It's sometimes difficult to talk to others about the "woes" of parenting because we don't want to sound like we don't love our kids or like we wish we weren't parents. This post is to normalize some of these feelings and give us all a chance to say "YAS! I'm so glad you feel that too." We all feel it but dont talk about it enough or maybe we don't even admit to ourselves that we are feeling it. Emotional awareness for ones self is a HUGE part of successful parenting so it is important to bring these hard topics to light. Feeling it does not mean that you have post-pardum depression, that you need to see someone, or you don't love being a parent. With that said, not seeing it and identifying it could definitely lead to some spiraling and depression. Parenting is a tough job ya'll. We go through years of pre-training and often constant professional development for our actual day jobs but for parenting, we're pretty much just thrown into this ish! Leave me an "AMEN" in the comments if this is helpful for you.
#1 Missing your old life
This is a topic I could, and likely will, write an entire separate post on but it has to be mentioned here. You will love your children immensely and feel no better joy then watching them grow. You WILL also feel a longing for your old life with less obligations and more freedom. Sometimes you will miss it ALOT and even wish you could go back. This feels exceptionally heavy and hard to process at times.
#2 Practicing patience
Patience is the your friend and will HAVE to be practiced ALL THE DANG TIME. That's not to say your child is always doing something wrong by any means. It is to say that, even if they are doing something right, they are likely not doing it at the pace you want them to or they have a million questions along the way. Snapping at them and trying to get them to do it as you want, only causes more frustration for the both of you. So practicing patience is the best option BUT sometimes, especially after you have done it for countless other situations in a day, it is SO SO SO SO SO SO hard! As a stay at home parent, your child is requiring patience from you at almost alllll times and this gets very tiring. As a full time working parent, you've worked all day and likely have less patience once you get home, especially depending on your job. So giving that grace to your child (who is exhibiting completely normal behavior by the way), can be exceptionally difficult.
#3 Letting it go
As stated above, your patience will be at work all the time. Sometimes this is because your child is actually misbehaving. You have to get through that issue with your child in however you choose to and then LET IT GO. As adults, when something has made you angry, it is not necessarily easy to go back to acting like nothing ever happened. For example, with a friend or partner, after an argument, you might feel uncomfortable for awhile, want to take your space, and not talk to the person until you have time to cool down and process the situation. That isn't usually possible with your young children. They are counting on your support so consisently that having time to process and move on from an "argument" is often not possible. You have to learn to let it go almost immediately and move on. You have to go right back to behaving toward your child as if the situation did not happen. Harboring the anger toward them any longer will only make things more difficult for you and extend out those negative feelings. It wont make any positive difference in your child's behavior to continue to be angry at them after the immediate issue is over. The longer you are mad, the more negative effects it has on the child's self esteem. It does not have a positive effect on the actual behavior. Being able to breathe and let it go, will allow for more positive interactions and support and a stronger relationship in the long run. Kids have to be able to mess up and learn how to do the right thing. They need to understand that you still love them after they mess up rather than feel shame. This requirement of staying calm and being able to let high pressure situations go very quickly, wasnt something they talk about in the pre-natal class and is ROUGH sometimes.
#4 Expectation overwhelm with partner
There will, very often, be more expected of you than you can provide. Parenting is so rewarding and yet so draining. You have to remind yourself of the beauty of it often in order to remind yourself why it is worth the energy that it takes to accomplish. As a stay at home parent, you're often dying for alone time or adult time. As a full time working parent, you're also dying for alone time/down time but simultaneously feeling obligated to spend as much time with your child as possible. Whichever you are experiencing, the person who seems like the obvious choice to help combat the issue, is your partner. Meanwhile, your partner is likely experiencing some level of the same deprivation and looking for an answer as well. Both of you are the solution to a concurrent problem and the solution only exacerbates the other persons problem. You are looking for your partner to be responsible for the kid(s) for a bit so you can have time and they are looking for you to do the same. Figuring this conundrum out requires a great deal of self awareness and balance that is not easy to acheive. It requires EXCELLENT communication between partners about what one another need as well as a devotion to trying to help eachother find the balance they are looking for. It is no easy task.
#5 Intense rage and intense love all at once
As discussed above, the level of patience required and the feelings of needing space or time tend to create some feelings of internal anger at the moment of the situation. Sometimes that anger feels like it borders on full out rage. Most of us are aware that we can't be mad at our child that we have to be a parent so we might look for someone else to blame the uncomfortable feelings on. You have to be HYPER aware of this happening and make sure to sit with and process those feelings in a healthy way (working out, talking about it, meditating, doing something social) rather than taking it out on someone (usually your child or your partner). With that said, you almost simultaneously experience all these immense feelings of love, adoration, and pride when you look at your child and your partner with your child. The simultaneous existence of these two opposite feelings is exceptionally interesting and can feel very intense.
I am with you. It is real. It is okay. You are a GREAT parent. Your marriage is going to be okay.