I hate parenting to the core.
I have two kids: a 4-year-old boy and an 11-month-old girl. I have wanted to be a father. So, don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. But the whole business of parenting is so intense and exasperating and exhausting that I literally sigh my deepest before I open the door to my house these days.
I embraced the birth of my first child. I remember sharing with my friends that I thought parenting ennobles my job because my salary would be used to raise another human being. There’s an added layer of purpose to my job.
But I soon came to dislike parenting with a vengeance. Obviously, I knew that my life would undergo several drastic changes, but I just wasn’t prepared for the way it would consume my days and nights and suck my time, energy and efforts.
I think the problem lies in that my wife and I have no support. My mother has passed on; I can’t possibly rely on my 80-year-old father to take care of his grandkids; and my parents-in-law are based overseas. So we have to undergo the daily grind alone. Every day.
How about a nanny or helper? I hear you ask. I don’t think my wife would entrust her kids in the hands of other people. I don’t want to raise something that is already a foregone conclusion and incur her displeasure.
So why am I so frustrated? I think parenting takes away my need for solitude and companionship without offering me anything in equal measure. All of a sudden, I have to give up my social life. I haven’t met my friends in months. I crave for night-out sessions, in which I can just stay out late to catch up with my friends.
I don’t have to be around people all the time. I’m perfectly fine signing up for seminars and workshops and attending them alone. I miss being exposed to people outside my usual realm of work and expanding my horizons. I hate that I have to rush home every week day after work because I need to pick up my kids from the childcare centre. I hate that I have to spend my weekends taking my boy to the indoor playground so that he can release his pent-up energies. In fact, right now I’m at the indoor playground. All I see around me are equally bored parents passing the time buried in their handphones. Since when did my activity-filled life turn out to be so mundane?
As for solitude, sometimes I feel the need to be alone and decompress and not have to engage with anyone. But parenting doesn’t allow me to do that. I need to feed food to a screaming baby (who wants her natto NOW!) and a talkative toddler who just talks non-stop. I yearn for peace and quiet desperately.
I find that parenting is akin to being trapped in an enclosed cage, where I cannot breathe in fresh air and have to sustain myself on the limited oxygen available. Prior to fatherhood, I had anticipated it to be similar to a terrarium. But nope, I just feel suffocated by the whole experience.
I don’t regret being a father. But every day, I ask myself why I am so unhappy even though I have two beautiful kids. I just want them to grow up quickly so that I can regain some semblance of my previous social life. I don’t like how parenting deprives me of everything else and denies me balance.
My workplace grants me access to a counsellor. Perhaps I should seek his services. Then again, the idea of spending an hour to talk about parenting (as opposed to sipping a nice cup of coffee before I go home) doesn’t quite appeal to me. I guess I will monitor my mental well-being and see how things go.
Thank you for reading my rant. I like that this site provides me a safe space to share my deepest, darkest thoughts.