Mom Talk: I Love My Kids, But Sometimes I Don’t Like Them

Written by

Hannah Gere

9:00 am
02/09/18

We’re back with another round of “Mom Talk”, where we invite some incredible mothers, from all walks of life, to share their personal experiences and journeys through motherhood, whether it be struggles, triumphs, or anything in-between—nothing’s off limits when it comes to topics. This week, Hannah Gere touches on those moments in motherhood when she may love her children, but she doesn’t neccessarily like them, and how the sting of comparison can impact how she views her parenting. -JKM

Sometimes, I don’t like my kids. It hurts to say that, but it’s my truth. How awful and ugly does that sound on a scale of one to Mommy Dearest?

I honestly never expected raising children would be easy. Most of the time my kids are goofy and sweet and filled with cuddles, and our mutually shared love for each other is intoxicating. But, other times, especially on the days when my kids are behaving at their worst and pushing me until I feel like I just can’t take one more second, it feels like an impossible feat. It makes me not like being a parent, and it really makes me not like them, and that’s a pretty terrible feeling.

To be completely honest, I don’t like them when they are being crappy roommates. If my current situation were an adult living situation and my roommates constantly dumped milk on the couch and didn’t clean it up, or were always taking one bite out of an apple, then leaving it for dead in the back of a closet, or making me feel like I cannot have a day without trying to identify mystery stains on the carpet, I would probably start rethinking my living arrangements.

I also don’t like them when their bad table manners are in full swing. I am certain that if my kitchen were an actual restaurant, my kids would be denied service for all future visits. What kind of dinner guest dumps half of their meal onto the floor for our dog to eat? Who says that the mashed potatoes I made taste like barf? Who would force me to use UN-style negotiations to get them to eat their healthy growing food that I have meal planned for them a week in advance?

I don’t like them when I am overwhelmed with their messes and toys everywhere. And, while I appreciate older, more experienced mothers telling me to “love the messes” because one day they, along with my children, will be gone, it doesn’t help. All it does is make me feel even worse at being a mother.

In the age of social media, it’s nearly impossible not to compare myself to others, especially when it comes to my parenting. I beat myself up thinking about how those other moms never once feel disappointed by their kids. Those other moms never yell. They never hide in the laundry room just to get a moment of peace (or secretly eat a cupcake). The other moms most certainly never feel anxious that they are probably the worst parent in the world and are causing irreversible damage to their kid’s self-esteem. Those other moms always like their kids.

Learning to forgive myself for not being perfect is probably the hardest part of being a mom. My love for my kids comes easy. I can feel it freely without self-judgment. But, there are days when I am feeling like I don’t like or even want to be around my kids, and it’s really hard to let myself feel something towards them that isn’t beautiful. As much as I fight it, I just have to let myself feel it. I remind myself that it is my job to mother them all the time, but it’s not my job to like them all the time. And, you know what? Feeling that way is okay—it really is. Yes, I am a mother. But, I am also a human. A human with flaws and pet peeves, and a human that reacts when people, regardless of their age or relation to me, do things that upset me. And, just as I am only human, so are my kids. They are not glorious beings that can do no wrong. They have their flaws, too. They have their days of being messy and rude and willfully disobedient. And, that’s also okay.

My daughter once had a big fight with her best friend. I remember wiping away her tears because she thought that when you got mad at someone, you stopped being friends. I told her that wasn’t true at all, and reminded her that you can get mad at someone, and still love them; you can get so mad that you don’t want to be around the person you love the most in the world, and that’s okay. So, if that’s true with friends, why can’t it be true with my own kids? When animals in the wild get mad at their babies, they eat them. So, I have to give myself a little credit.

At the end of those really hard days, when my kids are sleeping and the house is dark and quiet, I climb into my bed and I am lulled to sleep by the sounds of their breathing. I remember all of the things I do love about them. And, I find comfort in knowing that even on the worst days when I am feeling like I absolutely cannot stand them, the love is and always will be there. In my sometimes not liking them, I actually end up loving them even more because I see them for who they really are.

My other truth? Even though sometimes I may not like them, my goodness do I love them. How I do love my crappy little roommates, always.

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Leave a Comment

9 comments

fishgirl182

What a wonderful piece. I don’t have kids but do spend s lot of time with my friends’ kids and yes, they’re not always angels, even to their favorite aunt. I agree with the author that sometimes kids can be huge jerks and they annoy you but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. You might just need a break. Thanks for the great article.

Silver

My mum had that attitude – she thought it was fine to tell me how she loved me, but at the same time there were times she didn’t like me… the thing was, that every time she said it I withdrew a little more. I knew I did not come into this world to be exactly who and what she wanted, I also knew it was bad form to say something like that. Those are hurtful words. You can always voice that you don’t like the mess – that you need time out because the noise is too loud! Name the actions, not the person. I was always more than capable of giving my self-esteem a thorough beating, I didn’t need from my mother too. So by all means, admit that when your child displeases you, or makes you look bad (for look at your examples – it says more about you and your need for control – those behaviours are all age appropriate and will pass – dislike the actions, not the person). I understand that raising kids is annoying – but the language of saying “I don’t particularly like you” – has a roll on effects. I know my mother loves me to death – and it is a bit of a loss for her as to why I stand apart, but because I know she also didn’t always like me – I don’t trust her with my fragile self – so when a bus hit me and broke my spine – I didn’t call her for days, when I was told I had a life threatening disease, I did not call her. I managed those things with people who never once said “I don’t like you”.

    Jen

    Silver, you have spoken truth eloquently. My mother said the same thing to me, to the same end.

    Hannah

    Thank you for your comment.

    I want to clarify that I have never, and would never, actually say the words “I don’t like you” to my children.

    We’re all individuals and with that, we choose to express ourselves in our own ways. Sometimes people will identify with it, and sometimes they won’t.

    That’s the beauty in the journey of parenting. We all have different experiences, different ideas, different philosophies. But we share those things, not to make anyone feel badly but, in the hopes of helping each other feel better, and in the hopes of seeing different perspectives to help us understand each other better, to support each other.

    And with everyones parenting difference aside what is the same, I think, is how deeply we love our children.

Nikole

I absolutely LOVE this article
I love REAL TALK
My mum was a single parent raising 3 children she definitely felt like this
I am now a working mother myself and although i dont dislike him just yet as a nanny i defo feel like this with my nanny children so know it will come soon with my own son
My partner takes our son to work with her and there are days i get there n hes driving her mad amd not once do I doubt her love for him when she happily waves him goodbye as i take him home hehehe babys can be super annoying clingy whiney terrible sleepers etc but u dont stop loving them for a second :)

Sylvie

Unfortunately, I had a similar situation as Silver: I know my mother loves me but does not always like me. She’s made that very clear, and has also told me that she does not connect with me emotionally, and this honesty is not new or groundbreaking. It was damaging to our relationship to hear it. I am not open with her about my life any more and she has complained about that as well, but you can’t have it both ways: you can’t tell me that you dislike me and expect me to come back for more.

Having that experience, I plan on telling my children that I am frustrated with the situation or the behavior. I would never ever tell them that I dislike them.

Stephanie

Very insightful and well written article. We raised our kids to be wonderful adults so it does get better and the reward is awesome after all is said and done. The challenge now is finding new ways to deal with the grandkids when they have bad days…yikes!

On a Scale of One to Mommy Dearest... - Trending Parent

[…] mom is saying what we all sometimes feel, “I Love My Kids, But Sometimes I Don’t Like Them.” She goes on to ask, “How awful and ugly does that sound on a scale of one to Mommy […]

Amy Dunkel @Momswhoruletheworld

This is so spot on it’s not even funny. Truth in every single word, thank you so much.

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