There. I said it.
It took me searching “I hate motherhood” on Google to realize I’m not alone. Or, rather, not as alone as I originally thought. The articles are few and far between, but the few brave enough to put it out there in the open helps immensely. I suspect, based on personal experience, that anyone who does voice this opinion gets blown off. My own sister today, when I admitted I don’t like motherhood, replied with “Oh yes you do.” I mean, WTAF? We’re sisters and all, but please – let’s not pretend that you actually know how I’m feeling and my daily struggles. I will fully admit I have moments of joy, but the vast majority of those are small in comparison to the stress and frustrations of parenthood. And those “isn’t/wasn’t it all worth it?” questions? No. Not, at least, from my point of view. But admitting that gets people looking at you like you have two heads. Or like there’s something wrong with you. Or both.
“It’s not the trivial things that people complain about like peeing with an audience or having to drive to endless lacrosse games. It’s the fact that I truly liked my life better before I was a parent. I liked who I was better, and I spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming of those days.”
“This is why speaking frankly about motherhood matters, and why support matters, because what any one woman cannot summon can be summoned by the village, if it exists. And what matters even more than that is giving women the resources to cope with whatever their experience is, and the space to sort through the complex feelings that accompany it, a way for a woman to be a mother and still human, still flawed, still something other than merely an endless vessel of giving. Because as in everything, what we think we “want” is but a sliver of the picture.”
You know what I think we should do? We should all just stop pretending that motherhood is the best thing ever. Or, if it is for us, we should stop thinking it’s that way for everyone else, too. Your experience is not my experience. Your feelings are not my feelings. We should stop generalizing the motherhood experience into sunshine and rainbows. We should stop expecting that every woman who has a child loves her role as a mother. I think, when we ask how a man enjoys fatherhood, we have zero expectations of him. If he says it’s great/awesome/he’s in love with it, we shower him with adoration. If he says it sucks, we chalk it up to men being men. We don’t act like men are horrible people for not loving fatherhood the same way we do for mothers who voice the same opinion. We praise men for spending time with their children, whereas women are expected to spend time with their children (or, we get chastised for not spending enough time with them).
The double standard is ridiculous.