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Why It’s Okay For Moms To Hate Parenting

I used to make the joke that my husband talked me into having children.  I’ve since stopped, realizing it was not that much of a joke, nor was it terribly funny.  Having children wasn’t something I dreamed about nor longed to do.  In fact, I used to try to talk my husband out of it.  Now it’s something I study passionately – I’ll even throw down a Brenewholeheartedly” here –  both for my and my family’s well-being, and for my work.

Though I’ve immersed myself into the practice, (accent on “practice”), of parenting, and parenting mindfully, it’s not something I frequently like.  When I break down the typical day in my house, there are quite a few parts of it that rank pretty high on the list of things I don’t enjoy.  I don’t enjoy watching my alarm clock lay unused.  I don’t enjoy awakening to the sound of toys smashing into the walls.   I don’t enjoy answering questions at six in the morning.  I don’t enjoy fights about who gets the juice first or who sits next to the faucet in the tub.  I don’t enjoy that I’ve lived out the cliché of threatening and delivering on pulling the car over in hopes of more peaceful drives.  I don’t always enjoy observing how much I’ve forgotten from school.  I don’t enjoy that many, very, extremely small things turn into hugely, seemingly insurmountably large things.  But, mostly, and much, much more impactful, is that I don’t enjoy that I feel this way about having kids.

It’s not often said that we might find ourselves hating something society tells us we’re only supposed to love.  When my feelings of dislike, anger, hatred and resentment towards my children arise, they serve as further “proof”, to coin a term from my therapist, that I’m unfit as a mother.  To work with my feelings and my reactions to my feelings, he instructs me to instead “give myself permission” to feel the hatred, to feel the anger.  Hearing that these feelings are okay, and I am okay, frees me from feeling like a failure.  It also reminds me of one of the core teachings of meditation. Those things we try to stuff into our deepest pockets, and closets, and let no one see ever, because we must always be portrait-like in mind and body are actually (gasp) okay.

When I am able to let my hatred rise and fall, instead of stifling it, I am able to also see clearly the moments I am not hating.  So in the spirit of celebrating all feelings, I offer deep gratitude to my children; thank you for bringing the Coney Island Cyclone daily to our home on the Jersey Shore, for pushing me to the point of raising my voice and then non-judgmentally reminding me I’ve done so, for knowing instantly when I desperately need and least want a hug, for sharing my humor and offering me yours, for pushing me to question my habitual patterns, for making the impossible possible, for reggae dancing in the middle of restaurants, for redefining hard, and for constantly delivering beauty in ways wilder than I dream.   To all of my teachers, big and small, near and far, for guiding me to the place of okay, I thank you. ~Karma Mamma

This is an accompaniment to a video on my blog. You can view it here

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