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The Harsh Realities of Parenting (and What We Can Do About It)

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Television is really good at painting parenting in this beautiful light where all of your problems can be solved in 30 minutes or less and life with kids can be a quirky good time. As parents/caregivers, we know that’s not true. They can test our toughest side without even trying.

Let’s talk about the realities of parenting, though. It’s hard, it doesn’t always feel good, and some days we want to hide under a rock and pretend we can’t hear our names being called 100x. Here are some ways raising kids can really just plain suck and what to do about it.

Their emotions are inconvenient to our schedules.

Have you ever tried to get out the door only to stop everything because they couldn’t find the right color socks or their hair didn’t come out the way they wanted? So often, we have to put our lives on hold to cater to the “little” problems that come with big emotions. This can be inconvenient if we’re trying to get to work or have them in bed at a specific time.

Some things to try:

  • Start your routines or transitions a little earlier, leaving enough time for them to have their moments.

  • Establish a routine to create predictability in their schedules.

  • Let them make some decisions for themselves. When they feel empowered to take responsibility, they are more inclined to do the right thing.

We don’t want to be the grown-up all the time.

Some days I know I want to throw a fit when I don’t get my way. Just throw things around or kick my feet and scream at the top of my lungs. I know I’m not the only one, right? We also might find ourselves arguing back and forth in a petty argument where we are supposed to be the mature ones. It is hard to do but is an essential part of showing our kids the behaviors we want to see from them.

Some things to try:

  • Give yourself a break (even if it is for 10 minutes).

  • Let them know you need space before continuing a conversation.

  • Practice mindfulness to keep yourself in the present moment.

Kids can be jerks sometimes.

They can be downright mean in their brutal honesty and hurtful fits of rage. They also like to point out issues like your breath smelling bad, your stomach being squishy, or your hair being a mess. They don’t mean to be hurtful, but their words can sting.

Some things to try:

  • Let them know how their words can affect other people.

  • Evaluate if they are really being mean or if the truth just hurts.

  • Help them see that everyone is different, and we do not always have to call out those differences.

Being a parent is for the birds.

Some days you just do not want to do it! Parenting can really have you questioning your sanity and whether you made the right choice to have children. Is this really for me? Was I meant to be the one to have them? What did I get myself into?!

Some things to try:

  • Start a gratitude journal to keep track of the positive parts of your parenting journey.

  • Give yourself some alone time to refresh your mind.

  • Remember that you were chosen to be their parent and are the perfect person for them.

Some days you just cannot handle someone else’s feelings.

You have your own emotional challenges—whether you are having an emotional moment or an ongoing mental health issue—and having to switch gears quickly to cater to a child can be exhausting. It is essential to take care of yourself to be your best for your kids.

Some things to try:

  • Practice mindfulness or yoga with your kids and by yourself.

  • Create a supportive network to help with the kids.

  • Get into therapy. Your therapist will create a treatment plan and talk you through goals to address issues impacting your mental health. To find a quality therapist in your area, start here:

Bottom Line

We often feel like we are alone in these feelings or like something is wrong with us for feeling this way. You are allowed to want alone time. You are allowed to be annoyed by the people you love so much. Your mental health is essential. Give yourself time to do something just for yourself (even if that means sitting in a dark closet in silence for five minutes).

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