“Family communion can only be preserved and perfected through a great spirit of sacrifice.”
– St. Pope John Paul II
Help! I hate parenting my kids (sometimes)!
Have you felt this way from time to time? When it gets hard, especially when there are multiple little ones running around, parenting day in and day out can feel really tough.
But when all you hear is “it’ll get better when they’re older,” “self-care!” or “offer it up!” as the solutions for this, it’s so easy to feel unheard, ignored and underappreciated.
So what do you do when you’re feeling like it’s nothing but hard to parent your children and you’re desperate for legitimate solutions? When you’re offering it up and finding time for self-care but it’s just not cutting it and you start to wonder if this parenting thing just isn’t for you?
It’s not your fault. And you’re not alone. It’s okay to feel like you hate parenting your kids (sometimes) but we can’t stop there. We have to figure out why that feeling is there and move through it.
The current generation of parents is grossly underprepared for parenting. It’s obvious in the popularity of social media accounts dedicated to parenting techniques and in the number of questions we get from parents trying to learn to parent differently than their parents!
The generation of parents in the thick of it right now are the ones who were always told they could do anything, be anything and be good at anything they wanted.
And in general, young people today are successful! You might have a successful career in your chosen field, had decent to great grades in school and maybe even excelled in sports or your chosen extracurricular. Success might feel like it’s part of you, and even when you struggle with something, you find a way to turn it into a learning experience.
But when it came to parenting, you might not feel so successful. And in someone who’s been told most of their life that are succeeding or they’ll succeed if they complete steps 1, 2 and 3, it’s hard to feel like you’re constantly failing at something.
At the end of the day, it’s very easy to seem like you failed when your toddler had multiple meltdowns, your middle schooler is failing math and your house is a wreck of toys, unfolded laundry and leftover PBJs.
The thing is, when it comes to parenting, it’s easy for us to look at our children and weigh our success by their behavior, grades or ability to sleep through the night. They’ve become our report cards, measuring our ability to adequately teach other humans to be successful.
This is a grossly unfair way to view our children! Whether we realize it or not, they feel this pressure to measure up and rather than feeling loved for who they are, they feel inadequate and unloved for who they cannot be.
We’re not doing it purposely, it just kind of happens. It’s a subconscious thing we do and something we perpetuate when we focus on comparing ourselves and our children to other families.
So how do we get out of this spiral and start loving (or at least being okay with) parenting?
If we want to get out of this spiral of dreading parenting our children, we need to stop looking at the successful children we want to have or wish we had, and instead focus on the family in front of us.
When we feel like we hate parenting, there are a few things we need to ask ourselves.
Are you getting enough sleep? If not, how can you change that or focus on taking care of yourself better?
Do you have time for personal prayer? Is there a way you and your spouse can be creative to ensure you have at least 15 minutes of personal prayer time every day?
Finally, what about parenting are you struggling with right now?
Is it that you feel like your disciplinary style isn’t working? Or maybe you have too many responsibilities and too little help? Do you feel isolated and missing adult interactions in the sea of cartoons, sippy cups and baby babbling?
By focusing on the things you can control, you allow your mindset to shift away from a victim mindset and into a place where you’re empowered to change.
At the end of the day, parenting will make us saints (if we let it). Our children aren’t on this earth for our own gratification, to make us feel loved or because they’ll make us feel more successful. They’re there for us to love sacrificially, which will help make us saints!
And to become saints, we have to be willing to change. If you’re the same person today as you were when your first child was born, then you have a problem! Allow yourself to see parenting as a process of purification, a way of polishing off the rough edges and making us more like Christ.
Is it hard? Absolutely! If we lean into the hard, will it help make us saints? Yes, 100%. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying to you!
We are all sinners and we’re all selfish in some ways or others. Parenting reveals those things in a way that can be so painful so it makes sense that we all hate parenting sometimes. But we can’t stay in that spot and hope it gets better on its’ own!
We really recommend examining what’s underneath that feeling of hating parenting. We also recommend looking at your family culture.
Family life is difficult and messy but it doesn’t have to be a constant survival mode. When we intentionally focus on community within our homes, and on positive things like joy, taking delight in our children and having fun with them, the atmosphere in our homes can really change.
You can check out our free resources on Growing a Family Culture and our Discipline Guide if you need help!
If you’d like to hear more on this topic, check out our latest podcast episode.