same people would glare at me because my kids were being too loud or rowdy and how dare I abuse them by feeding them such junk.
    He also doesn’t see what a fight it was to prepare dinner with two kids demanding my attention, and how many times I heard “blech! I no eat dat!” and how all of us, myself included, spilled our drinks. he does not see how I crammed almost as much into six hours in the office as he did in 10 hours and that means that all I’ve eaten today is the sorta-gross dinner that I slapped together.
    The other day I told my six year old daughter that she better not let anyone feel that just because she’s a woman she needs to do all the housework AND earn a paycheck, and then I felt bad because that’s not the sort of thing to share with a young child.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This was absolutely incredible.

  16. Kat says:

    I work full time and I still sometimes feel like this at home.

  17. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is thank you for this!

  18. KC says:

    Holy cannoli. You’re right my dome! Thank you so much for writing this, sharing this, and making me feel a lot less guilty about how I feel about myself sometimes.

  19. Anonymous says:

    After a tearful breakdown with hubby on the phone just 10 minutes ago…this was SPOT ON! Thanks so much!

  20. Timmi says:

    Thank you so much for this, I too have an evil mommy side that I absolutely hate, and have broken down so many times in front of my children. This means so much to me knowing I’m not alone

  21. allorecord says:

    oh my god, this is my life. thank you for having the guts to admit this and sign your name to it. Wish we could all take that first step.

  22. feelingkookoo says:

    I’ve been on the verge of a nervous breakdown all day with my kids. I can’t even muster up the strength to take them out today because they have been so awful. Thank you so much for this. Crying right now.

  23. Amanda says:

    Omg Thank you for this. I have not yet learned how to control my anger very well. I am a recovering drug addict with a 3 year old and an 8 month old. I am trying to be the parent they deserve but I feel just like this and then I yell at them. I know it is the wrong thing to do and I am trying to fix it. Thank you for helping me see that other people feel like this.

  24. Anonymous says:

    beautiful and hopefully completely normal. we all have our good days and bad days…..

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your stories! I can totally relate! I just got home from our wonderful marriage counselors office! He made a very simple statement that I immediately want to care for my child but do not know how to self care for myself! Huge insight!! The more I “do” for my daughter the less I “do” for me and therefore I secretly resent her/the act of caring for someone else and end up frustrated, frazzled, angry, and unable to ge thru a day without freaking out!
    I hope a piece of this $140/hr advice can help one of you with your path of motherhood!

  26. Polly says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have five kids 6 and younger, and this is me. The easygoing, smiley “Supermom” me that everyone thinks I am, and then Sad Mommy + Angry Mommy that lurks around the house. I have a lot of guilt about this and worry my kids will hate me one day for it. Thank you for telling your story — it makes me feel like less of a mess.

  27. Anonymous says:

    this is my world too. just cant seem to stop yellin….it just easier to yell then hit…. but i bought a book to try to help it called 123 magic…. it gots lots of advice and it seem to be helping me.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Well i have always felt alone in these feeling thought i was crazy i can not explain to you how grateful i am for this
    and how it makes me feel to know im not crazy!!

  29. Anonymous says:

    I can totally relate, although i usually dont get too angry or resentful toward my children idk if i could do it as a stay home mom. Right now i work full time, have a 2.5yr old and 9month old, and ontop of that take college courses online. Its alot of work and when ive had an especially long week between it all i notice my temper getting short. My husband works full time too and farms after his day job as a mechanic so isnt home before they are in bed 90% of the time. people always ask me how i do it and honestly i have no idea, i just do.

  30. Liza B says:

    Wow, did this hit home. And obviously there are a whole lot of us experiencing this duality. I always feel bad on days where I just go stretched past my limit and ran out of patience after asking for the 5th time for my pre-schooler to get out of the tub. But you know what? Nobody is immune to anger and stress. Let’s accept those things and ask for help. If everyone believes, by our happy dispositions, that we are handling all of it easily, nobody will offer to lend a hand, an afternoon of babysitting or just some compassion. We need to be more vocal about our needs, so they don’t continuously go unmet as we’re sopping up oatmeal and tears under the kitchen table.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Im so sick of feeling like Im tehe only one like this. Honestly, I love my LO she is amazing and awesome but being in the house and watching it get destroyed (especially in a small town where people love to show up unannounced) is frustrating and overwhelming and awful.

  32. Jen says:

    Wow thanks for sharing! You were able to put into words everything I feel on a daily basis! I have experienced everything you mentioned in your article

  33. Anonymous says:

    If I could write like you I would have been reading my life. The things that get us so angry are hard to define as it is a multitude of the days events. I often say that being home can feel like groundhog day, same routine over and over. You are right, you need to be out and in the world to get that breath of perspective and recharge your batteries. A friend said the days are long and the years short. She is absolutely right.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing; I really can relate. Especially to the feeling of freedom to focus and enjoy my daughter when I am away from the pressure of home.

  35. Tangie S says:

    Mindy, this was a great piece. Thanks so much for sharing! I think your girls are lucky to have you as a mom. It is comforting to know I am not the only one who feels this way. I just had my third daughter – three girls under five — and next week is my first week home with them without my husband. But, I am already unhinged.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I’m a mother of only one child now, but totally could relate to all those feelings. Great article! L

  37. dumbsquared says:

    Get out of my brain! I dont know how many times I’ve felt like this, felt like hiding in the pantry and crying while I stuff my face with cookies and the husband and kids wonder what the hell is wrong with me. Sometimes I feel like my Mr. Hyde side is more prominent than my Dr. Jekyll side.

    Thanks for sharing.

  38. Anonymous says:

    You are an extrovert! I am the opposite :) . But no one way is “better”. From a mom with seven littles, my one piece of advice might be to ask your husband if he would take over bedtime, and you just get on your runners while he does that. Come back in 30 min, freshly energized from your run, and have some emotional energy for adult time. No shame in asking for what you need! (((hugs)))

  39. tattoedmommy says:

    this was me before paxil, you are not alone i promise

  40. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your truful article ! I am a single mom and the head preschool teacher of two year old class full time .I am also a mom of a 4and 8 year old vary active girls. Thanks so much for helping me not feel alone when I cry so times out of pure over welled ness !

  41. Anonymous says:

    i’m not sure how i feel about this. it’s not fair but everyone does get overwhelmed. can’t you have grandma take them one day a week and you could have some well deserved you time. it’s just not fair to mean to them at home and diffrent in public. kids are supposed to filled with enerjy i be worried if they wernt. you have to face sometimes at those ages you are there best friend there entertainer. sorry that’s just how i feel

  42. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for being so honest! I completely agree with you about how you have to get out and how I too can be one way at home and another way when I’m out. Wish I wasn’t but I am. Something I’m working on though! It’s good for your kids to see you cry!

  43. Anonymous says:

    This was exactly me for about 6 years straight. I had horrible postpartum. One month after my second child turned 3 I felt like I was returning to “myself” again. I’m not the angry terrible mom that I used to be. But, when I get overwhelmed with messes, babble, or too much noise, we get out of the house. There are just so many messes I can clean up at the end of the day. And like you, my husband has always been awesome with the kids and even takes “extra” bed-times when I am fed up with the routine of it :) Happy mom is around more often now! :)

  44. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful post. I feel like this so often at home…but then have the office three days a week to put it into perspective. I find that, while I love Facebook, seeing all those happy posts also lead to feelings of unfit mom. I think it’s great that you’re honest with your kids, and that you can have that snuggle time to console each other. That’s a great lesson. And what matters is that you love them, and that they see that side of you, too (the loving side). At least this is what I tell myself!!!

  45. Anonymous says:

    While I love Eskimama’s comment and spirit of the comment, all mothers feel this way, no matter where they live. I live in the Netherlands, a wonderful, child-friendly country with lots of support, and my husband is home by 6.15 (I count the minutes.) Let’s not try to make it too scientific: parenting is boring and repetitive (for the most part) because it is what it is, in ANY country. I also think we delay parenthood so long these days…that we really have Good ól days to remember (as opposed to having your first child at 19). What I wouldn’t do for a long brunch on a Sunday, followed by an afternoon of newspaper reading in a sunny cafe…

  46. Anon says:

    So glad to have read this, it’s not just me then!?!

  47. Patty Gatter says:

    Great article and I think a lot of women feel this way – I know that I do at times – more often than not probably. I could go on and on with little complaints here and there :) . Motherhood is so many different emotions some of which no one ever tells or prepares you for. It can be so exhausting and I really do think that men will never fully understand or appreciated what motherhood really means.
    It is always nice to know that you are not alone :)
    Patty, Owner

  48. livingintheparenthood says:

    Great post! I this so many SAHMs feel the exact same way, and yes, when daddy says he can do the things we find exhausting with no resentment, it feels crappy. I’m on maternity leave with my 8 month old and 2 1/2 year old and we have to get out every morning for an activity. Part of it’s for their benefit, but more of it is for mine. I. Have. To. Great post and thanks for sharing!

  49. Anon says:

    Thanks for posting this. I feel like if my friends or even my parents saw Sad/AngryMommy, who comes out more times than I care to acknowledge (I’ve noticed when I get very poor sleep or forget to eat regularly [which happens a lot since i put so much time and care into feeding the twins] she comes out more readily) they would be completely shocked. You’re right that simply leaving the house helps, and I’m hoping we can all start “taking care of ourselves” better. Of course we need to do that. DUH. I’m just too $&%^& exhausted and there’s no time in the day to do it!! I started taking “ME TIME” during naps, and that just spiraled out of control because there was barely any housekeeping getting done and it’s very stressful to live in a pigsty. YOU’RE NOT ALONE- and neither am I. And I’m fairly sure the kids will be alright…

  50. Kate says:

    Thank you so much. I am new to the whole SAHM realm. I had a job, but as a military spouse we had to move and since I’m pregnant with our second child, I can’t get a job right now. So, I’m home at 8 months pregnant with a 2 year old daughter. I feel like I clean, only to look around and tell myself “What a mess!” 5 mins later. Or you try to clean up toys that have been sitting untouched for 5 hours, only to have my daughter scream because she wants to play with it. I’m tired all the time, but have to use her nap time to do cleaning and I can never get everything I want done. My husband is gone to school and won’t be back. All he tells me is he will do so much better with our daughter when he comes back. I have no support system at our new place. When I cry and break down, my daughter just hugs me and asks “What happened?” Then she gets me a rag to wipe my tears and nose. I love my daughter dearly and can’t wait to meet my new little one. But, I too need my time alone. And I’m so grateful to know there are others out there like me.

  51. Sarah says:

    Wow, this really resonates with me, thank you for sharing. I have an 18 month old girl and am due with baby no. 2 soon. I try to leave the house as much as possible with her (morning AND afternoon), and I can’t stand being at home for all the same reasons. And I feel like I’m so great at most aspects of being a mom but when it comes to sitting down at home for activities, I fail. I feel like I’m clock watching when I’m home (which I feel so guilty about) and when we are out & about at different activities it’s easy and time flies. My husband is great too. And patient with me when I meltdown, even though if roles were switched I doubt he’d ever have a meltdown.

  52. AnonGuy says:

    Great points here… wow.

  53. Anon says:

    I really, really feel for you. Or, more accurately, I feel exactly the way you do many days! It doesn’t actually seem like you’re looking for a fix, but I’ll offer this up from my own life: I know the anger you’re talking about, and it was new to me as a mom. I eventually (I wonder why it took so long) learned in therapy that it’s a unique and common characteristic of post-partum depression, from which I definitely suffered after my first child was born (for the first 18 months or so). Now that I’m out of the woods, I see that some of this desperate frustration (which turns to anger at times) just comes with the territory of caring for little children all day. But if other readers find themselves overwhelmed by it, it can really help to seek out therapy. Because the nice thing is that if you are fortunate enough to find ways to mitigate it, you don’t have live with so much of it. It doesn’t have to overwhelm everything (or every bedtime, though, yup, bedtime is the worst!). I also work a few days a week now (kid #2 is 18 months now). I spend pretty much everything I earn on the childcare required to do that, but it keeps me happy.

  54. SLO says:

    I feel the same way.

  55. Jane says:

    This is a very brave post, and with a picture to boot! I have a daughter, and am a single mother. Outside of the first year or so of my girl’s life, when I was finishing school, I have always worked outside my home. However, I feel as though I battle with these same feelings. Most of the time I feel as if I should treasure the time in the evenings with my daughter, since I am away from her all day, but sometimes the incessant questions, nightly ritual of homework, dinner, bath, book, prayers, and bed rubs me so raw, I hardly have energy for anything else. And I am seriously considering grad school this year! I don’t cry often, as you said, and perhaps if I did maybe I would feel better. But, I feel this need to constantly hold it together, be the responsible parent, provider, bill payer, etc. etc. with so many etc., that at the end of the day all I want to do is crawl under my covers in the dark (sans shower and brushed teeth) and nothing else. So I get what you are saying, and you are definitely not alone.

  56. Kathryn says:

    This is such a similar situation to me – I find I am far better at being a mom out and about – with friends or not but once I get home and it’s just me and the kids for hours on end I freak out far more often – mostly about things that are really not that big a deal. Why is that? Can you tell me when you find out what causes it!! Thanks for sharing so honestly. It really does help to know I’m not alone as I do feel like I’m the only mom like this sometimes…

  57. Anonymous says:

    Beautifully written, Mindy! I can echo everything you’re saying…and I only have two!
    I appreciate your honesty! Hope you’re doing well!!
    Erin Nangle Higman

  58. Anonymous says:

    Phenomenal article!

  59. mccn says:

    This is the thing I think that has kept me most from wanting to have kids – and it’s something my husband doesn’t seem to understand (he wants them). I keep telling him how much work parenting is – how much boring, repetitive, exhausting, stressful work it is to raise a child. The feeding, the toileting, the educating, the cleaning up, the entertaining – all of that is actually work. Certainly, you love your children – and if you want to have them in the first place, that desire and the love hopefully balance out the bad parts. But I have always not wanted to have kids, and I think if we did, then all that work would make me depressed and angry and resentful and hateful – not only to my husband, but to my children too. I think he thinks that it will be mostly fun or sweet, and that because I am a good-humoured person right now, that that wouldn’t change if I become a mom. And I am terrified that if I became a mom, I would completely turn into someone else, and someone very unhappy. Thanks for speaking up to reassure people like me that these fears aren’t crazy!

  60. Anonymous says:

    I feel your words as if I wrote them myself. I think what gets me the most is that I feel guilty over feeling angry about the children that I love more than life itself? How can so many emotions coexist and be so rooted in the same place at the same time? How can I get so mad over markers on the floor for the 80th time today when I want those little fingers to draw me pictures that I can hold on to when they are all grown and the precious time of babies and children are gone? As someone who holds onto moments so tightly it hurts, I often wonder why I let the “details” that get in the way consume me so? Perhaps it is because as mothers we just feel an everpresent need to be the mother we want to be at all times? And nobody can be that all the time. Perhaps the lows are what enable us to feel those highs so much better?

  61. Anonymous says:

    Mindy, loved the article and love you.
    Jill from Lakewood

  62. ActuallyHappy says:

    Wow. How are there no negative comments on this article? Have then been deleted? I do understand the sentiment here — sometimes the sun and a good walk do wonders for me that even the calmest day inside won’t do. But this piece — just sounds depressing, and depressed. I feel that the author needs a psychiatrist, or a healthy church experience. Something! I’m not always thrilled being home either, and sometimes I wish that I had a job so that I could feel thrilled about missing my kids and coming home to them. But then I think, “I don’t want a daycare raising them, and -I- want to be there when they are happy or sad.” And even if that doesn’t put a smile per se on my face, it puts it into perspective. This author sounds like she’s in a horrible place, and she’s dragging her kids down with her. And I am completely disconcerted to see that so many parents seem to feel the exact same way. Yikes.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I love the honesty of this piece. I have to admit I cried at the end of it. Thanks for sharing this, Mindy!

  64. Francine LaSala says:

    The comment below is from me. I am blog-comment-challenged.

  65. Kay says:

    I find this disturbing too, as a previous poster mentioned. There seems to be a trend lately for all these confessional posts about SAHMs who are overwhelmed and hate their lives. Ladies–if you don’t like being home with the kids, then do something! See your doctor in case you may be depressed. Then, take some action. You *can* go back to work–it’s OK, a lot of women do. If you don’t want to go back to the office, then find something outside your children to focus on. Join a gym with childcare, enroll in the community college…anything that will allow you a regular break. And we all have to stop being such perfectionists about things. Let the housework slide a bit. Give the kids PB&J for dinner. Let them entertain themselves, and if they won’t, then put the TV on for a little while every now and then.

  66. Katie at On the Banks of Squaw C says:

    I can so relate. I’m definitely struggling at home right now, and we’re trying to leave the house as often as possible. My poor husband bears the brunt of it, and it’s been really hard on us.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful article – thank you so much for sharing

  68. Sara says:

    I used to feel the same way. My husband works in the same field as I used too and travels all the time. It was hard to see his career grow while I did dishes and changed diapers all day. I can’t say when exactly days like you described went from common to almost never but over the past year I just tried to be more grateful, prayed, watched my kids grow, and started eating healthier and workout almost every day. I also cut myself some slack, now “angry” mommy only appears when my workout is interrupted!

  69. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one having the rerun who has it worse argument. No one ever talks about it. Just remember that one day you will look back and wish for these days again.

  70. EJ says:

    I’ve felt the same way many times and find it hard to believe the couple of “smug mommy” commenters below haven’t experienced this. Good for you if you haven’t. I second Sara who said she started working out. That has been a lifesaver for me. Our park district has a community and fitness center in my neighborhood with a nursery and playground for kids up to age 12 to age 12 and I love it. The kids get a chance to socialize and play and I get a break, plus it’ s a huge incentive to go work out, which makes me a healthier and happier mommy. I’m also very lucky to live in a large metropolitan area just outside a major city where multiple parks and outdoor swimming pools are within walking distance of my house, so I bust out the double stroller and take advantage of those as much as possible. I can’t help but think one of the problems is we’ve allowed our communities to become too isolated, making being a SAHM even tougher because getting out in some areas means loading everyone in the car and driving several miles to do anything. Anyway, great piece. I commend you for writing it and letting us fellow moms know we’re not alone.

  71. EJ says:

    Uh oh! Meant to say “to age 12″ just once. Typing too fast!

  72. buggablue says:

    I feel for you. I don’t always like myself as a Mom. I feel like I yell too much and am too quick to anger. I feel like I’m out of control sometimes, and lets be serious, we are. During a particularly tough day at home where patience was wearing thin I messaged my husband for support, a pep-talk in the middle of it, and my typically super supportive, take-it-all-in-stride husband starts talking to me about going back to work and putting the kids in daycare full time, and how I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to, and how maybe I wasn’t cut out for it or the right temperament, and suddenly a bad day got a whole lot worse. What started out as frustrations with little things suddenly turned into a big thing, when it really could have been diffused with a simple, “I love you” or “You can do it” or “It’s okay” or even “You’re doing the best you can” but instead I felt even more defeated and deflated. I think all Moms struggle with intimations of perfection that we fail to take it all at face value and without the understanding and support when we need it most, it’s hard to see that what’s right in front of our face really isn’t all that bad.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Parenthood is hard work and I’m not judging. This makes me grateful to be a working mom, however. I raise my child (despite what’s written by below commenter), but I have a support system. I don’t resent my husband, I don’t dread even the mundane aspects of parenting my child. I have 3 days at home with him, plus quality time each evening over dinner, a bath, play and stories. Point being, it doesn’t have to be like this. I guess it’s about quality over quantity – to each their own, but if you found work outside the home, you might actually relish the time you do have and be mentally present for it.

  74. angela says:

    230am, thanks. I’m not alone.

  75. Vicki says:

    This article really touched me as it verbalised so many things that I feel on a daily basis. I am in England and I think what an earlier poster said about US society and the lack of support systems is so true of the UK too. We live away from both sets of Grandparents and I really see the difference in my friends with children who have close family/community support. The part about two different personalities co-existing really hit home…I never realised that I was impatient or short tempered until I had my son, in fact I was always seen as the calm, level headed one amongst my friends…yet I love him and my husband more than anything. These feelings are hard to reconcile, but its good to read that they are not so abnormal.

  76. Huey Tuia says:

    Got my first letter yesterday! Loved it. I feel like I’m a portion of something terrific that is certainly just starting to happen. Feeling a strange perception of community around it all. Maybe you happen to be on to something here! Who would have ever assumed that men and women would actually print out words on paper just to have it sent with the mail to another person’s mailbox. Next thing you know, peoe might be growing their own food and walking or riding bikes everywhere. It’ll never ever perform, damn progress.

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