It’s okay, we all regret having kids sometimes

by | Mar 1, 2018

At some stage (usually day #11 of the newborn stage), at some time (anytime), every mother – no matter how much she wanted to be a mother, no matter how much she loves being a mother, no matter – will regret having kids.

I mean, she might not want to admit that out loud. Or, like me, she might joke about it in a ha, ha, ha, ha sob kind of way. Or she might have buried it deep down where even she fears to go. But, I promise you, it’s there.

It comforts me a great deal to know that it’s there. Before I worked out that every single one of us feels this way sometimes, I used to think that mums who regret having kids were terrible, awful, unfit mothers. They were the kind of mums who didn’t deserve their kids in the first place. They were selfish. They were shameful. They were evil.

Now I know they’re just mums.

Which is a very good thing indeed, because I happen to know that I’m not terrible, awful, unfit, selfish, shameful or evil. I’m just a mum who sometimes finds motherhood deeply regrettable.

To occasionally* regret having kids, to regret the massive lifestyle change we opted in for, well that seems reasonable. I think it might even be a little bit healthy to feel that way sometimes.

Having kids changes everything. The way you feel about yourself, your partner, your friends, your parents, your siblings, your place in society, society itself, past choices, future choices, prospects… everything.

Threading together the us from before with the us that is now takes a very long time. Longer than our children’s childhood. Longer even than that.

So, it seems quite natural to sometimes wonder what might have been if our choices had been different. Especially when we’ve been parenting hard for weeks on end and we’re just so bullshit tired we could scream (and probably do). 

Or we’re lying awake with the worrying night after night, crushed by our need to get it right. To raise our kids right. To give them all the opportunities and dreams and experiences and wonder that they need, wish, want, expect, deserve. 

“I wish I was single,” we might think on a bad day.

Or “I wish I was married without children,” we might think on a good one.

We are momentarily taken by the idea of what might have been. If we were the sole beneficiary of all our worrying and wanting. If it was me, and only me, me, me, who consumed our every waking moment. If we dedicated our lives to lifting ourselves up the way we lift up our children.

Oh. What might have been. Oh.

“I wish I could just run away right now, I wish I was me at 20-years-old without a care in the world, I wish I didn’t have to, I wish I wasn’t a mother, I do.”

These feelings are quickly squashed. Banged flat by the vast emptiness that instantly engulfs us.  Squashed so quickly we’ve barely thought the thought at all.

But I want you to know that the thought was there. Fleeting, ephemeral, whispering, but there.

We all think it sometimes. We all regret having our kids sometimes. It’s just the way it is.

* I mean, not every day. If you feel like this every day, you do need to go talk to someone because that is most definitely not a good way to feel at all. Please, go talk to someone you trust or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Image by Tyler McRobert 

Written by Bron Maxabella

Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here. Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than seven years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?

We’re very social

More for you

How to help your child be more assertive

How to help your child be more assertive

My middle child is a shy one. She's full of beans and very outgoing when she is comfortable, but struggles when she doesn't know people well. In fact, I'd go so far to say that being asked to be more assertive with people she doesn't know is the very, very worst thing...

The parenting mistake we’re probably all guilty of making

The parenting mistake we’re probably all guilty of making

It's no doubt the #1 response parents make when they ask what they want for their kids in life: "I just want my child to be happy." “I just want my child to be happy.” We mean it wholeheartedly when we say it. Then we leave that happiness to chance. We talk to our...

My daughter is self harming and I’m so guilty and frightened

My daughter is self harming and I’m so guilty and frightened

Do you feel guilty all the time about the way you have raised your children? I have always felt so guilty from day one: I didn't give my kids enough of my time and I escaped to work as soon as I could, because mothering was so hard. Now my daughter is self harming,...

Affiliate links

From time to time Mumlyfe uses affiliate links.  It means that Mumlyfe may recieve a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchse using the link.  YOu can find out more about how it works here.

You may also like


Slow cooker butter chicken

Slow cooker butter chicken

You're going to love this slow cooker butter chicken. My kids love butter chicken but before we all decided that butter was a good thing (happy days), I used to panic at the thought of them eating it. It just sounds so… lardy. Then I discovered that butter chicken...

Are you neglecting the most powerful act of self-care?

Are you neglecting the most powerful act of self-care?

Many of us are (rightfully) focused on taking care of our health, eating nourishing whole foods and trying to be active … while meditating and flossing and taking some time of disconnection, away from devices. These are each a wonderful act of self-care, and they...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This