Confessions of a Mom Who Didn’t Like Motherhood

I never wanted to be a full-time mom. I never thought it would break my heart to leave for work in the morning.

But it does now.

My son wasn’t even two months old when I returned to the workforce. I stayed home as long as we could afford it. I dreaded going back to work. I didn’t think my husband would be as affectionate and intuitive a parent as me. But I put on my big girl pants and I got up for work. And I didn’t even cry. Nope. I thought I would, but it was easier to just be away and busy and back in the grind. Easier than I thought anyway.

John2months
Me and John right before I went back to work, one of us chubby and hopefully both of us happy. Isn’t he so fat and cute? Love it!

I just wasn’t one of those moms, I thought, one of those moms who can stay home. I didn’t have the choice, anyway, even if I wanted it. My husband was pastoring a church on a stipend at the time, and my income was most of what we lived on. So I didn’t entertain staying home.

Plus, when I was 20, I met a mom with a Master’s degree, and I decided right then, I would be one of those moms. Educated with a world wide open to me. I wanted to make my kids proud. So I had to work, right?

The nights and weekends I spent with my son only proved to me I didn’t know what I was doing. That me going to work every day was probably the best choice for him and for me. Because clearly I was educated in Social Work, not parenting. I should just stick to making my son proud with my career since my parenting wasn’t going to win any awards.

Besides, I was fortunate. My son spent his days in the care of my husband, his dad, who is an amazing parent. He’s creative and knows how to redirect and distract John while I would rather bark out orders and expect obedience. Josh might also be a more fun parent than me because he knows how to wrestle.

To be honest, my overall experience with parenting was more frustration than pleasure, more incompetence and irritation than enjoyment. I wanted to like being a mom, but I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. So I yelled. And then John got scared of me, at least some of the time. It was horrible. I hated that look on his face.

So I did something about it. On July 3 this year, I accepted the Orange Rhino challenge to Not Yell For 365 Days, and I wrote about it so you could keep me accountable. I failed a few times, and had to start over. But at least I told you about it, right?

Not yelling, or yelling much less, transformed me. I developed creativity. I felt a new patience and affection for my son growing in me. I couldn’t believe it. Taking out the option of yelling forced me to do things differently, better.

I started to like motherhood. I started to like my son more. I started to wonder if maybe I could do this mom thing. I thought I might just be able to educate him and love him and play with him and maybe we could still like each other at the end of the day. Maybe I wouldn’t have to tuck him in every night with apologies.

And I realized the Master’s degree didn’t really matter that much. After all, kids don’t want to be impressed with you as much as they want to be with you.

When I got pregnant a few months ago, a new reality hit me. I would be a mom of two. My husband, a full-time pastor, would be simultaneously juggling full-time parenthood of two children plus running a church. How would we survive it?

I needed to do something. This realization hit me at just the perfect time. A few months before, I would’ve felt too incompetent to stay home. My job was an escape into my expertise. So I’ve decided to take this mom thing and this writing thing seriously. We are going to buckle down and see what happens.

I’ve got plans to stay home, raise my kids and do what I love. And I’ll be making an exciting announcement related to this in the next couple weeks. Don’t worry: I’m not going to ask you to join my home business or anything. But I definitely hope you’ll join me on this journey.

This is me right now. Except it’s my not-yet, my future history. And I don’t know what I think about that minivan. Do I have to….?

But can we celebrate this for a moment? I’m a mom who wants to be a mom. I don’t feel angry and incompetent anymore. I like motherhood. This is a stand-up-and-cheer moment for me. 

I can’t tell you how good it feels not to live with the regret of parenting from frustration instead of intention, reacting instead of responding? Goodness knows I don’t do this perfectly, but I am improving. I’m growing. And I’m doing it on purpose. I’m living proof anyone can change.

Let’s get excited together. Tell me your favorite thing about parenting in the comments below.

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14 thoughts on “Confessions of a Mom Who Didn’t Like Motherhood

  1. This is how I felt when I had to step down from my full time management job to work part time to be home with my son. The emotional struggle I had of feeling an like an inadequate member of my household, since the only thing I had ever done is work. I was always the breadwinner. Amen to you for being honest with yourself! And I will be following you on your journey as I myself try to learn and grow as a mom!

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    1. Thank you so much for the empathy and camaraderie. It’s good to know we’re not alone, isn’t it? I hope you are able to enjoy parenthood more as you spend more time in it. Feeling incompetent sucks. Glad to feel less that way now.

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  2. While I find several parts of mothering/parenting to be incredible stressful and frustrating (like being responsible for two human beings who can’t even pour their own cereal) I find that I wouldn’t want to trade it fur anything now. I love the funny things my toddlers say!

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  3. I’m reading your post and all the responses, and I find that I have an ache in my heart. I am in the reverse position of you. I’ve found that I have a strong and growing desire to be a father, but I have neither children or a significant other. I think hearing of others struggles with parenting will serve to prepare me for the real thing – which I long for. Thank you for sharing! You want to be a mom and you have a child(s)! I’m celebrating with you! Wahooo!

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    1. It’s such a journey – I wanted to be a wife and a mother long before I was. And then the reality of my incompetence set in and that changed my capacity for love. I hope your big capacity for love stays big and doesn’t shrink like mine did.

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  4. Sarah, this is so good! Henry, I loved your comment too! I LOVE doing life with my littles. The excitement and joy that my son has about life, causes my heart to worship the Lord and his creation. I still cannot believe the Lord blessed us with babies — two!! Ah!! God is good! It is a true blessing to be a mommy!! I love giving a shout out and reading your article in place of often posted facebook status’/comments our culture normally raises about the “inconvenience” of kids. Praise Jesus! He’s doing some cool stuff in your parenting and life.

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    1. Two babies indeed. You are so blessed and lucky and fortunate. Your story is so wonderful. It is a blessing to be a mom – a dream fulfilled for me. But not just having children – I want to be one who enjoys and loves the role, not just my kids. There’s a difference. It’s coming.

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  5. Woohooo!!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!!! Learning how to walk in patience and love with the littles makes a heart explode! I’m still getting it, and so excited to read that you are getting blasted too 🙂 Yay Hot Momma!

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    1. Thank you, Jessica. This has been one of my biggest breakthroughts on a journey I very intentionally started. I wanted to be a mom so bad, but it’s just those derned feelings of incompetence that drove me to check out. I’m so thankful for this new way of living. Glad to know I’m understood. 🙂

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