I HATE The Mother That I Am

Every so often, I get emails that break my heart.  This has been one of those weeks.  There are many mothers out there just hating what their mothering is, what they themselves are right now.  And that breaks my heart.

Sometimes I don’t know all the details, all the circumstances.  Is this a chronic feeling and struggle or is it something right here in the moment?  Is it part of or tied to the July doldrums (if any of you have read this blog for awhile, you know how I feel about July here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/07/05/the-july-doldrums-again/   )

We ALL have moments we feel like this.  We may even be having more than just moments, we may be having rough patches with our children where we honestly feel like this for an extended period of time.  Some seasons of parenting are so difficult, so challenging.  Some children have behavior that is challenging and it just challenges us.

And we don’t always handle it well.  We don’t always handle it with grace.  We don’t  always handle it with love.  Sometimes it is hard to see how to best react when it is your own child and we don’t have that outside view looking at someone else’s child doing the same behavior.

Sometimes we feel our children would be better off with anyone else but ourselves.  I have been there too.  I get to those points too, and all I can say is that for me, it is a sign that there is too much going on.  Too much outside pressure, too harried to respond to things in an even-keeled way,  too many things to tend to, and a clear sign my spiritual footing has been neglected, and most likely a sign that my physical body is not being taken care of.

I often think of the village raising a child – how different than all the shaping of a child being done by mainly one or two parents!  Or I think of my own childhood – at school most of the day, coming home and going outside to play until dark, going to bed.  I wasn’t always around a whole lot.  No one had to “arrange” play dates and things to do back then, and the parents were not involved in every dramatic friendship disagreement or thing at school.

For better or for worse, things have changed on a societal level and we put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves.  We talk about not wanting to push our children, but yet we push the hell out of ourselves.  We talk about our children being wonderful, never taking credit for that at all, but when they don’t “act well”, then somehow it is all our fault.

Just musings….So, anyway, once you have a good cry, see if any of this resonates:

1.  Is this lack of knowledge?  In other words, would you like to be a gentle parent but just really don’t have the tools?  There is a lot of information on this blog, if you go to the header that says “Discipline” and from the drop-down menu, hit “Tools”.  For what it is worth, I have had mothers and families email me who are chronic spanking parents and don’t have other tools.  There are other tools available.  You can change the cycle and you can connect to your children.  Start now, this minute, and don’t look back.

2.  Is this what I call drowning in life?  No support, no sleep, no time?  So, for two weeks, can you call a truce with your life and stay home for two weeks – cut out whatever it is you are volunteering for, if you are working outside the home too can you take some vacation days?, if you have older children could they have their own vacation with a dear and trusted relative for part of the two weeks?  If you have a spouse, an aunt , a grandparent – can anyone come and help or help with your oldest child or older children?    Two weeks to get your life on track.  Rest, or do what would help you the absolute MOST. Would it be getting a rhythm going?  Getting a younger child potty trained?  Throwing out half of your house?  I don’t know what it is, but you probably do!

Women write to me all the time about “doing it all” and can I help them do it all.  I want to homeschool, but I really want to have a career.  I don’t have to have a career, but I want to.  I want to be home, but I volunteered to be on five things because I really wanted to.  And, when they hear my response, they want to shatter their computer screen because I tell them, no, you cannot do it all and to focus on your family for right now.

The overall season of mothering, whilst you are in it, seems like a never-ending lake that you cannot swim across and reach the other side.  Whilst you are in it, the only thing you can do well is swim. However, it is short and the reality is that you only get one shot at raising your children, “mistakes” (are there mistakes?  I don’t know.  I think there is just a path and it is what it is) and all, and the other things can wait.

The early years are challenging and children take a lot of time. Parents of teenagers are telling me they have even less time than in the early years.  Know this season is small but it is extended.

3.  Is your body rebelling because you never take care of it and therefore you just feel consistently irritable, restless, upset?  What would be most essential to making your body feel better?  Sleep, the kind of food you eat, exercise?  How could you make that happen?  What appointments do you need to make?  Do you need to shop?

Yes, I said shop.  It is hard to feel put together and calm when we feel unhealthy, tired, exhausted, or frumpy (hence the shopping!)    Sometimes we would like to pretend we have no needs, but we do have needs.

Who is your support?  I think we were created to be in community. Who is your good friend you can lean on?  Another mother is going to understand! Call her!  Don’t isolate yourself in your house when things are not going well  – reach out and get support!

4.  Do you have things in place to support discipline in your house?  Life with many small children under the age of 7 is just going to be chaotic in many instances I think.  It just is what it is!  Small children don’t control their impulses because they can’t!  They don’t know right from wrong!  They need strong boundaries and physical follow-through, endless amounts of pictorial imagery and re-direction…it can be a lot.

What are the parameters and boundaries in your home? At what age? Do you consistently follow through? Do you re-direct and fix things when they are small, or do you ignore or endure and then  grit your teeth and then explode?

Set up what you can handle and be authentic.  If you WANT to be the kind of parent whose children create messy art, but you cannot handle having mess everywhere, then come up with the parameters for messy art that you can tolerate or don’t do it!  Don’t just grit your teeth through it and then explode because you hate mess.  Be who you are in parenting and work with your own likes and dislikes.  Every mother is not the same, and I thank God for that.  It is what makes us each individuals.

5.  Do you have a plan for in the moment?  Where can you go with everyone that is SAFE but gives you some SPACE?  Most small children will not let you leave the space so you can calm down, but many times if you can move everyone outside until you calm down and can regain control of yourself, then you can work to connect with your child and help that child to do what is right.

6.  What is the plan around the major stress points – transitions, meals, bedtime?  These are the times when things generally can go badly.  Do you have thoughts about these times and how to make them easier?

7. How much movement and exercise and time outside are ALL of you getting?  Movement and exercise and being outside helps everyone.

8.  For those of you with children in the grades, what are you doing to help balance your child’s tendencies and to uplift your child to the next level?  Not pushing, just helping them see the possibilities, the wonder.

We all, all go through these moments and even these seasons!  Loving your family is simple but sometimes life is not…reach out, get support, love yourself for the precious person you are.  We all deserve to be easy on each other and ourselves.

Much love,


26 thoughts on “I HATE The Mother That I Am

  1. Thanks! Beautiful post. The time does pass fast. Mine are all over 6 now and I miss some of the harder years (though at the time I just wanted to get through them too much). I have tasted the freedom that comes with having older children and can now better take care of myself. But, guess what? We are now fostering a baby boy! I may be crazy-but I wanted to do it again. I missed those years too much to be done. I was and am not the perfect mother. I did my best with what I had then. Like you said Carrie, it is so imortant to really prioritize what you commit to. When the kids are bigger, all that stuff will still be there. Faith, friends and family are what matter…and trying to keep the hardest parts in perspective. Really… I do wish I would have enjoyed my children more when they were at those hard ages and smiled more on the worst days.

  2. Carrie,
    thank you. I read down the numbered list and the one that is “me” most….sin, selfishness, and laziness. I can whine….”I’m a terrible mother” but really it’s a matter of selfishness or laziness. I can research and make goals all I want but All that helps me then is confessing to a friend or sometimes alone and moving forward in grace and resolve. Ya know? Really saying “do I want to be like this? if not…then stop….dead stop, no more goals or venting….move on.” It was convicting to look at that list and say….”yep, doing all that (or trying)….still have to get off the computer and go make dinner, there is no magic plan for it….do it.”
    Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawerence has really helped me to look at “in the moment” being the redeemed me.
    Anyway. Wanted to ‘confess’ and share again.
    Thanks for the reminder that rolling in the guilt and shame does nothing.

  3. Thank You Carrie!
    In this post, I feel like you are talking directly to me. You have just addressed the EXACT issues that I am struggling with this season. I am going to check out your suggested “tools.” Thanks again; it’s so relieving to know that other mothers have similar struggles.

  4. I really like your checklist, it has solidified some things that I’ve been thinking about too. I really don’t enjoy July and I find myself weary, hot and short on patience. Certainly not the person I want to be! I’ve felt that we’ve unravelled a bit and I would like to weave a new path for us, after all the summer is short up north! Thanks for this post, it was what I needed to read, to know that I’m not the only one having one of ‘those’ days. Take heart, soon it will be August!

  5. Dear Carrie,
    my daughter is now in the grades age but I always read you and find support. Thank you and good luck for your move!

  6. In reading the following, I would have to disagree: “Women write to me all the time about “doing it all” and can I help them do it all. I want to homeschool, but I really want to have a career. I don’t have to have a career, but I want to. I want to be home, but I volunteered to be on five things because I really wanted to. And, when they hear my response, they want to shatter their computer screen because I tell them, no, you cannot do it all and to focus on your family for right now.” Everyone has their own definition of being able to “do it all.” Why can’t you “do it all.” To some that’s a career and children which I have – I am a full-time working mom. To others it’s something else. I think we have to redefine what it means to do and have it all; that is an individual decision and I’ll be honest, I have – with the support of my husband – been able to have a career and be a good mom to my child.

    • Thanks Jen! Absolutely, and many women do! Probably what I should have put in there is that more of my “doing it all” mothers are writing in more about working outside the home, volunteering outside the home and trying to homeschool multiple children at the same time…and yes, some can , but many are stressed. Definitely not a dig at working mothers, as I worked outside the home part time until my third child was born.
      Hugs, and thanks for writing in!

  7. All the blogs I read talk about having just a negative look on their face – not the negative words in their mouth or the raised voice or … or…
    I find myself giving myself reminders – but I can’t exactly put a sign on the wall that says: “YOU ARE NOT YOUR PARENTS!” (mostly because they visit and I know I’d forget it is there!)
    We came to Waldorf late, and other things that really complicate life where it doesn’t need to be. And finding rhythm! It’s been a journey, but we’re not there yet. I’m learning more about right-brained learning (have anything? I can’t search your site from home!) And thinking I’m there. And that would be why I didn’t ‘catch’ anything growing up – all the easy stuff for everyone else.
    I don’t want my boys being stuck in that rut, and I don’t want to ask too much of them (he’s only 4 and the other only 1) but am reading more and more I SHOULD be asking more of them.
    So I’m learning don’t SHOULD on myself, but at the same time, LEARN AND PRACTICE IT daily.
    hugs, hope you are enjoying the weather and keep on writing.

  8. Many thanks and blessings to you Carrie. A friend led me to your site and I am so very grateful. This article in particular has me in tears. I have been looking for this kind of support for 9 years. It’s like your in my head and heart. Again thank you !

  9. Thank you so much for this post. It is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Sometimes we put ourselves last on the list so much, that eventually there is nothing left to give. This post ministered to me deeply. Thank you. Thank you.

  10. I am so glad that I read this post tonight. I’ve been struggling with some of the feelings you discussed for a while. Certainly will take your advice on slowing down and re-evaluating what is going on in our lives.

    Thank you,

  11. Thanks Carrie for tapping into what it is to be a mother these days. And the wisdom. I am continually amazed at how connected we are in our experiences. All in our own home pods yet delving into the same heart space. It’s a relentless path, motherhood…relentlessly calling us to be in resonance with our true nature. One heart, one love…in gratitude! Cristina

  12. Thank you, Carrie. I have stumbled across your blog and now want to devour all that it has to offer. I have a one year old boy and a six year old girl. My six year old is going through the challenge of the six year old change and I am really struggling at the moment and not dealing with it very well. I am going to use the resources on your site to help me develop better strategies for dealing with the change. I’ve also ordered a couple of books, Your Six Year Old and You’re Not the Boss of Me. I’m hoping they will provide some understanding, inspiration and practical ideas.

    We are not homeschoolers, but our daugther goes to a Steiner school in Australia. I have spoken with our teacher and the school administrator and thankfully, the parents, teacher, and a Waldorf philosopher/educator, are going to run an info session for our school community next week on the six year old change as many of the parents are struggling (I was relieved to know it wasn’t just me!).

    I’m looking forward to reading your posts and exploring ways to grow in my parenting journey. Thank you again.

  13. Thank you so very much, Carrie. This post really helped me after an horrendous day, a real low point in my mothering so far.. Thank you for helping me to see that there are no problems, only solutions yet to be discovered! Bless you! xxx

  14. Amazing post and resonates well. Unfortunately I am a sole parent, no family around, no friends no money to get out and socialize and no outdoors for the kids to play, while dealing with knowing in another two countries, their dad is dying of brain cancer and my uncle is dying of brain/neck cancer, its all too much.

    • I am so very sorry, Jamie. Is there a place where you could plug in for some help? A school community, a community of spirituality, your neighborhood?
      I am thinking of you and your children and holding you all in my thoughts.

  15. Pingback: Overflowing | The Parenting Passageway

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