Occasionally I get a comment or email from some “well-meaning” human explaining to me that I really should stop saying such horrible things about my kids and being a mother because my kids “will read it someday” and it will “hurt their feelings” or “make them sad” to find out their mom felt that way.
And I see this attitude throughout the internet, in comments and articles critiquing those “shit-talking” mamas.
Yesterday I received a comment that encapsulates this perspective so well I have to share the whole thing: “Janelle you are trying so hard. I do wonder though, after reading some posts ( which do make me laugh!) how your children will feel reading them in the future: for example the one about your ‘ insane toddler’ or the one where you admit you hate playing with them. Lots of mum’s think this but no one actually says it. You think it’s just a vent and no harm done but you can never truly erase things from the Internet. For your children to one day know how you really felt about their childhood is so sad. Please write some more content your kids can be proud of. I say this with love so that one day you don’t have a poor relationship with your grown children. They deserve better than that and so do you. Think what you are sacrificing for others’ cheap laughs. I hope one day family life will bring you the joy it truly can be. All the best.”
Now, I have no interest in criticizing this commenter in particular. We could attack her for being condescending and oddly interested in the life of a stranger (which is all totally true, of course), but what I want to look at is the attitude behind this comment. It’s everywhere. She is mouthing a viewpoint deeply ingrained in our society.
And I want to tear this shit down because it’s nonsense, and it’s ruining futures.
To me, the most terrifying part of this comment is this: “Lots of mums think this but no one actually says it.”
This ain’t good. So what you’re saying is: Though many mothers experience the struggles you talk about, think and feel the same way, they have internalized the societal expectation that they SILENCE themselves for the good of their children.
They have learned to SHUT THE FUCK UP because they have uteri and have “made the choice” to join the sacred tribe of motherhood and therefore, they uphold the sacred values of that calling while simultaneously erasing themselves on its behalf.
We don’t let our kids know “how we really felt about their childhood” because we do not matter.
But check this out, my friend: How is dishonesty and lying and the perpetuation of mysogynistic expectations GOOD for my kids?
How am I doing my daughters and sons any favor whatsoever by pretending reality is something other than it is? Hey kids, join me in this falsely constructed world, because society says it’s the way we’re supposed to act. Even though it’s not true, and WE ALL KNOW IT’S NOT TRUE, we do it anyway…just because!
Haven’t you blissed-out mamas ever heard of Sylvia Plath? Haven’t you people thought about WHY it is that so many women suffer from post-partum depression, kill their kids, lose their minds, SNAP one day over a batch of gluten-free cupcakes?
And all the family is dead.
Do you ever think your blissed-out bullshit attitude contributes to women hiding themselves in shame as they pretend and pretend and pretend it’s all good and right and fun and rewarding…until they can’t pretend anymore….and Boom. Done.
They’re dying inside. But they can’t say a word.
Because they’re mothers.
And motherhood is sacred, you know. And they might hurt their kids someday. And they love those kids so desperately they wouldn’t take that chance. So they hold on, in silence, with bowed heads and contrite hearts but a fire in their gut that won’t stop burning, a red, raging, insane mass — because maybe they’ve been lied to, or maybe they’re the only defective mother in the world – the one who isn’t infinitely fulfilled and hates playing Monopoly with her kids and thinks PTA meetings are pits of despair and can’t seem to get the house clean and organized when everybody else can..right? She walks around the schoolyard with a smile and a gagged mouth and freshly washed capris, but she pinched her baby that morning. The truth sits like bacteria eating her soul, a little more each day.
But she can’t say a word, because it might hurt her kids.
She tells herself she’s sacrificing for her children. She holds on with all her might to society’s promise that this is what’s best for them and they’ll thank her someday and they’ll be good people in a good world she’s made.
But one day they’re gone, moved on with their lives and yeah, they love her but now she’s 45 or 50 years old and her truth has never been spoken and her life’s half over and all those kids don’t even know. They’re in a new place but she’s just there, STILL. Wondering why, and how it is she was erased just as she was starting to live.
She probably wonders if she could have told the truth after all, and been a little freer, lived a little stronger, maybe helped her daughter who seems to be struggling with the same shit now, but she can’t say anything because it’s too late now. It’s just too late now.
So they both go on, alone, thinking things but not saying them…
You know what? This is HER LIFE TOO and she is a PERSON not a SHELL. She is a PERSON who acts as MOTHER. She is a mother though not ONLY MOTHER.
You’ve tried to make her “only mother.” You’ve tried to eliminate her.
And you’d sooner see her die than speak her truth.
Well let me tell you something, you fucking rainbow ribbon mamas walking around with butterflies of love flying out your asses: You’re killing people.
Not only that, you’re delusional. You’d rather live in a fucking fantasy world than face the truth, which officially makes you a damn nutcase.
Put this in your pipe and smoke it: I’m doing my kids a FAVOR by telling them the truth. That way, when my girl has her first baby and feels that death of self, maybe she won’t suffer quite like I did. Maybe she’ll know she can call her mom and talk to her about the real, the grit, the nasty, raw ugly truth.
And maybe I can help her with the truth of my own life.
Maybe my son will give me a call in 15 years and say “Mom, I think my wife is going through what you did. She won’t get out of bed and it’s scaring me. She says she doesn’t want the baby. Mom, what should I do? How did you get through this? I want to help her.”
And he’ll have the power and courage and knowledge to face the nasty, raw, ugly, life-saving gorgeous truth. That’s what I want to give.
BECAUSE IT’S REAL, moron. And therefore it is right. It may be harder, but it’s right. And it’s the only way to become free. Why waste our time devoted to a fantasy? Why waste our lives perpetuating lies, even though we have daily evidence of reality, of the truth? Why do we justify a constant disconnect between what we’re experiencing and what we portray to the world?
Is there a faster track to insanity?
Maybe you don’t find motherhood difficult. Maybe you love it through and through and it works for you 100%. If that’s the case for you, rock the fuck on!
But don’t tell me I should adopt your experience even though it isn’t mine, that I should lie and cover up my truth because it might “hurt” my kids someday, as if you have some monopoly on motherhood because you happen to be living an American-approved Hallmark movie.
Sometimes I hate motherhood. Other times I don’t. How is that hurtful? And even if it is hurtful, who gives a shit?
I don’t care if honesty is the “best” way to parent. I don’t care if telling the truth results in the “best” outcomes. All I know is this: THIS IS WHO I AM.
And I love my kids with every fiber of my being. My love for them pulses like blood through my veins, like the very blood that sustains my life.
And if that’s true, which it is, why would I ever doubt the validity of my occasional loathing for them? That’s true too, and it’s happening in me, and I’m an alright human who loves her kids.
It isn’t wrong because I’m not wrong. I am a human being with a good heart and strong mind, trying my best in a world I barely understand and I’ll tell you right now I would give my life for my kids. Since that’s true, I have nothing to prove.
So why would I shirk from the REST of the truth? Why would I admit the loving part but deny the rest?
Because I’m scared? Because I think it’s wrong? Because it would break my grown children’s hearts and souls to know their mama loved them desperately AND occasionally considered launching herself into oncoming traffic to escape the sound of their bickering?
No, that can’t be it, because, hmmm…
OH YEAH THAT’S RIGHT.
It’s exactly how they feel about their fucking children.
Tracey aka KidLit!Sunday, 21 July, 2013 at 13:53
You fucking rock.
That is all.
StacieSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 13:56
Amen. I full-heartedly agree with every word. I needed this, thank you.
BeckiSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 13:58
KellySunday, 21 July, 2013 at 13:58
Halle-flipping-lujah!! If anyone listens, really listens, to your words, it is clear how deeply you love your kids. Thank you for being an HONEST mom, who validates our feelings (whether “good” or “bad”), our individualism, our beings. As adults, your kids are going to thank you and love the real you that you Share with the world. They will also be happier, honest, REAL people, and you are the person who taught them it’s ok to be that way.
MarlaMonday, 3 March, 2014 at 15:12
Okay of course we all have been frustrated or whatever when our kids were little but, I have to say that NEVER did I HATE playing with them and I truly enjoyed 99% of my kids from birth to adulthood. I am not sure why so many women have kids if they hate motherhood so much. Did you have kids just because that’s what you were suppose to do or did you REALLY want kids?
Having kids is time consuming, tiring and you give up your identity for awhile. That is what it’s all about……..I am far from the perfect mom and never have professed to be but, I can say that if I had it all to do over again I would still pick motherhood over some big corporate job or not having kids. They are truly a gift and there are so many people out there having kids that don’t consider them a gift!!!
AliseWednesday, 5 March, 2014 at 8:06
“I am not sure why so many women have kids if they hate motherhood so much.”
Uhhhhhh probably because, as this entire post discusses, no one really tells you that it can suck so much.
KriSaturday, 17 May, 2014 at 18:48
this is so true. nobody even told me that being pregnant is not a cake wal walk. I was so nauseated for 6 month…. and of course nobody told me about the sleep derivation part, the loneliness, the identity shift,
the mommy wars, that your kids won’t get along with kid of the only person who was willing to start a friendship with you, about the race of motherhood who is better at it,
the labeling : liberal mama, hippy mama, conservative mama, libertarian mama, christian mama,
I finally met some honest women, who are telling it how it is, but it took me about 10 years to find them, and a lots of lots of failure and retry,
honesty is important, and kids don’t buy the BS,
Amanda FaroughSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:01
Y’know, I don’t usually cry after reading something on the internet. It’s such a fucking rarity that I didn’t think it was possible anymore.
Clearly, I was wrong… because you made me cry.
Let me stand up and be counted: I’m a bipolar mother with two children (seven months + two years), post-partum depression, and a small business that’s undergoing major shifting.
And I really, really hate my life most of the time. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like locking myself in the bathroom and never coming out. Or walking out the door and never coming back.
But, I can’t say it out loud… because somehow, that’ll make me the Enemy of Mothers. And I can’t stand it. I can’t stand crying most of my days and feeling like I’m the only one going through this. Like I need to buck the fuck up and swallow it because that’s what mothers do.
When I told my mom that I’m drowning in this motherhood business, she told me her stories; those stories that you’re not supposed to tell your kids. And yet, I found solace in that pain; at the very least, I wasn’t alone and this wasn’t something to be ashamed of.
Thank you. Thank you for this. Thank you for making space for shared experience. And thank you for making me cry. (I think I needed it.)
renegademamaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 11:18
Amanda this comment took my breath away. Thank you so much.
NitaThursday, 3 March, 2016 at 21:11
I could have written this.
You have pretty much written my life right now. You are not alone. Keep on truckin’
JanelleSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:06
KimSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:12
Thank you again! Never stop talking, to make up for all the years of silence we endured. I’m sick to death of all this silence! Stop it ladies, talk, shout, scream maybe your sisters will hear you and they will nod knowingly they are not alone!
Ash HanlonSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:14
My psychologist told me i was less likely to get post partum depression because i think the whole thing will be a disaster and i am petrified i’ll be a shitty mother. her explanation was ‘if you think it’s going to be awful, chances are you’ll get a nice surprise…. plus you’re probably less likely to actually drown your baby in the bath than the general population because a) you’re already medicated and b) you’re quite happy to tell people you’re mental and ask for help’
it still took me two years to go to the GP and request help and advice on getting pregnant with my husband… she instantly referred me back to the psychiatrist and told us to use condoms. very, very, firmly told us to use condoms.
My lovely psychiatrist told me i’m too depressed to cope without medication, but that she’ll put me on the lowest dose we can get away with of the safest drug she can, and she’ll personally monitor me. and to keep using condoms till we level out the depression on the new pills.
I’m 3 weeks into coming off my old pills preparatory to starting the new ones, and i feel like shit. i’m 33, i’m petrified of being a parent, and i’m damn sure at some point i’m going to want to mail my possible kid to alaska. but i’m also certain that this will be worth it, that i want to at least try to get pregnant, and that i will love a child enough that i’ll never actually get as far as the postoffice. after all, when the dog chewed up and then rolled in a packet of felt tips on my cream sofa with one of my favourite shoes in his mouth i didn’t actually kill him. i just yelled. a lot. and hit him with the shoe. a little. and then felt guilty. very.
your blog is consistently real, true and… (and i don’t mean this in a bad way) …reassuring. you have been one of the big influences on my decision – you’ve reinforced my real world discoveries that being fucked up doesn’t necessarily make you a bad parent. being fucked up and not knowing you are makes you a bad parent.
Thank you, very much.
JesiMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 8:54
This is spot on. And welcome to le club de mental. I am a proud longstanding outspoken member of the club of the functional mentally ill. Admitting to mental illness, even if it’s only transitory, is brave shit. And it is a kindness to yourself and your family and all of us. Maybe someone else who reads this will be inspired by your courage. Hat tip your way, sista.
CatSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:16
I belive in truth also. I do think our children will grow up with a better understanding of life and how to deal with their own life and family. I cant stand the Moms who pretend their kids and lives are perfect and cannot seem to understand why my kids are running around the library and screaming. Oh sorry, your kids are perfect and mine are not. I must be a horrible parent? Oh no, thats just me in my life right now trying to deal and keep myself sane while teaching my kids how to be a part of society. Sorry if it doesnt meet your needs of perfection yet. It sucks sometimes being a Mom, and thats the truth, but I love it and wouldnt change it for the world!
mallorieSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:27
I called my 4 yr old a “shitball”. And flipped him off behind his back. But ill jump in front of a bus for him any day.
MareeSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:41
Love your blog, sadly things are the same in Australia and only the lollipop side of motherhood is discussed. Same with childbirth, mothers saying it is a miracle and you forget the pain as soon as you see the baby. My son is 20 and I still remember the pain in graphic detail.
Keep talking and writing the truth.
MelissaSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:42
Sometimes when I read your posts, I feel like we are having a conversation! I feel like we know each other! I look forward to your posts very much, so, thanks! Oh yea, and my kid has been banished to his room indefinitely for being a punk, while I sit and enjoy this experience!
A Pleasant HouseSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 14:43
My children are grown and I’m still telling them what a fucking pain in the ass they are! And we are all THRIVING! Stupid blue smurfs of motherhood lies. Forgeta bot it!
NicholeSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 15:04
There is a HUGE difference between speaking about stuff, or journaling and publishing it for the entire universe to see. There is also a huge difference between trying to help others feel okay and less alone and saying really shirty things. Some people cross that line too far -I’m not saying you do. I think the world would really suck if I said everything I wanted to.
ElizabethSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 15:10
Amen! Love it.
SarahSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 15:46
Love this! I am open and honest about how amazing my kids are and how delightful I find it that they are growing up. I don’t mourn the passing of their babyhood and certainly not toddlerhood 😉 Motherhood is fucking hard and sometimes I don’t like it as much as I thought I would.
HeatherSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 16:10
I’m sorry but I have to say this…That comment annoys the FUCK out of me. It IS condescending and absolutely RUDE!! This person is using some fake concern that your kids are going to have hurt feelings one day. REALLY!!! She really, truly has concern about a complete strangers feelings? BULLSHIT!!! It is all about the stupid I’m better at it than you game. That’s it. I am so sick of this game too. As you have said, so many mom’s play this bullshit game. Sadly they are the ones that end up throwing themselves in traffic because it is a tough facade to keep up. That level of perfection is unattainable. I feel more sorry for the “perfect” mom’s children because WOW…how sucky to have to live up to the standard of being perfect all the time. Poor kids! I am just so thankful for people like you Janelle. I would bet that for one of those stupid ass comments…25 other mom’s cried because you made them realize that they are okay, and they will make it through another day and that it is normal to feel this way. You probably have NO idea how many people you have helped and saved from just being honest and putting your heart out there. So THANK YOU….<3 I love you…
Sam KiddSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 16:11
Once again I can truly say I love you.
you always hit the nail on the head.
Michelle WuestSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 16:15
As always, I enjoyed this post AND agree with you wholeheartedly. So much time is spent constructing a reality we believe will meet the standards set for us by companies who create multi million dollar campaigns built around destroying self-image, self-confidence and selling lifestyles and values that are not only unattainable but most certainly not real. It is time that we make space for our experiences to be given voice so that we can embrace a wider array of media to consume. Your blog cuts a mean swath through the pretty paper and the lipsticked pig and reveals intelligence, compassion, and kindness. I no more doubt your undying love for your children than I doubt tomorrow will arrive and I will have many of my own blissful and down right fucking aggravating parental moments of my own. Thanks as always, for writing; I love to read every post.
ShelleySunday, 21 July, 2013 at 16:26
That’s why I love you, you are a breath of fresh air, as real as it gets, and fiercely honest. I wish there were more like you in the world. Reading your posts brings affirmation and confidence. You keep on girl, you are the real deal.
Jillian CSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 16:27
I became a mom in 2009. I lost my voice the moment my son was born. Drowning in my own worry, anxiety and breastmilk; trying to soothe my husbands worry and anxiety at the same time.
I became a sex addict sometime in 2011, maybe sooner. I just needed someone to tell me I was okay, desirable, worthy of hearing. My life became a spiral that I couldn’t stop anymore. I started keeping insulin so that maybe I could just go to sleep. Stop this cycle that was un-managable and stop hurting my family.
I’m very lucky that I got help. Five Sisters Ranch helped me find my own voice, understand that remaining present didn’t mean it had to be good. I’m not quiet anymore. I cry in front of people and tell my husband when I’m overwhelmed. I don’t feel like I can’t go out as a grown up, and that its okay that I don’t know how nor do I enjoy, smashing cars every hour of every day.
I am human. I am flawed. I am a mom.
I hope all women come to understand that we are different. But that our love is very much the same.
Nicole Kennedy-RaymesSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 16:38
JameySunday, 21 July, 2013 at 16:41
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done, and most of the time I feel like I should be fired. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and that’s what my kids will know.
Well said, Janelle.
Gina EricksonSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 17:03
YES!!! I love how there is truly no doubt you’ve reached out to ladies and gave HOPE that they are not alone. Even if there was only one, that is a success. We need each other, as mothers we should support, guide and reassure each other that having children is all roses. It’s the absolute hardest job I will ever have and there are good & bad like any job. The great times makes the hard worth every minute. So thank you.
SavannahSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 17:10
There are no words to thank you enough 🙂
BobSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 17:16
There is an old German poem with the line ” Lullaby and goodnight, Thy mother’s delight.” I like to think the old Germans were talking about bedtime being the delight.
Dionne M Ruff-SloanSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 17:27
You have just said about everything I have wanted to scream at just about all the military wives/mothers and some other mothers too. Bless you for having the courage to talk about everything in a REAL way. I think it’s a fantastic legacy for your kids to see!
AlanaSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 17:33
as always and forever my dear… thank you for KEEPING IT REAL! truly awesome people come from truly awesome honesty and you are doing the damn thing my dear. with SO MUCH LOVE and THAT is what your children will reflect on as they read these posts when they are grown. what a real beautiful, raw woman they come from and they will be so PROUD!
Jennifer SassamanSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 17:48
There was a committee at my church that was organized to reach out to all the new mothers and see how they were doing. I had a nice little meeting w/ the woman who was sent to check on me. I didn’t cry or get emotional b/c both my child and her child (12 years old) were present, so I talked cheerfully about some of the things that I’d been going through. I later found out that the woman was so disturbed by the things that I’d said (?????????) that she alerted the group to intervene w/ me w/ the same process they used when people were suicidal.
what the fuck.
all I did was talk about how being a mom is fucking hard.
I love my daughter. More than anything. But I’m doing it by myself. No husband, no support. And I’m fucking tired. So it’s hard. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything. It’s also wonderful.
But it made me so fucking mad that I couldn’t even cheerfully talk AROUND the very real issues that I’d been going through w/out this idiot thinking that I needed serious professional help.
amen to you.
I feel like the biggest kept secret in this country is just how hard it is to be a mom. So let’s scream it out loud until people know what they’re getting in for. Let’s keep yelling until we get the support we need from the communities around us.
Also, I read your blog. There’s no way in hell any thinking human being would worry about your kids’ reactions. They will laugh their asses off all the while knowing just how intensely you love them.
VirginiaSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 18:08
I have very much felt this attitude permeated in some of the “circles” I find myself in. On a couple occasions, I have expressed some honest thoughts on motherhood and received some odd and questioning glances. That was enough of a message in itself for my “auto-correct” to shift into gear.
I tend to shy away from reading literature that illuminates all the good and wondrous delights of motherhood but doesn’t acknowledge the times when one morphs into the basket case that screams at her husband even though he’s doing his best too (or not).
I used to feel like I had to measure up but more and more, I’m realizing that being truthful not only frees you from the suffocation that “all roses” motherhood mentality afflicts but also opens yourself to a community of mothers who feel the same.
I have no doubt of your love for your kids and beyond that, their confidence in your love for them. Thank-you for your honesty and good for you knowing what you believe.
ShelleySunday, 21 July, 2013 at 18:15
Thank you so much for your honesty. You help people like me, who have yet to become moms, feel like we won’t be alone.
ElleveeSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 18:22
I was at home with a 1 1/2 week old infant when the thought crossed my mind that i might throw my infant in the neighbors pool… not because i wanted to, really… But what if i couldnt help myself… cause i should worry about that because who thinks something like that in the first place… what the f is wrong with me? My mom was staying with me. Through tears I confessed my thoughts so there would be a second line of defense should I lose freewill and head out the door. This is what she said to me with a smile… “Oh honey… Mine was if I saw a pair of scissors.” I will never forget the relief that flooded through me. No where near my thoughts was that my mom at one point wanted to stab me with scissors because her actions have always shown me she loves me unconditionally. I’ve been trying to think of something witty enough to feel worthy of posting as a note of support… What you do here is… Pioneer status… Is that high enough of a compliment?. This is all I got… The truth.
HeatherSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 21:27
Your comment gave me chills! I am so thankful for people like Janelle and you who put their real heart out there. Just by this comment someone will read it and know that they are not alone. Raising people is friggin HARD! T.V makes it look pretty, and magazines make it look easy. They don’t tell you when you leave the hospital with your baby that after having no sleep for 2 weeks straight and a baby sucking the life out of you that you might end up losing your mind but it’s okay…because you won’t and to just hold on for one more second. They don’t tell you that moments of feeling like you need to leave because you think your baby would be better off with anybody but you! I remember a post I read from Janelle right around Christmas time about how she was broke and they were trying to figure out how to get through christmas but she knew it would all work out. I literally bawled reading her post, and I read it over and over and her words got me through christmas because I was in the exact same place in my life and just knowing that someone else is there too, and they are making it helped me to know that I would be okay. Anyway…sorry for the novel on your comment. I love your comment and just want you to know that you are not alone!
katgMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 8:02
I used to walk my baby (now 11 years old), every day by Lake Michigan in Chicago. We would walk by this pier that had sailboats moored onto it. I could walk right up to the water. And, I would have this flash, every. single. day. of walking up, and tipping the stroller over and dumping her out. Not because I wanted to. Because I couldn’t help it. The visual was so, so clear (and I’m not a visual person — I don’t dream that clearly). And, I would watch her, in my mind, sink to the bottom.
I stopped walking by the lake.
She’s 11 now. We’re fine (mostly, I mean, 11 is no pic-nic and she deals with anxiety and some other stuff that makes it hard — but I didn’t ever hurt her). I love her as much as I did then.
I don’t think that there are enough people that talk about the darkness of motherhood. I know that the times I have opened up about that story (which is not a lot), other moms get it. We share this and… it’s really intense. We don’t have a cultural narrative for it (interestingly enough, one of the things that the Grimms Brothers changed when they were collecting fairy/folk tales is changing mothers to step-mothers because they didn’t believe “real” mothers could have those feelings/desires to kill their own children). We aren’t allowed to voice the darkness, only the love.
JenTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 5:38
Janelle, THANK YOU for putting this out there. THANK YOU for talking about the taboo subjects. You make my experience as a mother so much better knowing that its normal to feel, to struggle, but still love it.
Ellevee, Thank you so much for your comment. Until I read that, it didn’t really hit me that I’m not the only one with those thoughts/feelings. I’d read posts like this and think, yeah, but I’m still fucked up in worse ways than that. I should still hide.
Mine was hugging my daughter. If we’re having a bad moment and I lose it, what if I hug her, but too tightly. Literally squeeze her til she’s gone. Scares the crap out of me.
I dealt with depression before becoming pregnant, but when I told my midwife I was concerned, she said they’d keep an eye on me. Yeah right. Maybe for the first week, but not much more than that. By the time my girl was 6 months I wasn’t sure which way was up. I ended up losing it and being unable to control my need to hit something, anything. My poor faithful cat was the one that copped it (no permanent damage thank god). Realising afterwards what I’d done, I finally realised I needed to get help. That I was a danger to my girl. Admitting I wasn’t coping was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 27 hours of labour then a c/s was nothing by comparison. Sadly I’d gotten to the point that I needed someone else in the house when putting my daughter to bed, in case she didn’t go to sleep easily. Aside from a few decent smacks on the butt (which I know were undeserved and still haunt me) I haven’t hurt her. We’re heading into the terrible twos now and I’m super aware of this previously unseen, unknown, TERRIFYING side of me.
Knowing there are other women out there like you who are brave enough to put your experience into words makes it possible for me too. I can’t say thank you enough.
carolynSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 18:25
Before I had kids-I told everyone I didn’t want any because it was too much work! Just read a book ,Along for the Ride ,a delightful book of fiction, only to rethink how so close to the truth it really was! In order to keep it real, moms (and dads) have to get in the game. Play the game of life-that means yelling when you’re mad ,crying when you’re sad and laughing the rest of time. So many children never hear any of that in their households and grow up not playing the game! Be real -teach you children how to play for real! Live your life your way!
Alison WSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 18:29
I reckon I could be that ‘perfect’ mum…if I was a mum from 9am – 5pm Mon – Fri. Well guess what I don’t, it’s a full time position and I screw up on a regular basis. In fact I went back to work for a break from my kid, yes I love him but sometimes he drives me nuts (that also goes both ways).
I hated every minute of being pregnant and would never do it again for all the money in the world.
I’m glad you are open and honest because I am too and the amount of mothers who have looked down their noses at me is unreal.
I know they are full of shit and they struggle too, what’s the big deal about saying the truth.
At least when my son is going to be a father I can sit him down and tell him the truth, plus he can read my blog that I write for him.
Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s not, just the raw truth.
He will be prepared and have a mother and father who will support him through his struggles.
My mum told me they only make kids cute because they are such a pain in the ass at times. She used to walk into another room and bang on the wall to release her frustration rather than throwing me out of a window…now that’s real love in my eyes.
CathSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 18:29
Truth is awesome. I believe if there was more realistic honesty there would be less bitchy, passive-aggressive gossip going on.
Kirsten NelsonSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 19:27
This post is pretty much amazing. I knew parenting would be hard before I dove into this mess. But I had no clue *how* hard. I knew it would be the hardest thing I ever did…but I didn’t know how it would rip me to shreds inside, how when I thought it was just not possible to get any harder, any more challenging, that I had nothing left to give…it got harder, it got more challenging, and it demanded more of me.
Like you, I love my kids so much it’s scares me. But I fully plan on having some heart-to-heart talks with them when they approach reproductive age to let them know about the world of parenting without the rose-colored glasses society puts on people. I want my kids to have a choice. I want them to be more prepared than I was. I want my kids to feel comfortable TALKING ABOUT IT! To ask for help. So they don’t have to put on that fake “everything is GREAT! Have a homemade cookie I just whipped out of the oven” face.
I believe we create our own self-imposed hells. I also believe we can create our own versions of heaven. But that’s not going to happen if you ignore your pain and pretend it’s not in the room, looming like an uninvited guest with body odor who won’t leave. PAin is there. Suffering is there. Insanity is there. Invite them in. Have a dinner party. You’ll have some pretty damn interesting conversations.
JessicaSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 19:27
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Mothers’ experiences matter just as much as the children’s’ experiences. Our lives and our truths matter.
Meg ParkerSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 19:30
Thank you SO much for this post. You absolutely hit the nail on the head. I’m glad for all these years I talked very openly about how maddening some days were in my life, especially those years that I was a single mom and handling ALL the shit work, the grief, the insanity by myself and there was no one around most of the time. Makes me so grateful for the friends I had who listened to me talk about how I felt so angry, isolated and bent half the time. They heard the real truth about MY reality, but didn’t judge….they allowed to speak of my experiences and loved me, warts and all.
Two of my children are grown. The other two will graduate high school this coming school year. They’ve turned out pretty good, despite the fact that I was paddling with only one oar for quite a bit of their younger years. They survived it and so did I. Now my oldest girl is a mother of a 2 yr. old toddler and there’s another baby due in October. My daughter sometimes speaks of the same sort of motherhood madness that I went through….she gets it. She acknowledges it. She knows there are good days and bad. And yes, she is stronger for it and stronger because she can SPEAK HER OWN TRUTH.
Your words did me a world of good tonight. Thanks very much.
Meg in Fort Worth
KoaSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 20:11
Love this one!! You know, when I pursued my career (pre baby) I was told to be bold, be brave, speak up, speak out, speak my mind, have a mind, have thoughts, not be afraid to ruffle feathers. And then, you grow a whole fucking person inside your body and birth them and start to raise them into functioning actual human beings and THAT’S when we’re supposed to shut the fuck up and keep it to ourselves? Really? You said it all perfectly. I actually think all of our kids will be this whole sort of new generation of clear thinking, evolved people who actually can take a joke and make a joke every now and then.
JamieSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 20:22
I came across your blog in a teary-eyed, late night shame session in the internet. I am suffering from postpartum depression and was feeling suicidal, like I had nowhere to turn and no one who understood. When I read your blog, I think it was “I became a mother and died to live,” I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I wasn’t alone in the way I was feeling.
This particular post really hit home for me, because I also write and am terrified to put my true motherhood experience down on paper. I love my children so much that I will vanish from my own existence for them. But maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should talk about it as you have so bravely done.
I think, by speaking your truth, you are saving lives. I doubt the advice-giving, blissed out mother who posted that comment can say the same. I certainly can’t identify with that. My children deserve to know that I am human, so they don’t strive to be this perfect, fantastical image that is portrayed by so many mothers out there.
Erica deeSaturday, 27 July, 2013 at 20:19
SPEAKING TOUR!! SPEAKING TOUR!!
or a book!! With a book tour!
Now that you’ve got all that school business out of the way, it’s time you took your hellions on the road and make dozens of parents weep and laugh at the same time, as they do when they read the blog, but this time it’s all real life and whatnot. Realtime! Serious. Bet you’d get a flock of admirers in most major cities, many medium towns, and a shit ton of suburban libraries.
Also, don’t forget Canada.
Anastasia NetriSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 20:59
I don’t have kids – but I LOVE YOU. Truth is best, and I WISH my mom could be honest with me more. I know I was a pain in the ass kid. It would probably be very healing if we could talk more honestly. YOU GO GURL. Never let anyone shut you up.
SarahSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 21:02
Shit those women must really be delusional. Kids don’t learn from perfect. They learn to deal with life by watching the effort behind the finished product if there ever even is such a thing.
C SmithSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 21:18
I routinely tell my children that they are the most terrible little people ever and they are lucky I keep them around for the tax breaks. I also send them to bed because I am tired of them, and I tell them so. As a matter of fact I tell them that I am off duty at 9pm and not to bother me after that. And, I refuse to play board games with them and I tell them I hate them (the games not the kids, I’m not evil). But, my kids get it. They are mine, they understand and share my humor. I would know if something was going to hurt them because they are mine. It’s a unique relationship, this mother-child thing and no one should presume to tell us what will hurt our kids now or in the future. Besides, do you really think your teens are going to look up your writing and pore over your words as if you have something important to say? Yea, right. At the most they may read your writing when they are adults and parents, and then they will totally understand where you are coming from. Then they will probably think you are as funny as we do.
TJSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 21:37
Yesterday I sat through a pre-school concert with my 3yo while grown ups all around me clapped & sang along & seemed to be enjoying every minute. I sat there looking at my watch wondering when this 40 years (ok minutes) of torture would be over & I could do something I actually wanted to.
Yes I love my daughter with my very soul but does that mean I thrive on playing play-doh (again) or hide-&-seek or any of the rest of that banal kid crap? Hell to the no.
As for buttoning our lips & putting on a cheerful front – I’m about as likely to do that as I am to bring my hubby his slippers & put on fresh lippy when he gets home from work.
The sad thing is commenters like that probably feel very much the same way but don’t feel empowered to speak out. Good on you for making it more ‘the norm’ rather than a dirty taboo.
STJSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 22:00
My mother told me the truth growing up when I was a teen onward about some of the struggles she and my dad had as parents of the lot of us. She was sincere of the way she hated cleaning the cloth diapers in the toilet or when she felt like throttling my older sister or brother or even me occasionally because she had done this or that thing. She also spoke of her love for each of us and how proud she is of each one of us and amazed to be a witness to our journey – not giving it up for an struggle.
There are times when I realize I have entangled one of those stories in a way that has more meaning than it ought to have yet overall I am deeply grateful for the real talk and the truth of how life is so darn messy when I am up to my hips in muck and madness raising my own 3 kids or I am pastoring someone struggling with perceptions and reality. Yes, grateful to learn the truth does not devour us and this too shall pass.
Erin BethSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 22:29
Thank you for posting this. I needed it tonight. Brought me to tears. This is exactly the cycle I am trying to break in my own family, and struggling. Thank you for speaking your truth, which is truth for so many of us. <3
JJSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 22:55
Nice one! Did you notice the woman said “mum” not mom in the original comment? UK “mums” are even more emotionally constipated than us U.S. of A. Moms! I just read an article about women being “closeted” breast feeders when nursing past infancy. I just weaned my 3 year old, and while often at 3 in the morning I would think how over nursing I was, I still feel like I was bullied into it…by society, by my moms, and friends alike.
I’m so thankful for this blog because I feel empowered to speak my truth about mothering to whomever will listen! Sorry Facebook friends, that’s you!
DixiebellesMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 4:43
We say Mum in Australia too.
GenniSunday, 21 July, 2013 at 23:10
When I had my first born and was stuck with him in the hospital for seven days one of the nurses told me, “Honey, the best advise anyone ever gave me was that at times you’re going to want to throw your baby off a cliff. In fact, you might visualize it. That’s ok, that does not mean you will do it.” As a frighteningly new mom I was horrified. I could not believe the administration actually let her near new moms. Weeks later, no longer a rookie, I was so grateful to her.
ShenoaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 0:17
My mother is still silent. Us ‘kids’ have been gone for a decade and she still will not speak of her disappearance. Now I have a 2 yr old and am pregnant and have considered the option of just walking out the door – away from it all. Once, I tried to explain this to her and receive some validation of this. I thought, ‘Surely SHE will understand. She had 3 of us nutcases!!’ I was met with silence – a total unwillingness to admit what had been so. That was one of the lowest, loneliest experiences I have ever had with my mother. If only she had told me much she despaired as a young mother- I would feel so much MORE loved and accepted by her.
Keep on speaking the truth – sometimes this is the only place I hear it.
LouiseWantsCookiesMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 1:34
Thank you! I’m a new Mum and am struggling with this massive change in my life. Your blog reassures me so much that how I feel sometimes is normal, and that I’m not a terrible person for sometimes having negative thoughts/feelings about my family.
BethMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 3:00
I read your posts with anticipation and relish every word… not often do I cry but today I fought tears at work after reading this. What you described is the main reason I left my son’s father… I was always honest about my failings as a mother, some days wishing I had never given birth, hating the control I lost in my life, wishing I had more in my own life to compensate for what I was giving to my son… My ex said several times how do other other mother’s I know do this without the swearing, crying, and losing it… obviously I was the problem.
2 years later having left him, I still some days vent behind my son’s back, call him a little sh*t, and tell him to f*ck off, but can’t wait for a huge hug, a chase around the garden, and that feeling of when he spontaneously caresses my cheek… I would die for him, but as he gets older I will never lie to him about how hard the 12 months of not sleeping more then 2 hours at time was, the constant need, and the endless patience required to survive as a mother…
I’ve rambled, but in short THANK YOU, you do articulate beautifully what so many mothers think but aren’t always able to share.
TiffinyMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 3:25
You make me feel confident I can be a mama even though I am terrified and pretty sure this was a bad decision. The best advice I’ve gotten so far (since people hand out unwanted advice like its free chicken sandwiches) is to parent my way and not get depressed because its not how I thought it would be. It will NEVER turn out how you think it will. Stay honest, you might be the only person who keeps me from drowning my kid.
KristiMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 4:09
The truth will set you free!!! The one you wrote about hating to play with your kids is how I found your blog. I googled “I hate playing with my kid”, because I was wondering what was wrong with me! I felt like the shittiest mother in the world until I read what you wrote, and the other mom’s comments, and I felt sooo much better knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Maybe I wasn’t such a shitty mom after all. You helped me realize that being a mom isn’t all sunshine and roses, and that’s OK. That’s the TRUTH.
LaurenMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 4:38
Amen. My mom tells me all the time how she hated being a stay at home mom. She didn’t have a blog to write about it in the 80s, but I sure as hell appreciate her perspective now on days that I’m struggling.
Truth always wins. I love it. Keep on keepin’ on.
DixiebellesMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 4:40
Oh my goodness. Yes!
ShevonMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 6:27
I have shown your blog to 2 of my friends so far and they absolutely agree with you…they say it’s as if you eavesdropped into their thoughts and wrote it in this blog. For me who hasn’t been blessed with children yet, it actually feels like an (unknown) burden was lifted from my shoulders cos I no longer have that underlying dread that I won’t be the best mom for my kids and being in control of my shit all the time because it’s OK to admit that you’re losing your mind and it also allows me to have more respect and patience for my friends with kids. So THANK YOU for this blog…I will continue sharing it with everyone cos I would hate for people to paint a pretty picture for me just so I don’t think they’re “bad” parents.
Kateri Von StealMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 6:32
I LOVE THIS…
I love how you put YOURSELF, with all your amazing qualities and flaws out there.
I think that anyone who doesn’t SEE this, as a positive.. is just.. well in their own denial. Afraid to admit that they aren’t a perfect parent.
A perfect parent is one that will not lie to their children, to themselves, or to their families.. They admit it’s hard, and that it sucks.. but also, that it is the best experience (overall).. And love their children and families to the death.
There are days I want to drive away and never come back..
Just keep driving.
There are days I cry.. and sob.. because this ISN’T how it’s “supposed” to be…
Then I realize.. how is it “supposed” to be? ANY WAY I WANT IT TO BITCH. (which is what I say to myself)…
I hate that we aren’t supposed to talk about our struggles.
You hit the nail on the head here.. AGAIN!
I love your Fight Club Mothering Meme.
I love it.
Axelle the french reader.Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 6:32
Totally agree with you. And when I see how many comments your blog have, I see I’m not the only one !
SarahMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 6:38
I’m not a parent, but I’ve been a kid. I think you’re absolutely right!
Let your kids see you argue, let them watch you resolve the conflict, even if it takes longer than the average sitcom. Yeah, they’ll hate the raised voices and the words you use, but it’ll be less scary next time.
Go back to school and get frustrated over a math problem, and tell them out loud what trouble it’s giving you, and let them see you reason it out. Don’t be afraid to screw up.
I don’t think observing these things reduces a parent’s “god” status. Kids are *always* watching- letting them see you in your human moments lets your kids have these experiences vicariously through you first. They want to be like you, and already imitate you, right? When they’ve seen you experience a hard thing, they’ll know it happens, and they won’t be terrified and freaked out the first time they have to do it themselves.
DanniMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 6:42
Preaching to the choir, Sistah!
MVPMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 7:30
HeidiMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 8:34
I love you <3
GGMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 8:44
this is why i read you
JesiMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 8:55
I love you more than smores! Preach, sista! Never stop.
RoseMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 9:34
You said it!!! Thank you Janelle 🙂 x
NancyMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 9:38
Pulitzer Prize. Seriously. Thanks for this article.
MelissaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 9:49
I appreciate hearing the truth, FINALLY, and knowing I am not the only one who feels this way. Every post of yours that I read, I think, “Someone else feels this way, too?” Thank goodness I am not alone!
Renee'Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 9:50
Best post EVER! YOU NAILED IT GIRL! Thanks for saying it like it is. It is better to be honest with your kids. Never stop speaking your mind. You are talking for so many of us!!!
AngelaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 10:25
Say it sister. And keep saying it. Thank god someone does!!!
CMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 11:04
WARNING. Long comment ahead.
I read this last night, and lemme tell ya, it fucked me up. I love your writing. your blog is refreshing and real. I’m not one who would censor you or tell you off in a saccharine, polite manner. I’m writing this as a rabid fan. No matter what her agenda was in messaging you, perhaps she has a point.
I’ve only been a mother for 9 months, but I understand my mother a lot more now. She’s been able to tell me things that, once, would have destroyed me. For instance, she told me there were days she wanted to die. Just sat there, and fucking wished she would die. I was an emotionally unhinged teenager (weren’t we all..?) If, at 16, I had known how she felt, I would have dissolved. Broken down. There would have been a shitstorm of emotion and anger and guilt and self-loathing, I can only imagine the sick pit of hell in my stomach. Are you prepared for that? Are your prepared for what your words and feelings might do to your 15 year old daughter? Your children will discover the internets and your blog one day. And they will read this. Before they are ready. Before they can understand. When they are tender, and young, and the entire fucking world is about them? And they take these things so personally and they feel HORRIBLE about themselves?
And maybe, that’s okay with you. I’m not trying to say that meanly…honesty is your policy, and you know your children better than anyone and what they can handle, and maybe, you’ll raise teenagers not as fucked up as I was. Maybe them reading this, even at an inopportune time in their lives, won’t be detrimental to them. Just…try to see another perspective here, one you might not have considered?
Again, I’m not saying this to silence you, to diminish your worth as a complete human being and not just a mother. The other day, I wanted to get so fucking shitfaced. And not care. Say, fuck it, this baby’s coming off the tit and onto formula TONIGHT. Mama’s going on a bender. I wanted to. Desperately. I considered it. There are many days, I almost allow myself to sit and play Call of Duty to the neglect of my child. I think to myself, shut up! You’re going to blow my fucking scorestreak. There have been many times I wanted to lay there. I DID NOT want the baby. My husband could handle it, right? No. If my husband were more reliable and responsible, I might have laid down and died right there. But he’s not. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing this child will not survive in my husband’s care. This sweet baby will not survive without ME. And I say this to let you know, I am one of you. I know the feeling of not wanting to play with the baby. having absolutely nothing important to do, and wanting to just let her wail in the playpen while I go out back, blare the music, and chain smoke like a motherfucker.
You know, I don’t tell people about this. Even my mom. I would feel judged. I have feelings that I believe were more radical than hers. Or maybe she just doesn’t tell me the nasty stuff. I can’t tell my husband cos he would go to pieces on me, and I can’t handle that on top of everything.
While I would caution you in regards to your children, at the same time I thank you. For getting me thinking about it. For speaking out for those of us who have forgotten our voice. I love my daughter, and I know that without motherhood, I would have DIED back there somewhere. That was the path I was on. But goddamn, don’t I wish sometimes, maybe I’d fall back over there. It seems so much simpler to live life nursing a deathwish rather than nursing a baby.
renegademamaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 11:16
As a recovering alcoholic who lost two of her three children for two years, the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, when it comes to my failures as a human being. There’s no pretending I’ve always had my shit together when my eldest daughter to this day has a box by her bed in which she kept my letters during those two years, to remember me and think of me at night, when she missed me, and I wasn’t there. For somebody like me, who has lived so near the edge of complete destruction, the ONLY THING I CAN OFFER my kids is the truth of my existence, to own what i’ve done as a drunk, as a mother and as a sober woman. If this makes my 15-year-old daughter freak the fuck out, well then we’ll deal with that. We’ll face it entirely. But you also must understand I don’t hide my struggles and irritation from my kids now. They know damn good and well they annoy the living shit out of me on a regular basis. When I lose my temper and fail miserably, I own that too. So I assure you it won’t come as some shock to hear their mom dropping F-bombs and bitching about them. I do that now.
Further, if my unbridled adoration, gratefulness and love for my children does not shine through my writing as brightly as my irritation and “dark” side, well then I’m doing something wrong. But I don’t think that’s the case. In part, all the pain of motherhood comes from the depth of our love for our children. My kids know that and they will always know that. If one of my kids is going to hate me for being a failure at one point or an imperfect mother, well then that kid has some shit to learn, and maybe that’s the way they’re going to learn it!
My job is not to protect my children from reality. My job is to prepare them for it. Period.
SonjaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 13:39
Thanks for your honesty it is refreshing. I want kids to grow up strong and resilient and by shielding them from truths we fail them and set them up for a life that is unrealistic. We need a generation of kids that can see beyond the media crap and fake relationships on television. We need kids who can bounce back after setbacks and keep on going.
I love my daughter beyond breath. Doesn’t make living through her childhood any easier for me. How is my daughter to break free of societies expectations if I hide the truth from her.
ScottieMonday, 30 March, 2015 at 17:47
“My job is not to protect my children from reality. My job is to prepare them for it. Period.”
JMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 11:58
My kids are 18 and 15 and I was the voice of the reality the entire time they were (are) growing up. Far from hurting their feelings, it makes us all laugh at times and brings us together. Now my son is 15 I’ve been known to tell him “don’t be such a jerk.” He knows exactly what behavior I am calling him on when I say that and he is far from destroyed.
I say, keep it up. Reality sucks sometimes but it’s what we’ve got.
Lynnet McKenzieMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 12:37
I’ve never met you, but I love you for your unabashed honesty. It’s gorgeous!!! I have been a single parent to a very challenging child for 14 years. When he was an infant, he screamed so much every day that by 10am every morning, I literally felt like throwing myself out the window to my death.
I have spoken with many mothers who are now grandmothers who still hold deep shame for periods of time when they yelled at their children or even screamed and slapped them. This happens a lot and mothers have an unspoken agreement not to speak about it.
I know how it feels to use all the strength you have (and then go into energetic debt using even more!)to keep yourself from smashing the screaming life out of the very bundle of joy you love more than anything or anyone in the world. That is some MAJOR stress!!! This ongoing stress can make anyone crazy. Not being able to speak about it amplifies it enormously.
I’ve never met a woman who tried harder than I did to be a “good mom.” I was as devoted as can possibly be– and my son drove me bat-shit-crazy!!! Others who saw me with him regularly said that he was lucky to have me for a mother because anyone else would have killed him. I never stuck him or yelled at him, I struck myself down instead for having such intense desires to hit him, scream, and run for my life.
When he was 6, I started to feel myself snapping. We had been living well below poverty level all his life, I was seriously ill, and at the time I did not have much of a support system. I called everyone I knew and asked for help. My son was such a challenge to deal with that no one wanted to take him for a while. I finally told someone I was afraid I would hurt him if I did not get some help and have a break. Instead of helping me, this “well-meaning” angelic mother reported me to the state for child abuse. Living in a small town where the children protective services had little else to do, I was thoroughly investigated. It was decided that the report was completely unfounded. However, the accusation stayed on my record for 7 years, and, more importantly, I NEVER DID RECEIVE ANY HELP OR GET THE BREAK I SO DESPERATELY NEEDED!!! When I asked for help, I only got judged for even asking.
This experience made me VERY SYMPATHETIC to mothers who go crazy and end up hurting or killing their children. Thankfully, I continued seeking help until I got it, and I also chose to forgive myself for not being the “perfect mom” I had imagined I would be (ha, ha!). Many mothers are not so fortunate.
I APPLAUD your outspoken, raw and gorgeous honesty, my dear. You are being fully expressed as your true self and this is the most precious gift you could give your children (and the rest of the world as well).
It is truth, not bull shit, that sets us free. Speaking the truth takes enormous courage. Speaking it with love and humor is heroic. From my view, you are a hero.
With Gratitude and Warm Heart Smiles,
Cheryl S.Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 13:25
THANK YOU. I love my daughter more than my life. But, I suffered HORRIFYING post partum depression. I never wanted to hurt anyone, but I wanted to run away. For a long time. Thank GOD my mom saw it. She saved me by being truthful. My husband put his fingers in his ears and went “LA LA LA LA” because I am the “strong” one. And he couldn’t deal with me falling apart.
Then, I couldn’t admit it to anyone until my daughter was probably 2.5 years old. Couldn’t even say PPD. Why? Because “it’s the best time of your life”. I was sure thos sanctimommies would think I was a terrible person and a freak.
And you’re right. The longer we refuse to talk about what it’s really like dealing with a newborn, the more women will suffer.
sara waltonMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 15:21
My mom kept it real with me…she told me every week “I wish I didnt have you” and “you ruined my life…I don’t know why certain females decide to have the kid…and make the kid feel horrible for your decision…wish you had an abortion now, huh??? You hate motherhood then why did you choose it?? How do you feel about severly abused kids and kids who die by thier mother’s hand?? They are keeping it real too…I would just be careful how much you rell your kids how much you hate being a mom…they are kids and can’t do anything about it but feel guilty..so don’t even share the hatred …you chose to have them, they didn’t choose you!!!
Vanessa BetcherMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 16:17
Thank you for this deeply personal and honest blog post. I have a 3 year old son and am home full time with him. There are many things I do enjoy, cuddles, reading and housing. Although I dislike playing in the sand and still changing diapers among other things. I have often felt that I shouldn’t express the things I don’t enjoy about motherhood and only talk about the joys. Your honest distain for some aspects of motherhood has been good for me too read and know I’m not alone. Thanks!
Kirstin WardMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 16:32
And maybe since you are honest with your children about the difficulties of raising them they will not be teen parents who think that when you have a baby you live happily ever after and everything will be blissfully perfect. Honesty is always the best policy. Saying how hard it is to be a mom is not a bad thing as long as your kids know they are still loved. My mom was always honest with me. She told me how hard it was. Maybe that is why I waited until I was 28 and married to have a kid while all my friends were having baby’s as teens and ending up on welfare with multiple kids from multiple fathers. Not that I’m judging those people either but maybe if their parents would have been honest with them they would have held out long enough to end up with better lives. It makes me sad when I hear about them having little help and how their kids dads want nothing to do with them. I know this can happen to anyone but the chances are a lot higher for teens. I remember most of those friends all those years ago too thinking they were going to have this perfect little family. 2 16 year olds and a baby… happy ever after. Not so much.
JessicaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 17:16
This is the most real blog I”ve ever read. I love it. Thank you.
JaanaMonday, 22 July, 2013 at 22:03
I couldn’t agree more. If we pretend like life is all butterflies and lollipops all the time, our kids will grow up to think it’s supposed to be that way. And they will feel guilty for wondering why they don’t feel amazing all the time. Then they will be part of the cycle where they hide their feelings because it’s “wrong” to be annoyed or tired or critical. It doesn’t do anyone any good to pretend like life is perfect. Because it’s just not. At least not for the majority of us.
NatalieTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 2:00
Oh I so wish that a blog like yours had existed back when I had my children in the mid 80’s. I can say quite honestly that it was keeping these feelings to myself, making me feel totally inadequate as a Mum, weird, doubting my ability to be able to Mother at all. Lying about how I was feeling actually DID result in Post Natal Depression on the birth of my 3rd child (I had 3 under 5) followed by feeling even worse about myself, as No one else who actually loved their children would have suffered this. I DID AND DO love my children like you with every fibre of my being, but there was no internet and no one out there SAYING WHAT I and SO MANY were actually feeling, just the glossy Mummy pictures in the magazines that told us how we should be loving every single aspect of motherhood 24/7.
So if you can get through that garble there, really what I want to say is a big THANKYOU for being honest and enabling other women to stand up and say, “hey I feel like that too and it is o.k. because I LOVE those little terrors/angels with all my heart” Even if they drive me insane its ok. because other good mums feel like that too!!!
LisaTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 5:54
I’m not a blog reader; I have no idea what made me read this, but I’m glad I did. I’m sitting here misty-eyed now.
Thanks for the reality check!
NicoleTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 6:37
Im all for telling the truth about motherhood but dont we need to be a little careful about we tell children? It’s ok to tell your kids that the job of being a mum is mind blowingly tough and that many parts of it aren’t fun at all and that its harder than you ever imagined, but it’s not ok to tell your kids that you wished you’d never had them and it’s not ok to swear at them and it’s not ok to tell them you think about leaving them or hurting them. When they grow up and can handle to complexities of this contradictory thing called motherhood then tell them the darker stuff. But while they are still little shouldnt the message be ‘Kid – sometimes you drive me completely goddam mental but I love you all the same.’ Because that is the truth but it’s enough truth for a little heart to manage.
HeatherTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 13:04
Nicole….what you are talking about is something completely different. Janelle writes for grown ups! Her writing is not a children’s story but for some reason people come on here and comment that her children will be so upset about what she writes. I do not get it! She is writing for adults and being real about the struggles of motherhood and life in general. It is refreshing. There are many, many “how to be a perfect mom” blogs out there. If someone wants to try and spend their life striving for that perfection, they can read those and do all the little tips and tricks and hopefully achieve that one day. This is a blog about real life,and the writer let’s her heart shine through her words…with a side of F bomb! Just the way I like it!
RandiTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 8:17
THANK YOU. This is exactly why I love your blog!
VivienneTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 9:22
SummerLIlyTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 9:24
JBTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 11:12
One thing I really appreciate about this post is the ownership you take of it. I have to say, I dont think every mother feels the same way you do or should express it the way you do – every experience is different and we should all honor that. The key is to have the option of speaking up, which I think is what you were getting at. We should all have the option to blurt out what we’re feeling at our toughest times, and someone to blurt to. I get why some commenters choose not to share it with the internet (by extension, the entire world) but a family member or close friend is a good alternative. 😉 That said, I really do respect your willingness to accept whatever results of your honesty. That, I think, is the most valuable thing you can give to your children. I grew up with a mean, resentful mother. I was an inconvenience and, in her mind, an obstacle in the way of living the life she felt she deserved. She was married and chose to have me and quickly regretted it. Which…ok. Is what it is? I’m personally grateful she didnt have the option of sharing it with the internet back then. The real problem is that, now that I’m grownup and married off and no longer holding her back from anything, she wants to whitewash it all. She tells my in-laws (who, thankfully, already know better) stories about my childhood that are practically made up, in which she is one of those blissed-out mothers you mention. And she wants me to accept this revision as well. In short, now that she doesnt have to support and deal with me on a daily basis, she wants a relationship that she was never willing to work on before. It sounds harsh but she didnt earn it when she had the chance, didnt even try, and I dont have to time to fix it for her now that I have my own family to take care of. I’m actually sympathetic to her experience as a mom, regret and all, but I’m not willing to pretend it was ever anything other than it was. And I have SO much respect for you knowing that you arent going to expect your children to do that in the future. I might choose to do things differently, based solely on my own experience, but you’re alright in my book.
AnnieTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 12:47
Not all mothers feel this way…sad so many do actually. Glad you’re all truthful with your hateful feelings. When your kids get older, you’ll see what you’ve done, good and bad.
TinaTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 22:23
Oh, shut up and go read soulemama.
BobbySaturday, 23 August, 2014 at 21:47
and so will you, no doubt. Try not to be a dick.
AlannaBTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 12:58
You are right.
By lying to our children (hiding the fact that we are frustrated or harbor those feelings) are even more detrimental to them.
In efforts to play a “perfect” mom role, we are in fact setting them up for failure. They are going to grow up feeling like “wow, I truly suck at being a mom! I never remember my mom doing or saying that, she was PERFECT”.
My mom was one of those who hid her feelings and pretended that everything was always ok. Not to long ago, I broke down and unloaded all of my fears and frustration and asked her “how did you ever handle this? My children are literally driving me crazy!” What she said shocked me, she told me that she felt the same way…everyday.
Wow, as an adult and looking back…I really wish that I would have witnessed her shortcomings, and maybe I would not feel the constant need to be “perfect”! Of course, there are some things that should not be said or shared. For example, my MIL constantly compares her sons to each other, says things like “I really prayed to God that I would not have had a child after this one”. Her children grew up believing that they were an inconvenience. They key is to “fess” up to each mistake and show that your life is better because of them.
Virginia DTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 13:31
I found a link to one of your blog posts on facebook and thought you were brilliant and brave and were just like me. I read a few more posts and started to wonder if you liked your kids and motherhood ’cause it kinda didn’t seem like it. Then I went back and read every blog post from the beginning. I realized sooner then later how deeply and passionately you love your children. Just because we complain about our kids once in a while doesn’t mean we don’t love them. We love our significant others and our jobs and were expected to complain about them. I think if anyone is going to criticize your blog, they should read the whole thing first and if they don’t like it they should shut the fuck up and stop reading, as you previously suggested.
I was thinking the other day how lucky your kids are to have a mother like you and this blog to read. Your sort of giving them a head start in parenting and it just might allow your daughter in particular to have a closer relationship with you when she’s older because she will have an understanding of you that most of us don’t have with our mothers.
And thank you so much for your post about not playing with your kids. I feel the same way and struggled with the guilt for years but that post set me free.
TracyTuesday, 23 July, 2013 at 21:41
How could you have known. This is the script of my mothering soul. I wonder too much how much better I could feel if I walked away and I have felt so alone in that. I would not and could not leave that toothless baby smile and those scraped up 5 yr old boy knees that have rendered me undone and teary too many times..but still I wonder
Emma HWednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 6:11
Your blog resonates so loudly for me. I’m lucky enough to have found some Mums who discuss openly the the lows of motherhood (and the highs of course). I believe it has kept us all sane. If you lived in the UK I’m pretty sure you’d be a welcome addition to our regular ‘put the kids somewhere they can run riot and not hurt themselves while we talk shit about them’ afternoons.
Keep writing. Forever. Please.
KatrinaWednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 18:54
After becoming a mother…I am in awe of my own parents and wonder frequently how I made it to adulthood – because I would have fucking killed my kid self. My parents were pretty real, they let me know when I was being an asshole or annoying. But I didn’t really get it until I had kids of my own.
TanyaWednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 19:28
I am SO SO SO GRATEFUL. That one day I found your blog. You explained it all better here than I could have ever explained it to myself. You give me strength to go on.
Emily @ Have a laugh on meWednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 21:33
You have just described by blog – it’s a brutal, honest and humorous take on life as a mum of three, who works from home and goes bat shit mental in her spare time! And I tell anyone that listens the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH!
If you have time take a look for yourself 🙂
AnjanetteWednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 22:00
I read this early in the day and have reflected in it until evening. There are parts of this that I so completely agree with. Your message is an important one. It doesn’t do anyone any good to pretend that life isn’t hard. And children will at least guess at our true feelings whether we share them or not. Communication is almost always a healthier choice.
Still, I have these memories nagging at me from childhood of my mother saying that she wished she’d never had children. Or she wished she could run away. Those were her true feelings, but I could have lived without hearing them. At least until I was an adult and could understand the dichotomy of loving someone fiercely and still needing distance from them sometimes. Instead, those are words that rang in my ears as I grew older and influenced my estimation of my inherent worth.
I think there has to be some middle road. Maybe there ARE things we should think and not say? (And preferably not think them at all, but as we’ve established – that’s life.)
MorninGloryThursday, 25 July, 2013 at 6:33
Don’t stop writing. Write a book…and then write more books…start a magazine or a newsletter…Just keep writing!
Your words are necessary and real and wanted.
I’m not a mom. I’m not married. I’m probably not your average reader. And at the risk of threatening my extremely important reputation as a free-spirited and independent 20-something, I have to admit that your blog is the only one I follow. The reason for this is simple: You are honest and shatter all the glossy illusions of “motherhood” which our society has so carefully constructed. Your love for your children shines through your work brilliantly, while your rawness, your spirit, and your struggles make you relevant to every TYPE of woman (Perhaps not to every woman; there are those who have perfected the art of clinging to their pretty, perfect facades quite well).
Thank you for your ability to bare your soul with such beautiful candor. We all need to hear it.
CharisseThursday, 25 July, 2013 at 8:02
I know becoming a mother is by the hardest thing i have done and continue to do every day. My LO is 3 months old. After the bliss wore off around 3 weeks hell set in. There was no sleep, only crying. When i actually did leave the house i cried and cried wondering how i was going to smile and pretend it was all perfect when it wasnt. Then i realised i wouldnt do that, for the sake of all my childless friends i would tell them the truth. I think they are grateful for hearing the true tales of parenthood, plus it helped my sanity!
SusanThursday, 25 July, 2013 at 9:01
Yesterday I wrote a text to my best friend that said “I cant be a mom today”. Sometimes my daughter doesnt listen and I get incredibly fed up with it.
I dont think its a bad thing to say at all! Tell the truth. Be free with your feelings. I love my daughter and she knows it! She feels my love all the time. And she knows when I think she is annoying. It makes our relationship better and will continue to do so until she grows up and has kids that she loves and hates at the same time.
I just discovered this blog today. Its great and I cant wait to explore past posts.
JillThursday, 25 July, 2013 at 13:08
You are in all honesty my favorite person I have never met. This post is simply amazing.
SamThursday, 25 July, 2013 at 18:52
All I could think when I read this was did my MIL write that? Hahahhahahaah.
MariaFriday, 26 July, 2013 at 10:58
This is so great, dude. A friend of mine actually texted this to me and it took me a few minutes to realize it was your blog. (I was reading on my phone.)
ShanFriday, 26 July, 2013 at 23:35
I have to say that I not only love you, but I love almost every person who’s commented here. Truth? Sometimes it’s hard for me to really understand what you’re saying. I have to think about it and try to apply it to my life and sometimes that’s too fucking hard for a person who is sometimes barely making it through the day. (I clenched my teeth in utter frustration the other day and my jaw is still sore.) But reading the comments of people who do get it? It’s like my own personal special ed. And I do get it. Too well.
lisaeggsSaturday, 27 July, 2013 at 12:18
Janelle, I have to thank you again for somehow knowing exactly where I am as a parent. I think your daughters or your son will have kids one day and read this blog and think, ok, so if my mom can get through all this with honesty and humor, so can I. Your relationship will not be ruined over it, of that I’m sure. I asked my friend once if she needed me to watch her kids for her so she could have a break, and she wrote in her blog that she doesn’t need people to “rescue” her from her kids. Oh, okay. Because I feel like I need a rescue on the daily. But maybe that’s just me. Or not! This post is great. Thank you!!! xoxo
MarthaMonday, 29 July, 2013 at 9:01
I love this post. Although, I’m lucky to have many mama friends who don’t do this, it seems like I run into women who have this problem, all too often. I don’t get why it is that we are allowed to complain about every other aspect of life, but yet mothering is supposed to be so sacred that if our children hear anything negative about them suddenly their fragile self esteem will go crumbling.
I too, want my daughter to grow up knowing that there are parts of motherhood that suck extensively. I want her to know that I love her with all of my being, but that the day-to-day grind can get you down sometimes. Because I want her to know that she can come to me and I can help her when she becomes a mother. And I thank you for putting this so eloquently.
I love the rawness and grit of your writing. And I have to admit, part of me loves your blog simply because you reference Fight Club so much. It’s my favorite movie.
CassidyMonday, 29 July, 2013 at 16:52
Word. It’s moms like me who need to hear this from moms like you. I am a mom who needs to know that I am not alone. That I can simultaneously love my child so much it utterly aches and count the minutes until I put him to bed because, dear god, I need a break. Thank you.
WeeMason's MomTuesday, 30 July, 2013 at 20:52
This whole “What happens if your kid reads this some day?” thing has boggled my mind from day one.
So let’s say 10 years down the road, my kid googles himself and somehow happens upon my blog, which currently chronicles his life ages 0-3.5. Some entries happy, some entries “OMG I can’t do this!!” I really have a hard time picturing a kid sifting through HUNDREDS of posts about how many diapers he crapped when he was 8 months old or how he threw a tantrum when he was 2. I don’t think that’s really on their interest radar and if it was, really, is a kid going to be UPSET that their mom was MAD about a tantrum at Wal-mart when they were a toddler?! I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that – kids don’t want to hear about what happened six months ago, let alone years ago. It’s boring and they don’t CARE what they were like as younger kids.
Secondly, the internet is always changing. I’ve kept many blogs since 1997. There is no sign of any of those blogs on the internet on this day in age. Even the one that I kept until 2005, you can google all day long and it’s just gone. I don’t think 25 years from my, my piddly little blog is going to keep my now 3 year old from finding a job, it’s not going to exist anymore. The internet moves on and isn’t really “forever” like people are preaching. There are 2348203489234 mommy blogs out there, I’m not conceited enough to think mine is the one that’s going to keep showing up in Google ten years from now. And if it DOES show up 20 years from now, I’m pretty sure Mason’s future employers are not going to give two craps if they read that his mother was frustrated with parenting in 2011….
Anita JunttilaWednesday, 31 July, 2013 at 7:35
From the prospective of a mama with grown children:trust me. They can handle the good bad and ugly of your words. I promise. I know this. I love your writing. You are the only person who can put “beautiful catastrophe” in a sentence and have it make sense.
JessicaWednesday, 31 July, 2013 at 12:17
I vividly remember a temper tantrum that I threw when I was about 7 years old. I sat in the corner of my bedroom closet, wailing, and half-heartedly throwing clothes into a little suitcase. I told my mom I was running away. Then she knelt down next to me and started helping me pack, calling my bluff. I was horrified. I screamed, “You don’t love me.” And she said, “Right now? I kind of don’t love you.”
My mom died the following year. I just had my first kid 6 months ago. I think back on that tantrum a lot lately, and on her response. And I love her so, so much more for it. Because she was honest. Because she was funny. Because, whether she knew it or not, that was an act of love to me, her daughter, a future mom.
Miya GoodrichWednesday, 31 July, 2013 at 13:07
Thank you for writing this post! I’ll soon be taking the plunge into motherhood (hopefully) and being that I’m in my late 30’s, I was worried that maybe I’d be too honest with my children because that’s all I know. I’ve spent most of the last 20 years around adults and firmly planted in reality. This, I think, will make it impossible for me to live in a fantasy bubble. I’m so happy to read this and see that’s it’s okay to just be myself. Cheers!
HeatherWednesday, 31 July, 2013 at 20:08
I read your blog exactly bc of the #1 rule of motherhood…I literally have nobody that will talk truthfully with me about their experience. I get tired of their responses to my truth, my reality…so I don’t talk with them anymore. So, thank you for working to change this odd societal norm. And I have zero concern that our children will be damaged by honesty and truth. They are smart and can see through the moms who choose to erase themselves, put on a fake happy grin, and form a pretend life…what does THAT do to a kid?!
MelissaThursday, 1 August, 2013 at 7:42
Thank you for this. AS someone who is not quite a mother yet (18 weeks preggers), but wanting to get a jump on this whole “motherhood” stuff, I find this post reassuring. I completely agree with you that we as all need to understand we are all doing the best we can with what we have. There are so many out there who want to tear us down, when we should be building each other up. We all are going to have bad days, we will also have good days, but if we are not able to tell each other and bemoan the bad days, what kind of support system is this?
I want my kids to know that everything is hard.. and we will all get through it. Life may be a bunch of roses, but some days you will get pricked by a few thorns, and you have to learn something from it. I am not a writer, so this is really just rambling, but I just wanted to say thank you for being honest and reminding us that we are not alone.
HeatherSaturday, 3 August, 2013 at 23:32
Seems like a no brainer to me. Thanks for putting it out there so succinctly.
contestpattiSunday, 4 August, 2013 at 8:31
I couldn’t agree more- I think one of the most valuable lessons that I have ever taught my kids is that you can love somebody and hate what they’re doing at the same time. They can piss you off & you can just want to get as far away from them as possible – but you can still love them & be prepared to do anything for them. I wish more people would “come out” and say how it is !
GabbyTuesday, 6 August, 2013 at 7:26
Thank you! Just the other day I found myself googling “how to be a better mother”, because I get angry with my kids, I feel overwhelmed all the time. I’ve even thought about getting put on anti-depressants just to get through. I go to the park and see so many moms with perfect hair and nice clothes and I think, how do they do it? I can barely get a shower in, let alone actually look even remotely human most days. I hang around the house in my yoga pants, don’t have many friends, and shelter myself from the other moms in the world that seem to have it all figured out. I avoid situations where I’m surrounded by mothers with fresh manicures and pedicures, their children in stain-free clothes and perfectly clean shoes. It’s that I compare myself to them, and feel their eyes judging me. It’s nice to know that other moms out there feel the same. I feel so alone in my misery. Not that every day or moment is worthy of a nervous break down. I love my children more than anything. They are everything to me. But some time after I had my first child, and everyday since, I’ve felt like the real me… the one that’s more than mother or wife, is being suffocated, trying to get out. So thank you! Keep on writing and I’ll keep on reading. Screw the nay-sayers.
MauryaTuesday, 6 August, 2013 at 8:17
My mom wrote about my siblings and me for nearly 2 decades in a local paper.
One, it helped a ton of moms who were going through similar things
Two, it was funny because we were the naughtest kids. (To make a library of our own, my brother and I took out all of the food in the refrigerator, let it spoil and smashed eggs in the very 70’s white carpet.
Three, I love hearing stories of how horrible I was.
Four, 17 years after she stopped writing, I have yet to go back and read any of her columns. And when I do, it will be with pride.
So keep writing, they’ll love hearing about what they were like now, even if you aren’t bragging about their noodle art.
AllisonTuesday, 6 August, 2013 at 10:44
So, the other day (yesterday? yesterday. sigh), I started writing a post about how my almost-2-yr old was a shithead all weekend, and then I started to launch into a “obligatory note: I love my kid, but this shit is HARD, and also, I feel like I shouldn’t have to apologize for bitching about motherhood but I feel obligated to and maybe this is another post for another time” and ended up chucking the whole thing because I got so far off track from my original intent.
Reading this today – well, YES. THANK YOU.
My parents had a policy to not fight in front of me or my brother. Shielding us from hurt feelings. They never talked about how tough parenting is – and still don’t, except that when I talk about a tough time, they say “oh, just wait til he’s 13…” But they never seemed HAPPY, either. Festering is not the best policy.
And the PPD… yeah. An awful fucking terrible time, made worse by being diminished if you do try to say even the smallest thing. Cuz, y’know, it’s hard to start a conversation with “I’m having these thoughts of suffocating/drowning/harming the baby,” and you say something like “this is awful” and get scolded while everyone around you is all starry-eyed at the baby and ignores the mess that you are.
Again. Thank you.
HeatherTuesday, 6 August, 2013 at 11:47
This is an excellent post. I think it is important to acknowledge both the negative and positive about parenting. I think I am blessed and blissed out a lot simply because I am high on oxytocin from breast feeding! But I do acknowledge the tough times, the lack of sleep, the frustration of being interrupted. I guess I just don’t talk about it enough.
AnnaTuesday, 6 August, 2013 at 14:14
Thank you for this. You obviously love your kids, and if they know that deep down, that is what is most important. So, I do not think they will mind if you express publicly when you are irritated or angry with them. That is only human.
My mum was severely bipolar, and let us just say I did not have an idyllic childhood. It was not that she got upset with me or called me names that hurt, it was the fact that when it came down to it, I knew she did not want me or love me. And yes, this is accounting for the fact she was seriously ill; her shrink told me that she was the most selfish individual he ever treated in thirty years of practice. I thank the goddess every day that my dad tried to compensate and let me know that he loved me. That saved me amidst a pretty toxic home environment. And, I did OK…have a great husband, a couple grad degrees and a thriving career. Love is what matters.
I also appreciate your blog for another reason. I do not have children. I knew from an early age, I suppose at age 12, I would not parent, and let us just say society does not take kindly to my decision. I wish there would be more blogs like this that show parenthood as it really is…the good, bad, and ugly. Maybe then those of us that choose not to be mums or dads would not feel so stigmatised, because we could say…look how hard this is, and we just do not want to go there. We know that parenthood would not be emotionally good for us or for our putative kids, and thus choose not to participate. It has nothing to do with being selfish; for me at the least, it is an act of emotional self preservation, and that is the honest truth. But no one wants to hear that, just like they do not want to hear about the darker side of motherhood. Keep telling the truth…you are performing a very valuable service.
tabithaWednesday, 7 August, 2013 at 6:58
This made me cry. I needed to hear this! I’m so glad I am not the only one who feels this way!
GeochickWednesday, 7 August, 2013 at 11:20
Here from PAIL. Love this post. LOVE it. I approach motherhood the same way, and damn it, it isn’t going to erase ME.
AlexandriaSaturday, 16 November, 2013 at 17:27
You are made of AWESOME. Thank You for being fierce. It makes it easier for the rest of us. I just discovered your blog. So glad I did.
CaitiMonday, 3 March, 2014 at 7:33
I know I am super late but you’re just so fantastic.
I have had this enormous pit of fear in my stomach since August 2012 when I found out I was pregnant. Fear of being a bad mom. Fear of my son dying. Fear of fucking up this perfect little beings entire chance at a great life.
It’s made me into a monster. I yell at my poor patient husband daily about things that don’t make any sense because I’m so scared to admit how scared I am, and not just scared, but FRUSTRATED! I love my kid with every cell of me, but it’s made me forget ME. Where the hell did I go?? I’m lost in some alternate dimension because if I tell someone how crazy I feel and split into so many pieces then they may call child services. I want to call pregnant super-mom know-it-all me and tell me to get the hell over myself, this shit sucks. But in those moments when it doesn’t, you’ll take lifetimes of the suck for those little moments. And it’s all worth the decades of having an unknown substance on you at all times, and not feeling sexy, of forgetting how old you are because the past couple of birthdays have just kinda happened and you blew out the candles with a clingy baby stuck to your hip and forgot to wish for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep…
Anyway, I love you and your non-bliss. Makes me feel like I’m not alone.
True Or FalseSaturday, 26 April, 2014 at 23:16
So when your kids write an entire blog making fun of the times you failed as a mom, where they felt you really weren’t supportive of them, were rude and self-indulgent, when they put out on the internet that at times you were uncaring and kind of a twat, it’ll be funny, right? It will be a refreshing legacy! I hope they’ll be celebrated for their honesty. One good turn deserves another…please don’t complain when the shoe is on the other foot and you have to deal with the consequences of your actions when they’re adults. Like, at all.
BobbySaturday, 23 August, 2014 at 22:24
Don’t be a dick.
NinaWednesday, 25 June, 2014 at 0:59
Oh no oh no I just accidentally liked a horrible horrible comment (Sara Walton) because I was so upset that someone would have misconstrued what you said so badly. Really sorry. I’ve been lurking for ages but am glad I can say now that you are, currently, one of the only things keeping me sane. This article, in particular, is wonderful. (They’re all wonderful.) Thank you.
BobbySaturday, 23 August, 2014 at 21:32
I wish I could send you a picture of my grotty, snotty, tear stained face after reading this. This is the best fucking thing ever.
NatWednesday, 29 October, 2014 at 6:24
I stumbled upon this post from a link on a reddit page. I’ll take the time to check out who you are in a sec, but I just wanted to write you a quick comment to say that you rock!
It is refreshing to read a hard truth. It’s so damn life affirming.
Also, I think I’ve just come to make peace with something my Mom used to say when I was a kid – “I wish I never married your father” Up until right now I used to resent her for saying this so much. But now I realise it’s her truth, and while she could have perhaps been a little less callous about it, I respect her for verbalising it (and not glossing over it).
Thanks for the BEAUTIFUL blog post. Massive kudos and respect. 🙂
StaceyFriday, 27 February, 2015 at 3:12
Thank you so much. I have no one to talk to because they are, as I tell my husband all the time “rainbows, flowers and butterflies moms”. And everyone would hate me and say I don’t deserve my baby. I love my baby so much, I would sacrifice myself to protect him, but I can’t say that I’ve been the tiniest bit happy since he was born. I’m so sad and disappointed in myself.
ChereeMonday, 9 March, 2015 at 21:21
I know this is an old post, I have last week found your blog and been reading through all the archives because your writing is awesome. Just in response to the comment this post is based on, I was quite surprised that the lady in question only heard negativity in your posts! My husband and kids are quite sick of me saying how I love this blog because you are so positive about your family and adore them so fully! So I want to encourage that because what I’m takin away from it, besides some good laughs, is that it makes me treasure my own family more because you are so eloquent at conveying how much you love yours. The ‘negative’ parts are funny because they are true and everyone IS thinking them some of the time! Anyway, from Australia, lots of love here 🙂
beth emTuesday, 9 June, 2015 at 17:17
thank you for your writing! before I even got to your response I was thinking ” they’re not cheap laughs ….I thought you were really sharing your heart and your our saving my life. when I found your blog I couldn’t take anymore crap from other moms..or people’s judgement. thank you again.