4 Tiny Changes To Make When You Suddenly Hate Parenting

How to live through and move past your worst parenting moments.

Last updated on Jun 11, 2024

Woman finding parenting disappointing while trying to relax on beach Kyryl Gorlov's Images | Canva

What happens when this joyous thing called parenting is disappointing? Is this too taboo to discuss? 

Whether you have a newborn who is screaming all night or a 40-year-old adult child living downstairs, there comes a point (well, many of them maybe) when a parent thinks, "Wait ... this sucks! I hate parenting."

Before you get offended, let me acknowledge that talking about the not-so-great parts of parenting does not in any way negate the amazing, heartwarming, life-changing miracle that parenting is. Parenting is a miracle. But, sometimes, it's also truly disappointing.


So, let's be real, mom-to-mom (or mom-to-dad). 

Three ways to respond when you suddenly hate parenting

1. Pause and name one thing you like

When you're having those super-bad days and you want to know where you can go throw in the towel, stop, take a deep, slow breath, and try to find one thing that is good right now about your kid at this moment.

@fhknnkilluhh Im just on my phone and she still offers what shes eating 🫶🏻 & then she bit the last one to give me the other half!! I love my babies🤍 #nerds #mylove #daughter #momsoftiktok #fyp #viral ♬ original sound - fhknnkilluhh

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2. Choose to look inward

Often, when we feel disappointed, it's not our kids we are disappointed in, but ourselves. When they do the wild things they sometimes do, it reflects on us. This can cause us to feel disappointed in our perceived failure to transform this ball of potential into a fully functioning productive member of society. 

On top of that, we're scared. Sometimes I actually tell my teenage son, "I'm not disappointed in you. You are awesome. I'm disappointed in me." (Don't try this with a toddler. It won't work.)

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3. Embrace the 'holes' in your net

The good news is that you don't have to be perfect. Good enough parents create amazing adults! I envision parenting as creating a net. A fully functioning net is comprised of what? Holes.

Happy family no longer absolutely hates parenting NDAB Creativity via Shutterstock

Even the best parents inadvertently create some emotional holes in our children because we're only human. Those holes give our children the opportunity to build strength, which is a necessary quality in a functioning adult.A net without holes is not functional. What that means is there is grace for our mistakes. We all make them and we will learn and our children will grow from them. 


Often, parents take on way too much guilt which, of course, only further impedes our good parenting moments. We are never off the hook as parents but that doesn't mean we are destined to a life of guilt, guilt, and guilt.

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Dr. Zoe Shaw is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert with over 20 years of experience who consults with clients from all over the world. She has been featured in Recover Today, Weight Watchers, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes, Vox and more.