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Unread 02-13-2011, 05:04 PM   #1
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Trig The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

Why is it that when I have declared that I hate being a parent, my internal organs suddenly looked good being served with a side of fava beans and a chilled bottle of Chianti? Why this reaction of immense horror and tight lips from the listener? Is it really that bad to state how much you hate being a parent? From my experience, it is probably one of the worst things you can say to another person, especially when they have children. You can see the colour drain from their face, their speech becomes stuttered and the large vein on their forehead begins to pulsate furiously. But their reaction does not change the truth, and I am sure that at some point in every parents’ lives, they have hated parenthood too. Parenthood is chaotic, parasitic, draining, terrifying, tiring, traumatising and the most honest mirror to your soul that you shall ever possess. And if your soul has scars like mine, parenthood reflects those scars like I could never have imagined.

Hating parenthood is not synonymous with hating your children, or I certainly don’t hate mine. I have one son, and I love him more than life itself. If he were to suddenly be removed from my world, I would fall on my face and never get back up again. I am often astounded and experience great humility, when I witness parents who recover somewhat from the loss of a child. What strength and resilience they must possess, for I cannot even imagine it. The feelings I have for my son leave me breathless at times in awe at his creation, and I am tortured with the idea that I had anything to do with his beauty, majesty and rapturous youth. Compared to him, I am a pathetic and tired excuse of a vehicle of human potential, although I do contain good genes. It is easy to forget that once, I was also filled with vibrance and youth, because looking at him, I cannot even imagine it.

There is a dark side to the love I have for my son, as there always must be. Dark cannot exist without light, and the darkness is called “Parenthood”. It is great that I have this healthy, turbulent, stubborn, humourous, turdy, kind and intelligent human being for a son, but I have absolutely no idea on how to be a parent. Parenthood has brought all my demons of self-loathing and guilt to the surface. For 16 years I have battled my own dark side in order to be a better parent. But one cannot be a better parent and set good examples when they have no knowledge of what is around the corner in their own personal and emotional development, or I have not found a way to live with the uncertainty.

I have stumbled and cried through this nightmare. I have held fear for my child and suffered such anxiety for him, that I have often wondered if he would one day find me on the bathroom floor, a dried and withered husk of what I once was. I have often looked at him and wondered “Can I do this without damaging him for life?”. In other words, what kind of parent am I if I cannot even get my mind around the idea of being one? Yep, 16 years after his birth, I am still startled by the fact that he is my son and I am his mother.

Now, I do not worry about the horrific looks I get from people when I say that I hate parenthood. I do not feel guilt for it does not change how I feel about my son as a person. I will still apply all the rules and the morality, not because I want to raise a good son, but because I want to raise a healthy and joyful human being who understands respect, self-love, the idea of delayed gratification and that nothing comes for free. I will be the consequence to his action, and love him the same. I will discipline and challenge, I will protect and serve, I will be the safety net for his danger and I will stand my ground even if it means all out war.

All the while I will tremble in fear, wallow in indecision and occasionally pray for divine intervention in my darkest moments. As I glance in my boy’s direction for the thousandth time today, I will love and hate, die and live, suffer and be euphoric. He is my universe, my gatekeeper and my reason for living, after all.

Michah
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Unread 02-13-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

Thank you, Michah, for this thoughtful essay on navigating the erroneous assumptions of others and the travails of parenthood--it was intensely interesting to read. I appreciate your perspective that the experience of parenthood isn't all moonbeams and rainbows, nor should it be. I also appreciate your candor and frank ability to confront this in yourself and the experience, and I am sure that only serves to enhance it for you and your son. I believe more people feel as you, but they dismiss their thoughts as "bad" or simply do not share them with others. That expectation of keeping one's misgivings or dislike of aspects of parenthood to oneself is where people find their ire with you, because I am sure they may have their own version of what you've expressed, but take exception that you are able to be more forthcoming about it.

This was a fascinating and thought-provoking read. Thank you again for sharing it. I have no doubt of the love you have for your son, and had you declared to me in conversation what you've expressed here, believe me, it would have only lead to further talk. I love the idea of parenthood, but not to the point of deification. Someone who has the strength and forethought to question and wrestle with as much as you have in terms of the station only enriches their parental perspective and abilities, in my opinion.

All the best to you.
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Unread 02-13-2011, 06:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

A sense of inadequacy and shame pervades your post, Michah. The more you learn to love yourself the more your son will benefit. You have much to offer him already. The process is ongoing. He will value the lessons he has learned from you.
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Unread 02-14-2011, 01:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

Nola, thank you for your reply. I felt very warmed by it and glad that I took the risk and practiced some vulnerability by voicing my inner thoughts I have been taking the time to really delve deep with what I see and feel. It is not always easy, but often times, there is someone else out there who feels the same as I or can at least finds some of their own truth in it.

"Deify" was a very interesting word that you used. I need to collect my thoughts to explain why I thought it was interesting, but it was certainly a word that stood out. Cheers, Nola.

Byz, you always hit the nail on the head, my dear friend. That is all I need to say. Thank you

Thank you both for your wonderful and meaningful replies.....

Michah
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Unread 02-14-2011, 05:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

When my older two children were about 2 and 3 they was hard work, the elder would climb anything and everything and had to be watched like a hawk. The younger one did not sleep more than 3 hours a night so I would be up with him at all times.

I was shattered exhausted and becoming very ill mentally. I can honestly say at that time I would of done anything to of not been a parent ! I was 24 and was coping badly.

Thankfully my mum stepped in and helped or I don't know what would of happened.
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Unread 02-14-2011, 06:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

Sometimes I hate parenthood...it feels like a mirror, reflecting my parenting failures. I love my children more than anything. They are my reason to be here. Thank you Michah for saying this... it makes me feel like I'm not so alone
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Unread 02-15-2011, 05:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

Thanks Tishie and Can't stop Crying

It was good to hear your thoughts and experiences......Tishie I am glad that you had some help in the really crap times. Sometimes that is all we need.

Take care

Michah
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Unread 02-16-2011, 11:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

Love your post! It was wonderful to read and know that there is at least someone else out there. You are making me look at how I was feeling toward my children. My son is 10 and has special needs. He is really difficult right now. I often think to myself that I don't want to be a parent anymore and I want to throw the towel in and give up. I struggle with my own demons and I ache because I don't want my son to feel the same way. I had been saying that I love my children, but I don't like my son right now. It isn't him I don't like, it is the parenting part of it. I hate confrontation and my husband and I constantly work on how to parent together, but we just don't agree and he doesn't understand necessarily what it feels like to be depressed or whatever. He thinks meds fix everything and they don't.

Anyway, thanks for the post.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 05:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

I expect all parents hate it at some point or another. It changes your entire life. My sister hates not being able to go to the bar whenever she wants or just go out without worrying about a babysitter or whatever. She also hates being a minivan mom lol

I would never assume someone saying they hate parenthood means they hate their kids. I hate being an adult (except that I can drink legally) but that doesn't mean I hate my life. I want to have kids someday but I know right now I would hate it. I know myself too well to bring an innocent kid into my insane life. Hopefully when things slow down (that should be an IF) I won't hate it too bad. But some people are just born for it and some aren't. I wouldn't say you're a bad person for saying that though.
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Unread 02-22-2011, 04:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Taboo of Hating Parenthood.

I can't go so far as to use the word hate in terms of my parenthood, but there certainly have been times when I wish I wasn't a parent. I really identified with your thoughtful and eloquent post. Thanks for sharing.
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