Parenting, the dark side – Like versus Love.

Let’s be clear, love is not like

Shevy from Moonsomnia with children

Being a mum is so difficult.

There is no manual; there is no textbook; there is no 30 days free return policy.

Then, there you are, suddenly mum (or dad) and baby. Get on with it.

I love my children, to the ends of the earth. In fact, I don’t know a mother who doesn’t (I know really decent people). I look at my children every day and watch them grow, spread their wings, look at how beautiful and how individual they are becoming… the light side of parenthood.

What is all too often not discussed and swept under the carpet as taboo is the dark side of parenting, the side that brings out the human being in all of us. The side that makes us question our parental capabilities.

Children playing in autumn leaves

Love versus Like.

Let’s be clear, love is not like. I can love someone with all of my heart: an inexplicable and immeasurable need to ensure somebody else’s happiness, wellbeing and safety. Love is putting someone else’s needs above your own without reason or explanation. I love my children and I would go to any extent to ensure that they have everything their little hearts desire (to my own detriment at times) as long as I possibly can.

Love is the intense, involuntary, incomparable and unconditional affection you feel for someone else and in this case, how I feel about my children: a feeling beyond words, beyond measure, beyond explanation.

Just because I love my children, doesn’t mean I always have to like them.

Children are only small human beings after all and humans CAN be annoying. Why would your own children be any different? When you put a group of unique and individual personalities into a small space for a prolonged period of time (18 years plus), there is bound to be some head butting – That was a description of a family unit and not a prison might I add, though at times not dissimilar.

I am the first to admit, with love, that there are times that I do not like my own children. This is not a permanent state of dislike, I am not going to reject their justification nor will I ignore them as a result of this dislike (if it can be helped) but all too often, mothers are expected to forget who they are as a human being and be the epitome of motherly perfection instead, I am sorry, I am just not that mum.

I know that I can love my children without actually liking them; the two feelings are not mutually exclusive.

I can almost feel the judgement as some people would read that line and wonder how can I say that about my own children, those perfect mums I’ve already mentioned included. Disliking my daughters when their actions are unlikeable is by no means a reflection of my love for them, nor is it a reflection of my ability as a parent to raise likeable human beings. Likeability is subjective, what I may consider to be likeable is highly likely to be annoying and offensive to most, so who am I to dictate to my children how they should or should not be when it comes to being socially accepted. In fact, through life they are going to encounter people who dislike them, colleagues who dislike them, mutual friends and romantic interests who dislike them. The way I see it, I am teaching them a valuable lesson:

Not EVERYONE will like you. Not everyone will like what you do, how you act, what you wear, what you say. This is not a bad thing, how boring the world would be if we all liked each other and had nothing to tweet about. I have accepted that there are a lot of people that do not like me (including my young human beings sometimes) and I have learned that this is a good thing, I no longer have to force myself to be around people who don’t appreciate all of me for me. They too deserve to learn this lesson.

Children looking at the locks on Bristol bridge

Behavioural dislike.

Unfortunately, dislike for your own children is likely to stem from behavioural concerns, this as they navigate the treacherous hormonal paths in front of them. No, I don’t like my six year old when she is bursting into tears every 5 minutes about unnecessary things. Nor do I like my eleven year old daughter when she is giving me a side eye and talking over me as she is being reprimanded for once again not doing something completely, so she may race back to her Snapchat story.

I am very fortunate in that these are normal behavioural changes for children of their ages, they are forming their own identities; they are being influenced by their peer groups and they are learning who they are and who they would like to be in this, a digital age. Just because these changes and moods are to be expected, doesn’t mean I have to like it – I am allowed to wear my own brat hat every now and again, no matter how many times I am told my children are well behaved and adjusted.

Social Expectation.


As a parent, it is very difficult not to feel like you are failing when you log into Instagram and see pictures of your friends’ happy, bubbly, posing children or when you go onto Facebook and the updates are only positive ones. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I myself am guilty of only pushing the positive online versus the negative, though I feel that this (Moonsomnia) is the right platform to look at the dark side (and sometimes light side) of parenting and start the conversation.

I feel that social media and society do create this expectation that we have to be this perfect mum above all else. Slowly but surely, we are getting to a point where we are pushing back; acknowledging that we are not actually mum’s first. We are human beings first and being a mum is one of the most important opportunities we have been gifted, it does not define who we are and we make mistakes, we don’t have perfect child-parent relationships (show me someone who does) and we are no longer afraid to talk about the darker elements of being a mum. It isn’t all daisies and roses.

Being a parent doesn’t come with a ‘HOW TO’ guide and we are all fumbling along the way, making mistakes and learning from each other. It is still foreign to me that stigma in this day and age is STILL A THING and there is a stigma attached to admitting that there are times you dislike your own child.

That doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you an honest one.

So the next time your child does something you don’t like, don’t be ashamed to admit to yourself that you genuinely didn’t like it. Don’t be ashamed to talk about it and remember, you are a human being with human emotions and robotic stamina: you are a SUPER MUM (or dad!).

I would love to hear about your dark parenting experiences, help me by commenting below so I don’t feel so alone…



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Author: Moonsomnia

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27 thoughts on “Parenting, the dark side – Like versus Love.”

  1. I can really see my self in your description here. To be a parent is not about being perfect. I’m so tired of the books and the social media telling you what’s correct and not. And ofc every mom or dad have days you wish you can return to sender. And it’s completely normal. We make mistakes and we need to let our kids make them as well. In today’s society kids can’t play outside like we used to do without us being bad parents for not watching them every second. We survived didn’t we? Why tell them what to do all the time? Kids today are more and more lazy and not independent…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yip… they can be very spoilt by the coddling we do as parents but ultimately, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I find that reminding myself that they’re human is the most important thing…


  2. What. A. Great. Post. Really. It’s almost like you have CCTV in my house. Not a week goes by without me having a row with my seven year old over something like this. And I always tell her afterwards that although I love her up to the sky and back again, right at that moment I don’t like her so best we don’t speak for a little while. I completely agree with you, it’s so hard sometimes when you look at other mums’ IG feeds with their adoring children but I always remind myself they’re not going to post the crap days, are they? Thank you for writing so honestly about this issue and for sharing it. Loved reading this X

    Lisa |

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your honesty in the post and this reminded of my relationship with my mom. She had me when she was 35 and now it’s just the two of us. Honesty has always been a big factor in our relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no! Not the spam folder for some reason I keep getting sent to the spam folder on other blogs too I don’t know why 😂 it’s like being sent to the naughty chair

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am not yet a parent but I’m excited to be one day and I think I’d be really similar to you, what does our life come to when we can’t be honest with the people we love about things we dislike that they do? And like you said, their relation to us is for the most part not relevant. I think you sound like a great mum and anyone who judges can shove it!
    Alice Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alice, honestly this comment has literally just made my day xx Thank you for saying that and I’ve no doubt when you get there, you too will be a great mum! It’s all about recognising honesty as you would in any relationship xx Thanks so much!


  5. I looove your honesty!!
    Although I’m not a parent and it’s totally not the same level but I can totally relate with my little sis.

    Someone’s deffo going to bug you at least once every so often haha!

    Shona Marie xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I want children (after doing a lot of work experience in schools I’m a little put off) however, if I ever did I think I’d be a lot like you! The honesty you express is incredible, and will benefit other mothers out there. You sound like a brilliant mum, keep doing you X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how honest this post is!
    Possibly a bit irrelevant but it got me thinking about the social media vs reality discussion – I feel you could be affected by seeing someone else’s fake reality of parenting online or on social media. It is so helpful to see information like this that explains the reality and why you the way you feel – Because it’s NORMAL!
    I’m not a parent but I do have a 5 year old sister who I help look after..doing so has definitely helped me establish the reality of parenting.

    Hayley | hayleyxmartin

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this so much! I love your honesty and exploration of love and like and honestly it made me appreciate my parents a lot more. Love really is risking it all for a person, and I hope that one day I’ll feel that way about my own children.
    Jas xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t like my son much these days and clearly favor my daughter even though i try really hard not to. I feel guilty bc I think he has ADHD and cant help it. But OMG is he a beast sometimes. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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