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I don’t like being a parent

Community Member
I feel sick saying this because I love my children dearly, but I absolutely hate life with kids.
Nothing can prepare you for the relentlessness of parenthood and how much of yourself you lose in the process. Everyone says it’s hard but you don’t truly understand what that means until you’re in the thick of it and once you’re there, I feel like there’s nothing you can do about it.
If I disliked anything else in my life - where I lived, my job, my husband, I could leave, change careers, do something different, but you can’t take back having kids and yet it’s the one decision that I really wish I’d had more background info on before I took the plunge.
I have a 5yr old and a 1yr old, they’re so very loved and clever, and funny and wonderful, they’re great kids and I’m a great Mum (mostly), but I grieve all the time for my lost life, all the freedoms I had and all the TIME I no longer have.
I used to have so much choice in my day - I could spend my day sleeping, exercising, crafting, eating, listening to music/podcasts/audiobooks, binge watching tv or movies, relaxing, renovating our house, organising, literally anything I could imagine or think of I could do.
All I do now is work, cook, clean and parent, there isn’t time for anything else. If I do get any free time, it’s post 8pm when the kids go to bed and I’m too tired from the day to do much more than sit in front of the TV and scroll on my phone. It’s such a crappy life.
The kids needs are never ending, someone’s always in my space and requiring my attention, even if they just want to play, I feel like everything’s draining. I don’t want to play, or cook, or clean or do family admin etc., every task that fills my day now is not one that I would choose, all of them are required to keep the family running and someone has to do them, so I do, my husband is really helpful and we share the load pretty evenly but even so, we still both feel permanently burnt out.
I can organise some extra time away from the kids etc. and I have done; feels great while I have that time but it’s always only a cpl hours, or a day max. and the second I have to go back to reality I hate my life again. I long for my pre-child life and all the wonderful things I could do with a day, presently i probably get about 10-30mins of each day to choose something for me and it’s not enough, I didn’t know how hard this was going to be and now I’m here and I don’t like it and I feel stuck. What can I do?
26 Replies 26

Hi I_need_a_name,

We’re so sorry to hear how you’re feeling, and how it’s affecting you. It’s so good that you had the bravery and strength to share this here. You’re not alone in the way you’re feeling, and this is a really safe space to talk things through. 

We’d really recommend reaching out to the Beyond Blue counsellors to talk this through on 1300 22 4636, or via webchat here. They’re experts in helping people who are feeling this way, and they’ll be able to discuss getting some further support. Another option is reaching out to Parentline on 13 22 89 (from 8am – midnight AEDT everyday). They offer confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues. We’d also really recommend reaching out to our friends at PANDA on 1300 726 306. Their lovely counsellors can help you work through your challenges by talking openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and they’ll be able to help you if post or perinatal depression might be part of what you’re feeling. 

Thanks again for posting here. We think it’s an incredible thing to have done and could be a huge step towards feeling better. Hopefully we’ll hear from some of our lovely community members soon, some of whom will be able to relate, or might have gone through something similar and come out of the other side. Feel free to add to your thread, whenever you feel comfortable. 

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi I need a name,

Sorry you are feeling this way I understand that children do dramatically change our lives.

I understand you want time with out the kids but have you thought about joining a play group? You will be there with other mums and talking about the way you feel with other like minded mums can help…. Also the kids will be occupied there aswell with the other kids.

Maybe even calling PANDA and discussing how you are feeling could help you aswell as per Sophie’s previous post.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi I need a name,

That must be such an awful feeling to have and no doubt fills you with guilt as it’s not the socially acceptable thing to admit or say. In actual fact, I am sure that many many parents feel the exact same way, particularly when their children are young. It’s such a shame that we don’t talk about this stuff more as it could stop you feeling as though you are the only one or that there’s something wrong with you. Unfortunately with children you are required to give up most of your life in the early years to raise them and your needs are so low down on the scale it feels as though they may as well not exist. But this is a stage and like all stages it will pass, and change into something else. Once they are both at school, you will find that you will have more time for yourself during the day. And hopefully you would need to work five days a week so that you can at least have one day for yourself. It’s tough and it’s not something you can truly experience beforehand so I imagine it comes as a bit of a shock to the system and force you to question “what have I done”. But please remember that there is also always an element of “the grass is greener” to each decision. Without children you are right in that you have more time to do things for you, but most people just go to work and come home and do very little otherwise. And after awhile it can feel like a bit of an empty boring experience. I often envy people who have children when I see those little arms around a parents neck or the excitement of Christmas morning or even thinking of the adult relationship that I have with my parents. Like any major decision, there are pros and cons to each approach. You definitely sound burnt out at the moment, which is not surprising. I think that you need to find a way to perhaps have a break for at least a few days. Do either you or your husband have grandparents who live nearby or even friends whose place they could sleep over? My partner and I don’t have kids and we rarely get asked to mind friends kids because I think they think that we’d hate it but we would love it.

Community Member

I don’t have the answers but to some degree, I totally get it. My kids are 4 and 18 months, so I think we may go through similar things.
I work and I feel so jealous of my coworkers who have no kids and can just sit and relax - as soon as I log off I have to run downstairs and cook dinner before they’re home. Little on is teething and wakes at 5am, big one wanders in at about midnight with her blanket and pillow. I miss lots of things!

I have been told by every parent I know that it DOES get better. I’m hanging on to that thought!

yours in solidarity ❤️

Thanks for the suggestions Sophie, I’ll reach out soon. Also looking forward to hearing from the community, hopefully someone has been through the same thing and come out the other side.

Thanks for the suggestion Petal22, I work full time and not sure if they run playgroups on weekends but it’s definitely worth looking into, I’ll do that.

Thanks for your reply Juliet_84 you’re 100% right that we always think the grass is greener but it’s not necessarily that way. I know I’m very lucky to have my little ones. I could definitely organise for someone to take them for a few days, we have some great Aunty’s, Uncle’s and Grandparents, unfortunately I don’t think this would really help my problems though. I’m finding I need help dealing with the grief of my lost life and handling the every day relentlessness of having children. A break would certainly be nice but there’s nothing in particular I would do with that time. I struggle so much with the lack of time and choice I have now but if I got time alone, I think I would only spend that time sleeping or watching TV and I can’t imagine the guilt I’d feel if I gave up a weekend with them to do “nothing”. Even though I crave “nothing” all the time. It’s very hard to explain, I miss them while I work so I don’t like to spend time away from them on the weekends but I also hate that I have zero time for myself or anything else. I know this sounds ridiculous and i’m basically wanting to have my cake and eat it too. I look back on all the time I used to have and those days I did nothing with that time, not realising what was ahead and I’m full of regret and longing. I don’t know how anyone accepts that this is their life now, I guess that’s why I posted, to hopefully seek out others who’ve found some relief. I went from having all my nights and weekends full of choice and wonderful things to being able to choose at maximum an hour or so of things for myself for the whole week. It’s a really hard, really permanent transition. Rather than struggling with the kids, I think I struggle with accepting what I’ve lost in order to have them. I love my kids, I just wish there was enough time and space to have kids and also have things for myself but the reality of parenting is that’s not possible. You basically give up all that you are to become their everything and although they’re wonderful and I love them dearly, you don’t know you’re doing that until you’re stuck there. I could ask for a sleep in, I could ask someone to watch them for a few hours so I could watch tv or craft or do something lovely for me, and my support team would do it, I think though, I need help with acceptance and “enjoying the ride” because asking those things will get me some temp relief but I need to deal with this long term. Hope that makes sense, thank you for taking the time to reply

Hi I need a name,

I completely understand, you are mourning your lost life, and all that it entailed. I suppose I thought that you could recapture a bit of it, even briefly, with a temporary break. To remind you that your life hasn’t actually gone, it’s still there waiting but you just can’t see the forest for the trees at the moment because you are in the thick of it for the next few years so to speak. I hope that you will consider taking a break for a few days, even to do “nothing”, especially to do nothing as you put it. Self-care takes all different shapes and forms, fore some people that looks like going to the hairdresser or a day spa, to others it looks like sport, or for others it looks like spending the weekend in bed catching up on lost sleep with a bag of chips watching Netflix. There should be no guilt in there, you are a mother to young children, you do more than enough. We used to mind my cousins children one to two days per week to give her a break, we never asked what she was doing with that time but it was just for her to decide what she needed, I’m sure some days she didn’t get out of bed and other days she went shopping or out to lunch. That was her time to decide what she felt she needed most during those times, and we loved the opportunity to establish such a close bond with the kids when they were little. Hopefully others on here will have been through similar and will have some useful suggestions on how to overcome the grief, but I think trying to recapture a bit of freedom may help to show that it doesn’t have to be all of one and none of the other.

Thank you Juliet_84, until you mentioned it I didn’t even consider that a break could at the very least help to reset some of my all or nothing thinking.
Thanks again for your suggestions, I’ll definitely work on carving out some time for me without guilt. 😊