01 Oct When I Don’t Like My Child- A Letter to Mamas
Tears streaming down her face, she looked up at me pleadingly ‘I don’t like my child- help me. I am terrible’.
Hey Mamas- let’s talk. Real talk. Let’s talk about the moments no one prepared you for, the moments when you no longer recognize yourself, the moments you think ‘I have failed- I don’t like my child’.
Everyone’s story is different; some are full of tears for the first few weeks of infanthood, others feel the burden set in later. There are those who seem to parent effortlessly without failing, without fear, but I’d like to remind you, and encourage you that life and your child-, they are both full of different seasons and stages.
Do you remember when you first got married? No amount of books could prepare you for physically living with this particular person; the amount of dirty laundry left on the bathroom floor, the dishes left in the sink. Some fall into the pattern of cohabitation easily, others find it harder- but the truth is that it is an adjustment for all, and it gets easier.
The day you brought home your first puppy. He was scared. You were scared. After a few days of puppy bliss, you began to face the reality that your puppy missed his mother; he hated to be alone, his teeth hurt, he wasn’t house broken, and he peed everywhere. Now look at him, standing guard and keeping your family safe.
Then come the babies. The perfect little bundles of joy that were wished for, longed for, prayed for. The sweet angel adorned with love, kisses and the perfectly fitting name upon her arrival. Fast forward to sleep regression, sleep training and the IV of coffee in your arm. Was this what you signed up for?
Oh wait, this little person calls you “Mama!”. He dances when you come through the door. Long forgotten are the sleepless nights of infanthood. We are now into the ‘terrible twos’ the ‘I-do-it-myself-threes’ and here you are, a puddle of tears on the bathroom floor. No matter, pour yourself a glass, call a friend, dry your tears, and remind yourself tomorrow is another day.
Kindergarten; new friends, new rules, no nap. Crying for Mommy. (For help on separation anxiety, click here)
You get through it. You stand back and give your son a hug so tight you can still feel it when you close your eyes. Battle of the wills; who is this child? I don’t recognize him. I don’t like him. But you love him. And before you know it, its middle school, high school and college.
Mama, parenthood is hard. Every time you master a new stage, your child is on to the next one. Some days its lunch money, and other days you pat yourself on the back for packing lunches the night before! Infanthood is hard, but it does not last long. Pre-school may be full of tantrums, but it doesn’t last long. (For help on taming tantrums, click here). You love your job, but somedays are harder than others. You love your children, but some days, you are lacking in the liking them department.
Please know that you are not alone; please call a friend and let them tell you their own horror stories until tears of laughter stream down your cheeks. Please reach out to the brand-new mama struggling with diaper rash, bottles and sleeping. If you are struggling day after day, and would like professional help, please check out the knowledgeable therapists at North Shore Family Services, and their blogs.
You can’t be a pro all the time; you are allowed to have days that feel too hard. But at the end of the day, remember to tell your children ‘I love you’. Today, this week, this season is hard- but I promise it won’t last forever.
Julia earned her Masters of Social Work from Asbury University in Kentucky. While in graduate school, Julia specialized in child and family services. Prior to pursuing her masters, Julia earned her Bachelors in Human Services/Pre-Counseling.
Julia has a background in child and adolescent therapy. The majority of her clinical work is with parents, children, and teens. Julia has been working with children and families since 2012 in transitional living, foster care, schools, private practice and community mental health. Julia has extensive experience working with Academic Achievement, Attention Deficit/ Hyper Activity, Anger Management/ Mood Dysregulation, Anxiety, Grief and Abuse/Trauma.