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Do you hate parenting too? Welcome to the club!
Let us be honest. Parenting is an extreme job we have never prepared for. It is only natural if we find it distasteful. I also used to hate being a parent. It is something I shared in a separate blog post: Is It Okay To Hate Parenting? (Real talk).
Hate is generally okay as long as it does not result in violence or destructive behaviors. But that’s the problem with hatred — it grows. We cannot guarantee what will happen if we let it sit for too long.
A baby snake may look innocent. But who knows what danger it brings after a few weeks inside our house.
Here are 7 things to do when you hate being a parent.
1. Learn to parent
People turn to hate when they are powerless. What do you do with a bully stronger than you? An abusive parent? Or a demanding boss?
Most of the time, we do nothing, do you not agree? We know they have the upper hand, so all we do is harbor hate against them.
It is the same feeling we have about being a parent. We didn’t prepare for this excruciating task. No school ever taught us how to raise a child. We feel so powerless, especially when:
- The baby cries.
- Bills start to pile up.
- We struggle to balance work and family life.
Parenting has brought us to our knees, and the only thing we can do is hate it.
But enough is enough. One of the first things I did to turn the tide around was to learn how to be a parent. I burn through a lot of books and attended seminars. I acknowledged my weakness and devoted time to making myself battle-ready.
Here are some parenting books I recommend (Links to Amazon Kindle):
- The World Needs A Father by Cassie Carstens — You can also sign up for the Two-hour FREE training in Udemy.
- The Five Love Languages of Children (and Teenagers) by Gary Chapman
- On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo — a controversial book, but one of my mentors recommended this to me. I found some nuggets here.
- Be A Better Dad Today!: 10 Tools Every Father Needs by Gregory Slayton
- The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care by William and Martha Sears
- Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
Bonus (I haven’t read this book yet but looks promising): Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp
These books helped me understand my responsibilities as a father. It gave me tips on how to manage the house and approach my children better. Consequently, we were able to develop a structure that worked for our family.
2. Find a family counselor
It is difficult to process our emotions alone. We tend to have a biased perspective toward someone or something when we feel hate. We need someone to talk to who is on neutral ground. It could be a trusted friend or a family member. But it is best if we can seek professional help.
When our family was at its peak of messiness, my wife and I visited our family counselor every other month. It was a worthwhile investment. We both were able to process our emotions not only for parenting but for our marriage as well.
Praise God we no longer hate being parents as it used to be. There were days when we even enjoyed it. But we do not want to be complacent. We continue to schedule an appointment with our counselor once or twice a year.
Pro-tip: Be as honest and as transparent as possible when meeting with your counselor. They cannot help you when you withhold information from them. Tell them how you truly feel, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
Read: Dealing with Anxiety
3. Find productive ways to unleash the hate
On May 3, 1980, a hit-and-run killed a 13-year-old girl in Fair Oaks, California. The driver was drunk. By September 5, 1980, the mother of the child unleashed her hatred towards all drunk drivers. She organized a group called Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD for short.
MADD is a non-profit organization in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil. It seeks to stop drunk driving and support those who are affected by it. They moved to prevent underage drinking and strive for a stricter impaired driving policy. — whether it is by alcohol or any other drug.
As of March 30, 2020, MADD has saved around 350,000 lives and helped more than 850,000 victims. In essence, their organization has helped cut drunk driving victims in half.
We can only imagine how much anger and hate the mother has for the person who killed her daughter. But she released her emotions in such a productive fashion.
Our counselor also asked me to do the same. In one of our sessions, she gave me a notebook and told me to dump everything I felt there. Eventually, I decided to put up a blog instead.
4. Make it right with mom and dad
How is your relationship with mom and dad?
There are no perfect parents. Chances are, mom and dad may have hurt you at some point in your life. But since it is morally impossible to make them pay, we tend to redirect our hate for them to our children. — this is called a mother and father wound.
My dad was passive, and my mom hurt me a lot verbally and physically back then. But I was not aware of these wounds until I took an exam in The World Needs A Father training. I generally consider myself to have a good relationship with my parents. Yet, the hate I have for parenting is possibly a manifestation of my past hurts.
Hatred can be passed down. Our animosity about parenting could be less about our children and more about our parents. Having parental wounds exempts no one, even mom and dad.
5. Watch movies about being parents
Sometimes all we need is a good parenting movie to attach us to our new role as fathers. No seriously. Watch these films and tell me if they didn’t somehow tug your heartstrings.
- John Q — Denzel Washington
John Q Archibald lives with his wife Denise and young son Michael. But when Michael needs an emergency heart transplant that John cannot afford, he vows to do anything to keep his son alive.
- The Pursuit of Happyness — Will Smith
Tired of Chris’s professional failures, his wife decides to separate, leaving him financially broke with an unpaid internship in a brokerage firm and his son’s custody to deal with.
- Big Daddy — Adam Sandler
Sonny, a lazy law school graduate, decides to take care of Julian, a five-year-old boy, to win his girlfriend back. However, things take a turn when the two start to genuinely bond.
- Miracle in Cell No. 7 — a Korean film
Inmates at a Korean prison join forces to protect a comrade and his young daughter, who cannot bear to be separated for even a moment.
- Click — Adam Sandler
An architect discovers a universal remote that permits him to fast-forward and rewind to certain portions of his life. Complexities emerge when the remote begins to override his preferences.
6. Treat yourself
Hate may sprout if we feel like we are on the losing side of the deal. We might say, “Being a parent is so hard! And what do I get in return?! It’s so unfair!”
So I decided to create a budget to treat myself sporadically. I named the budget “Fun fund.” It is my stash where I put in around $10 to $30 a month as my “salary” for becoming a parent. Money there will be solely spent on my enjoyment.
Thus far, I have already bought a Bluetooth speaker, Bluetooth headphones, and an e-reader using my fun fund. My most recent expense was my enrollment at Project 24 by Income School. It is an online course where it teaches me how to blog and build better websites.
Aside from the fun fund, I also opened another budget to treat my wife. We call it the “Date night fund.” We set aside money there for three weeks, then whatever amount we saved will be used for eating out. It is something we enjoy and look forward to each month.
7. Get Some Sleep
How’s your sleep lately? Do you get seven to nine hours of sleep every day?
If not, there is a good chance your irritability doesn’t come from parenting per se but the lack of sleep.
According to SleepFoundation.org, sleep deprivation directly affects how we think and feel.
Examples of these symptoms include:
- Slowed thinking
- Reduced attention span
- Worsened memory
- Poor or risky decision-making
- Lack of energy
- Mood changes — including feelings of stress, anxiety, or irritability
Top these off with a demanding baby, financial pressures, and a pile of things to do, and what do we get?
No wonder we feel so defeated as parents.
Yet, the choices we make are what drives us to sleep deprivation. We lack sleep because we choose to sleep less. We would instead work, do some chores, or even entertain ourselves than get our much-needed rest.
Why don’t we start a new habit today? Let us make sleep a priority.
Here are some tips from SleepFoundation.org:
- Have a consistent sleep schedule
- Set boundaries in your work and social life
- Have a bedtime routine
Avoid things that can interfere with sleep:
- Electronic devices
Bonus: Look at the big picture
What is the goal of parenting?
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.Proverbs 22:6 ESV
The goal of parenting is to prepare our children for their journey. It is like we’re building a spaceship that should make it to space and survive.
We do not own our kids. They are more like long-term guests. One day, our children will move out and live their own lives.
I don’t know about you, but this was the clincher for me. It made me dread the future separation more than I dread being a parent. This truth taught me to appreciate and treasure the moments when I can still parent my kids.
Because I know one day I am going to miss this part of my life.
“Expect less, appreciate more.”
I received this in-your-face advice from a colleague. She sensed my heart was filled with standards that blinded me from the blessings I already had.
Many married couples today are spending millions so they can become parents. My colleague and her husband had been trying for years but still fail to conceive. — And here I am ranting about parenting.
Being a parent is a privilege. We are entrusted with these children for a reason. We may despise parenting with passion, yet God still thinks we are the best people for the job.
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Thank you for reading!