family life

When you hate mothering (How I wanted to quit my job)

When New Years came around, I was consoled that there would be “quite a bit of time” before Chinese New Year. Well, where did all the days go? We have been so busy with the every day, with moving to a new office space, me still trying to train my helper (a long story for another day), getting accustomed to the new schools and way of schooling for all three kids and everything else in between.

Mittens turned 7 early last month, and we celebrated it with a big lunch party…..at the neighborhood zhi char stall. With a last minute store bought cake. It was with all his cousins (from both sides!), and with a fish dish caught by his very own uncle, followed by lots of cycling, scooting, and pizza for dinner, still with cousins. Certainly not the most elaborate, but simple doesn’t mean it’s anything less.

I have not made any new year resolutions, but it’s obvious that simplicity is the key for me this year. For a long time last year, I was struggling with managing the kids. I felt as if I’d lost the joy of mothering. I began to wonder how post partum can the onset of post natal depression be? Would say, 2 – 2.5 years seem unreasonable? 😀 The kids seemed to be constantly getting on my nerves, and I felt as if I was the grumpiest mother. Ever. Constantly.

I wasn’t having fun and no one was having fun. Or maybe it was because I made sure no one else was having fun. I’d kinda lost that (fun) loving feeling. Was it because I had too much on my plate? More children than hands? Trying to multi-task too many things?

No amount of “How not to shout at your kids” articles and Orange Rhino tips were helpful. I wanted to feel like I didn’t need to give them a shelling all the time, rather than the need and tips to calm down when I wasn’t. I was totally over the every-mother-needs-me-time mantra – sometimes it was even more work coordinating care takers in my absence or it would have to be throwing the kids to a few hours of TV just to have some me time, and on return it seemed like there would be even more mess to clean up than before I left.

But somehow I made it through those long dark days, and I can truly say that I have been really enjoying the days with the kids. It’s hard to say what exactly was the solution, and I wish there was a magic formula I could share with you, but I’m pretty sure that it was a confluence of so many factors, I still have trouble pin-pointing the answer.

I do think that there were a few turning points. Something like noticing that the angst rubbing off on the kids; constantly feeling guilty about not being the mother I thought they need; realising that the kids were acting out mostly because they were trying to get attention rather than just being difficult or naughty. Most of all, I wondered what if they lost me today? Or tomorrow? Or if I had only a week? A month? A year? There is still so much moulding for me to do, there is just no time wasting being grumpy.

So I laughed more, played more, kissed more, and hugged more. While still being firm, of course. I decluttered (and built some shelves, instant gratification!). I resolved to be their biggest fan. I decided meals would be as simple as possible (less stress!). I am now constantly finding ways to streamline everything so that I can give more to the kids.

And every night, even despite my annoyance with them (if any), we would say our night prayers, and we would be thankful for all the wonderful things that happened that day, as well as all their good qualities for the day, and ask for assistance in where they could improve. They seemed to love it and soon were looking forward to saying our night prayers!

I often try to recall what I read in Professor Zhou Hong’s Appreciating Your Child – that parents are like farmers. We sow the seeds and tend to them with water and soil, and we gently persuade them to grow in the way we would like to see them grow. We can do our best to make sure they are healthy in order to survive pests and disease, while keeping an eye out for such invasion. We can’t rush their growth, and we can’t make basil grow into mint or vice versa.

Life is full of ups and downs, and being a parent even more so. But if you ever feel like quitting this mothering job, wonder where the job satisfaction is, feel frustrated or suffocated, I cannot tell you what to do. But I wish you well and hope you get your mojo back soon.

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30 thoughts on “When you hate mothering (How I wanted to quit my job)

  1. That’s why I always think SAHM are awesome, for one I think I cannot do it and will be quitting my job maybe 1 month into it? LOL.

    Glad that you have come through, hope you have a good year ahead! 🙂

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  2. Oh hugs! Thank you thank you for being honest! I admit that the no yelling and Orange rhino thing didn’t work for me and there were times I hated this mothering thing (and then felt guilty for feeling this way). You are right, there is no magic formula. We just have to find what works for us. Thanks for the encouragement and I’m glad things seem better now!

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    1. Lol! I totally understand. Sometimes they love to climb all over and use you as monkey bars and it’s so physically trying! Other times they might be shouting so loudly I’m like ARGHhhhhhhh! Even though they are just playing.

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  3. Hey! You are not alone for sure! I am glad you found the joy again despite the gloomy days. I think we all do feel it for a period of time now and then. It’s normal yet it depresses us. Aren’t motherhood supposed to be fun and full of satisfaction? Without the bad days we’ll never appreciate the good days and motherhood is not easy. You are doing well, never doubt that 🙂

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  4. I feel like you’re writing about me! That’s exactly how I feel on so many days. Thanks for being so honest. Parenthood (motherhood) is not a walk in the park and not for the faint hearted. Once in a while, reading posts like this makes me feel that I’m not alone. That is a great encouragement. Glad that things are better for you now. Jia you! 🙂

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    1. I’m so glad to hear I’m not alone! I also wanted to share because it can often seem like everyone’s life is happy happy all the time, especially on social media! Jia you to you too 🙂

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  5. That was an honest post about an important theme, thank you! I am so happy to hear you’ve found the joy again!
    I know this sounds backwards and is not easy always to do but I find it that when I come home tired and get annoyed by also tired kids that are all over the place (=acting like kids) and I just feel like “give me 5 minutes of peace”, the one thing that helps is to put my own wish aside and start doing something with the kids. Even though I don’t feel like it and even there’d be thousand chores to do, if I start something simple with them, say a board game (doesn’t require a brain), life becomes more fun. And after a while I usually get a little break.
    I think I’m not talking about quite the same thing as you but still wanted to share my revelation 🙂 maybe ut would work for somebody else as well? And yes, simple meals all the way on week nights!

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    1. I totally get you! Thankfully/luckily I figured out that my kids are usually whiney or annoy each other when they are bored and aren’t well occupied, or they don’t have enough attention. Like yours, if I am really present with them, and give them 100%, they are more likely to run off and do their own thing peacefully!

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  6. I burst out laughing when you mentioned Orange Rhino! Almost everyday I get so annoyed with the kids I want to scream out of the window, “Orange Rhino you bulls****!” Is that what Orange Rhino advocates? To scream out of the windows instead of screaming at the kids? I need to scream or I’ll go crazy with pent up frustrations!

    But I guess that’s why I blog. I find writing very therapeutic. Even something that I was actually super angry over, once I start writing about it, it suddenly becomes funny.

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    1. Lol! So glad I’m not the only one who thinks it isn’t the best advice out there. If you cannot find a window/closet/whatever to scream into then jialat right?? Haha!!

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      1. on screaming…i was just telling my colleagues that the robotics side should build some funky helmet…for those moments, you wanna just bury your head into something, scream the HELL out and then, remove the helmet (TADA!) you’re a new woman!

        #justsaying

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      2. Lol interesting idea… But i think the goal should be to eliminate the urge to scream altogether, rather than channeling it somewhere else? Haha.

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      3. I’m only human THAT much within a span of 24 hours. but yes, i shall endeavour to be MORE human henceforth. Thanks for the reminder. LOL…

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  7. glad it’s gotten better for you. i often wonder how people with more than one kid manage because I”m already struggling like mad. I don’t even have the time/strength to grumble. When i have free moments, it’s either housework, catching up with her school schedule (homework, things to prepare etc) or just spacing out to regain my sanity.

    the only job i’d want to quit is my job though – i think i very much would like to be home. As u can see from the lack of blog posts from me….work + primary 1 is killing me already. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re doing a superb job.

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  8. I love this. So honest it’s refreshing and I can identify…can’t we all!? You have a great attitude and this served as a reminder to me of how important our job is. One of the greatest gifts for a child is a happy Mommy.

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