I Hate Being a Mother by Brenna Richart

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I hate being a mother.

When I saw the plus sign  in the window of the pregnancy test I started laughing.

Of course this is a mistake

was my first thought.

I’m pro choice, god damnit!

was my second thought.

I called Planned Parenthood to schedule my abortion

and I started to cry when the woman on the line told me what the procedure entailed.

I made the decision in less than five minutes.

 

I was going to become a mother.

 

My mother told me

“you are too young to have a baby,

but getting an abortion is a sin.”

My brother told me

“you better stop smoking pot.”

My father’s silent disappointment washed over me like rain.

My friends guessed before I even told them I was pregnant,

because of course I would be the one to have a baby

six months after graduating high school.

 

Already I hated being a mother.

 

I became a mom

because I knew I would be better than the one I had.

I became a mom

because I believed I could do a damn good job.

I became a mom

because it felt wrong not to.

But most of all,

I became a mom

because I loved that tiny little embryo right from the start.

 

When I woke up from my c-section,

I heard two nurses talking about how sad it was I was such a young mom.

“That poor child,”

they said.

I get the worst looks at the grocery store.

Someone asked me if I was old enough to have a child.

As if that’s a normal thing to ask someone.

At the park other mothers pretend like they don’t see me.

At my son’s school I watch as people look me up and down,

as if they are wondering how I came to exist in their snobby, iPad centered world.

Another mother said to me

“I know you like to do what you love,

but you need to start making real money.”

“Take a business class,”

she said,

“for your son,”

she said.

As if my entire world doesn’t revolve around my son already.

 

I hate being a mother.

 

I wake up at 7 and have to bribe my son to get out of bed.

He argues with me about what he wants for breakfast,

and points out how his dad makes better eggs than I do.

He argues with me about what he wants to wear that day,

how life just isn’t fair.

He whines about having to get his insulin shots,

He tells me you poked me too long…

He tells me, you never let me do anything…

He tells me

“I miss my dad.”

He gets on his bus at 8:04

 

I hate being a mother.

 

I get on my bus at 8:19.

I forgot my water bottle.

I forgot my gym shoes.

I forgot my textbook that fell to the floor in my exhaustion the night before.

I get to class disheveled and pissed off.

My classmates complain they are hung over.

They didn’t do their homework.

They are overwhelmed and

have to go to work after school.

I smile and listen.

The nurse calls me and tells me my son’s blood sugar is high,

that he is misbehaving.

My stomach churns with every word I hear.

 

I hate being a mother.

 

I get home at 2:45.

I pee and let the dog out.

I soak in the silence

and run my hands under cold water

as I breath in the ten sweet minutes of peace.

My phone goes off alerting me that my son’s bus is coming.

He had a bad day.

He hates doing homework.

He’d rather play at the park.

So would I.

 

But alas, we have to work on sight words.

Lllllike, ttttto, ddddo,

Watching him struggle to read is like

seeing your mother cry for the first time.

 

I hate being a mother.

 

I do my homework while he plays with his Legos.

My son tells me he misses me.

I tell him five more minutes.

I cook dinner while he watches Netflix.

I give insulin

and he cries and tells me he just wants to eat without shots,

like other kids.

He says,

“I wish I was normal.”

I say,

“Normal fucking sucks, man. But I hate this disease too.”

I hold him while he cries,

clinging to my pain and absorbing all of his.

 

I fucking hate being a mother.

 

We cuddle for bit and then bedtime comes too soon,

or not soon enough.

I floss his teeth, and his leftover food lands on my cheek.

He laughs, I laugh, we laugh.

We brush our teeth, and wash our faces.

I read him two stories and sing him two songs.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey,”

He asks for more books,

more songs and I say,

“Hell no, bro!”

He says,

“You never let me do anything!”

I say,

“I love you, stinker.”

 

I hate being a mother.

 

I kiss him goodnight and take my dog for a walk.

He is awake when I get back,

he says he’s thirsty,

he says his legs hurt,

he says his blood sugar is low.

He is lying.

I tell him to get his ass in bed or else.

 

I crumble on the couch.

I finish my homework,

and make his lunch, carbs counted, note written,

reminding him to be respectful

and kind to everyone he encounters.

I put away the leftovers,

eating the tofu and broccoli as I go.

I check his blood glucose while he sleeps;

he wakes up and screams at me.

 

I hate being a mother.

 

I am expected to love this job.

I am supposed to smile,

smile and

fucking smile some more.

I am supposed to stay optimistic, remain calm and have hope.

Even when my heart has been broken,

my dog has cancer and

my cat died six months ago.

I am supposed to stay optimistic,

even though I am alone every day,

even though I don’t know how to relax anymore,

even though I don’t know if rent and bills will be paid this month,

or if I will be sacrificing food and gas this week.

I am supposed to remain optimistic,

even when my friends don’t want to hang out

because I am stressed and exhausted all the time.

I am supposed to remain optimistic

when I am afraid my son will die from his chronic disease,

because,

“at least he’s alive,”

right?

As a woman,

doing it all and

remaining optimistic

is

expected

of

you.

 

My son is six.

Yesterday I asked him if I looked okay before we left the house.

He said,

“you’re cute and fun and I like how your head goes well with your body.”

He tells me that I am his favorite person,

that he loves me the most in all the world.

The feeling is mutual.

I love this boy.

I love the way his lips pucker when he sleeps,

and the way his eyes light up when he smiles.

I love the way he draws a balloon in each stick figures’ hand,

and the way he crawls into my lap and tells me,

“It’s okay mom,”

on the occasion I let my pain slip through my eyes.

I love the way he wraps his tiny arms around my neck.

I love every single particle that makes up my son.

And if I had the chance to turn back time,

I wouldn’t change a god damn thing.

 

But I hate being a mother.

Brenna is a full-time single mom and full-time student living in Seattle with her son, Lucas, a six-year-old type 1 diabetic obsessed with superheros. They love to bake, cuddle animals, dance to Dolly Parton, and read all the books.

39 Comments

on “I Hate Being a Mother by Brenna Richart
39 Comments on “I Hate Being a Mother by Brenna Richart
  1. You know I love you, Brenna. I see you at school and every moment you are there you are attentive and engaged, but always hyperaware that there is an extension of yourself out there to consider. You have thoughtful and genuine things to say that are intelligent beyond your years. You are brutally honest and, like the strong women you surround yourself with, you have intelligent and important things to say. You find the time and wherewithal to be human and educate while still mustering hope.

    I promise you, despite the challenges, you are exceeding the job description and kicking all kinds of ass. That goes for Lucas, too.

  2. I too never wanted to a be mom. I was told I’d never have kids, due to medical issues. I was on birth control to regulate my periods and I was twenty-one when I found out I was pregnant. After four years together, my partner decided he wasn’t ready to be a parent. He suggested an abortion, adoption, and some creative methods to ensure he wouldn’t have to be a parent. I made the choice to go it alone. I too had a son. I worked, went to school, did internships, and went home exhausted every night. I too faced the looks and comments from “real” parents. I was told how selfish I was to bring a child into this world without a father, and how my son would end up on drugs or in jail by his eighteenth birthday.

    My son is two months away from his eighteenth birthday. He’ll be graduating from a Performing and Visual Arts Academy where he takes all honors courses. It’s been a privilege to be his mother. I don’t regret a single sleepless night. Though, at the time, there more than a few tears spilled – his and mine. I guess I’m telling you this, because it gets so much better. Eventually the critics are silenced, and you end up with an amazing bond, because it is just the two of you. Good luck!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This brought tears to my eyes! To know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t live in endless joy of being a mother! Most days there are at least some parts of being a mother I hate, and I am so grateful for bedtime, that I think I’m an awful mother for hating some of it! You’ve just validated my experience- something much needed today! Thank you!

  4. Love your poem. I love my daughter. But I hate being a mom. Hardest job in the world. My daughter is the most difficult person I have ever met. And it is my job to mold her into a decent human being. Always feel like I am doing a terrible job, although I am contantly told otherwise. But love to hear someone else doing a good job but hating it all the same.

  5. Brenna! This poem is ripped right from my gut. I cried and cheered you. Join me in my Unwed Mother Agenda! Or a playdate. Let’s just get our six-year-old sons together for a Seattle playdate, okay? Seriously.

  6. “At the park other mothers pretend they don’t see me.”

    I hated this. I hated this so fucking much. And if my child pushed, or yelled, or acted out. . .”Such a shame. Maybe if she wasn’t so young she’d have a better handle on her child.”

    I hate being a mother.

  7. Thank you for this. My son is almost 4 and I’m also a single mom, full time student, and full time employee. This gave me strenth because, at least it’s not just me.

  8. Sometimes, being a mom really does SUCK! Sending love and strength to you young sister! You and your little man sound pretty freaking awesome!

  9. I love this, I had my oldest about a year after high school and got some of the same dumb comments from people. I hate it too some moments, but there’s so much to love <3

  10. Thank you for writing this. I too have a son who is the result of an unplanned pregnancy at a young age. He is my very favorite person just in the world. He is creative, empathetic and kind. I also hate motherhood. The cultural expectations are so great, and it’s so demanding and hard and the consequences of failure seem so great. But he fills my heart up, and also pisses me off so bad sometimes. I really related to everything you wrote, and I know it probably took some courage to write because there are those who want to silence us when we share these feelings.

  11. Hi Brenna,
    I was born to a teenage mother and she dealt with a lot of the things you talk about. This was back in 1960 so she was probably judged even more harshly. My mom was great, very mature and she took good care of me. I am proud of you though I don’t know you.
    Love,
    Dawn

  12. I’d say the same thing except….I love being a mother. My son is 5 and autistic and I wasn’t ready or old enough but I love it; even when I don’t think I can handle one more second.

  13. Yep. Feel you. Your awesome and so is the little booger eating kiddo your raising, like a champ! I am a new mom. I’m the ma-pa (the ma and the pa) OK..single mom (the stigma with those words..) I’m backpacking around Europe with my five month old. Who said I have to grow up?! As long as you can take care of you and yours. Do what makes you happy and let other people raised their own kids, not mine. But a big hoorah for interdependance! When my kid gets bigger I hope I’m as good of a mum as you. Thanks for sharing..all spectrums of the emotions. I’m with you.

  14. Thanks for that poem! You made me feel much better! I just found out I’m pregnant by someone I broke up with and really want nothing to do with at all. I guess I’m going to have to deal with him on some level, but he is not the kind of guy I would ever want to raise my child with. Very immature, materialistic and rude, not to mention he said that if I didn’t raise the baby with him, as a couple, that I’d “f*ck the kid up for life”, and should just have an abortion. I told him Obama was raised by a single mom, and I’ll do just fine.

  15. Hi Brenna! Your post reached Pennsylvania. My sfam (sista from another Mr.) came across it and tagged me in it posting about how it was so almost parallel to everything we often talk about.
    We are both single mothers, but in our 30′s. (BTW through your writing you remind me of me at that age.) I speak for both of us when I say, being a single mom SUCKS!!!!!!! But, our kids are great.
    For being so young and level-headed, I say I am proud of you. For being a good mother handling business and fighting the struggles I feel we are comrades.
    For the people who know you in Seattle I say, hang out and help out, don’t offer unless you’re going to do it, and if you’re going to do it, just go do it, it will be appreciated.
    keep doing what you’re doing. You’re going to be fine. I say this because I tell myself the same thing and yet I worry I am not, but that worry is poisonous, so I keep telling myself one foot in front of the other, and that even sucks.
    people without kids suck!
    people without kids who say you shouldn’t have kids, suck
    I wish I had a week or two or a month to myself to sleep and relax and go to work without the hassles
    I wish their dad wasn’t so selfish
    I hate being a mom too, but I wouldn’t trade or give it up for anything ever either.

  16. Pingback: hip mama | I Hate Being a Mother by Brenna Richart360 Haters | 360 Haters

  17. Dear Brenna,

    I would like to begin by completing your flawless style of writing. I was into your story from beginning to end. I felt the same way. My situation is different. I am 33 with my first baby and he’s six months tomorrow. I had no attachment to my pregnancy, gave birth via cesarean and no attachment to my baby after day 1. Eventually I realized I had PPD. Yes, I am receiving help. Pill daily and weekly therapy. Does it work? Sure. Much better than turning to friends/family. They will only judge you. Who needs that? Isn’t the hatred towards our motherhood enough to deal with? Let me tell you what I hated, EVERYTHING! !!!! I took my hate to another level with my resentment, frustration and regret. I unlike you, abused and neglected my son. His existence couldn’t erk me more. Often plagued by the though of him being better off with God. That is until today. My son fell off my bed while he was sleeping and i was cleaning. His crib? Waiting to be reassembled in the living room while I did so. When I heard my son fall and scream, I ran into the room expecting the worst! I grabbed my son and help him as he yelled and cried the cry of an unwanted scared child wondering what happened and where was his mother? His protector? Ohhh Brenna, my heart sank. And the feelings that rushed through me were real. I realized I could’ve lost my son. Or will I? After taking him to the emergency room, we were cleared after a few hours. With the bump on his forehead that represented more than failure but a new beginning. It was then, today, I love being a mother. I sprang into action as a caring mother would. I held my son as a caring mother would. Hearing we were going to be ok, man, was the best news of my life! I know my story goes without editing and may differ from your point, but in the end the lesson learned is key. Today God reminded me, so you hate being a mother, well I can take what I gave. If this angel isn’t wanted or needed, I can take him back. It was the clearest indication that I love being a mother. I love having my son. And from today forward, every time I hate or think I hate being a mother, I’ll think of today. The day I loved being a mother. The day I thanked Godfor my son and ask for forgiveness and help from here forward. Nothing will hurt more than losing your child. Be thankful, , grateful and mindful. All will end one day. Let’s love being a mother. Let’s love our angels. Let’s love more so that hate has little room to take. Best wishes Brenna! P.s, I love being a mom to my son…my angel…God first, all follows!

  18. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know both you and L for the last few years Brenna. Know that you are a great mother! You will persevere through it all. Diabetes adds a stress level to parenting that most people can’t even begin to understand. I can’t say that that part gets easier, seems there are just new things to worry about as my boys with their diabetes get older. Hopefully some new technology, treatment, or a cure will come, and relieve us of at least one parenting fear/worry that makes us hate being parents. :)

    Thank you for writing this! You’re doing a superhero’s job, and doing it well!

  19. I became a mama at 20. I heard the comments, the “you look too young…” and so on. I loved my first son fiercely and we are still close. It was hard. He broke my heart. He was everything that mattered in my life and brought me incomparable joy. I would advise anyone considering motherhood (as if that’s the path to motherhood for most of us) to wait. And yet I absolutely would not change a thing.

    Then I became a mother again at 41. I got the same looks for different reasons–now I was too old. Always the judgment of mothers. And I don’t think I am a better mother, but a different one. Some things are harder; some easier. I love this beautiful, also unplanned little being just as fiercely. I still hate myself when I have a bad morning and yell at my doe-eyed, dimple-armed toddler. I still can’t help wondering, some late nights (would I have written that novel? Can I still have the adventures I waited 20 years for now? What if….?) I still would not change a thing.

    Be gentle with yourselves and your beloveds.

    I’ve been wanting to subscribe, and after reading this, I just did :-)

  20. One more note…I’m also staunchly pro-choice. This should be irrelevant, except it’s striking to me how we tend to be painted in broad brush-strokes. Believing in the sacred right of a woman to control her own reproduction is not a predictor of her choices about motherhood. Perhaps it does make us more conscious mothers, but I don’t want to paint in broad brush strokes either.

  21. Damn, that was amazing. You and Lucas rock! Someone very close to me is Type 1, she’s a goddamn grown woman and still wrestles with her diabetes every day. Not only are you a single, young mom…you are also basically a pancreas.

  22. As I read this I felt like I was the author. I understand 100%. I have 2 children ages 15 & 13. My son (13) has been soooo difficult, not much longer after he turned 3. He is a constant problem at school(s). I am embarrassed and sad b/c I must be a terrible mother to have a son like this. I am so tired and stressed most of the time, always being called by his school to suspend him or worse.

    But I just keep going…. b/c what else am I supposed to do?? If I could turn back the clock I would not have had children. But I have to keep going. Thank you so much for writing this, now I understand I am not the only one.

  23. Tonight, while drinking a glass of wine & letting my two little ones burn out the last of their energy before bed, I googled “parents who hate being parents.” (I even googled for support groups ;-)) I came across a blog where a man confesses that he hates being a dad. He was just venting his frustration, but he got chewed to bits. I was so angry I posted some hateful words in his defense, even though I knew it wasn’t right. Then I came across your post. It’s beautiful! It is a perfect description of the situation. I wasn’t as young as you when I had mine, and God bless you, mine don’t have the illness you & yours have to deal with, but I understand the rest. Those other moms with their noses in the air probably feel the same too! You love those little faces so much! You can’t see your life without them, and yet the “job” of mother, you’re over it! It’s so conflicting, all the feelings conflicting. Thank you for your post, thank you for sharing!

  24. Thank u so much. I needed to hear this tonite. You have renewed my strength and patience to keep on encouraging my kids to read, something they hate and complain about constantly. They are nicely reading together now, victory!

  25. I sure hope you’re still writing because this is powerful and gripping. I felt like I was held in suspended animation, desperate to know how it all turned out. I immediately wanted to subscribe to your blog – and I don’t do that very often. So disappointed you don’t have one. Yet?

    You gotta keep writing, we need your voice out there.

    And, btw, you guys are just too freakin’ adorable.

  26. Unlike you and a lot of the people who commented, I was 26 and had been married 4 years when my son was born. I don’t know what it’s like to get stares in the store or have people make condescending remarks to me at the playground. However, I can totally related to what you’re saying and feeling. I think most people understand that being a single mother is hard, but in reality, being any kind of mother is hard. Being a little older or married doesn’t make the day to day any easier. There are days when I’m literally counting the minutes until it’s nap time or bed time because I’m just so mentally exhausted from having to deal with everything and then instead of unwinding, I have chores to do. Thank you for this post. I often feel like I must be a horrible mother for hating my life and it’s nice to know that other mothers experience the same feelings.

  27. More than anything I’ve ever hated in this world, it’s being a mother. I love my
    daughter but if I could go back and change it I ABSOLUTELY would. I dread coming home from work, I dread hearing those words “mama”. She’s 18 months old and a complete nightmare. I hate everything about it. I don’t want to, but I do.

  28. Thank you for writing this. Exhausted, confused, guilt ridden I just googled “I hate being a mom” after my 5 month old son fell asleep in my arms after a gut wrenching tantrum for most of the day. I’m glad I found this. Its been the most realistic take on mothering I’ve read so far. Im grateful I have a son of my own but it has been a struggle coming to terms with being a new mom. <——Understatement of the year. Thank you for this great piece.

  29. Brenna, you epitomize the brave mother. The world needs more with your caliber of strength. I have a feeling you’re onto something great. All the best to you and your son.

  30. You are amazing, this is amazing. This helped me so much. I’m not a mom yet, I have no idea what it’s really like but this is just so real. I have issues with my own mother. She was put into a situation like yours at a young age too, and as I grew older I could see that she didn’t want to be a mom just because I was a really intuitive kid and a really intuitive adult. I never blamed her, I always knew she loved me but I could always see the struggle on her face and I just know it was so hard on her. This poem just made it easier for me to understand, you’re beautiful and I love this. Good luck in your life.<3

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