— Ask a Mom (Who Is Not Your Mom)

15 moms tell us the hardest part about having kids

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No matter how ready you are to be a mom, having a baby is an undeniably earth-shattering, life-changing experience. Even though motherhood comes with so many joyful, incredible moments, it’s ok to admit as a mom that raising children is so hard.

On Mother’s Day, we celebrate moms for all they do — big and small — each and every day. So we wanted to get the scoop straight from them directly. We chatted with some real moms out there, who tell us the hardest thing about being a parent, and their responses range from heartfelt to hilarious.

Whether it’s a mom who welcomed their babies into the world a week ago (aw!) or a mom with grown-up children, they all agreed on one thing: raising children is tough. But their pearls of wisdom will remind all you moms out there are not alone—there are plenty of fellow mamas who know what you’re going through.

Jenny, 30

“I think the hardest part about having kids is recognizing you don’t have all the answers and limiting how guilty you can feel about choices you feel you have to make as a mom, wife, and woman. I struggled with infertility for 5+ years and finally being able to have my son was a huge blessing, and I suffered from postpartum depression. But allowing myself not to feel guilty about every decision I make has been complicated.”

Cathy, 54

“The hardest part is having your child go through something you can do nothing about.”

Krista, 29

“The hardest part of having a kid (so far!) is not projecting my adult sense of what should hurt and what is wrong and what is bad onto her. Letting your child learn for themselves what they do and don’t like is rewarding but so hard sometimes! My newborn got her first shots and I couldn’t even watch it happen but she was totally unfazed.”

Jill, 33

“My baby is a week old, so the hardest part so far has been pushing her out of my vagina.”

Bernadette, 40

“The hardest thing I have found with being a mother is stopping and thinking before reacting to situations, as my children are in their twenties now and their problems seem to get bigger and bigger. I just need to take the time to listen and support.”

Amanda, 25

“I think the hardest part about having children is actually figuring what’s best for them and your family. There’s so much conflicting information out there, it is so easy to become overwhelmed. And then there’s [my] extreme morning sickness. It has put a serious damper in our family planning because I can’t imagine taking care of my child, while trying to stay alive and grow a second or even a third child.”

Katie, 28

“I think it’s deciding how much we shield our kids versus what we teach them. As a parent, you want to maintain their innocence as long as possible. You want to teach them to be good people, be kind, contribute, love, be happy. You also need to listen to your gut when it says something is wrong. It’s difficult to find a balance between preparing them for life but not scaring them into being afraid of everything. ‘Parenting’ is the hardest part of having children.”

Jessica, 38

“Fear and lack of sleep!”

Kristen, 40

“I think that two of the hardest things about raising kids is knowing when to give them freedom to make their own choices even, and remembering to live a life that is not only about them. It’s really hard to take the time you need to continue to grow and be happy as your own person and not just as their mom.”

Laurie, 65

“Each generation of parents has more than the the last. We want to give our children things we didn’t have ourselves growing up, such as travel, gifts, adventures, dance lessons. It is difficult not to create a sense of ‘entitlement’ in a child as they mature into a young adult. Parents need to prepare their children for the real world.”

Cindy, 62

“I am always wanting them to be happy…and when they are not, I am not.”

Mary Ellen, 55

“The hardest part of parenting was giving them — little by little — the freedom to go out and live their own lives. Letting go and hoping I instilled all the good basic skills for them to be mature adults.”

Sarah, 45

“The hardest thing about having kids is that each stage goes by so fast. You don’t realize that you should appreciate all the moments, even the rushing around to day-to-day activities. People tell you it goes by fast and it really, really does.”

Elizabeth, 39

“Having kids is like doing laundry. You know that feeling you get when everything is clean, folded and put away? Well, at the end of the day when the kids are in bed and FINALLY asleep you sit down with a smug grin and think to yourself, ‘Yes! I did it. I freakin’ rock!’ Then your smug look quickly melts to one of horror as you realize that it wasn’t a one shot deal. You will have to do it all over again tomorrow and the next day.”

Carrie, 34

“For me the hardest part is seeing them struggle with something and not being able to help. Having four boys in my house, there is always some sort of battle. Nerf fights, water fights, video game battles, food fights, mud fights, sports fights, wrestling matches…it’s loud.”

Leslie, 50

“Having a child when I was almost 46 and doing it alone has had its challenges but his first year was the toughest for me. Getting used to a new life which was much less active at that point was tough. Friends and family sometimes judge my decisions. Learning to politely tell them back off has been a steep learning curve.”

Take it from these moms — there’s no rule book when it comes to parenting, and that is tough. But it’s a truly rewarding job, and every mom out there gets a round of applause from us!

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