The Emotions of Motherhood


Forget night feeds, tantrums and potty training – my number one parenting struggle is trying to navigate the constantly conflicting emotions that any mum or dad faces every single day. This is the side of parenting that nobody warns you about, presumably because it is almost impossible to explain to non-parents.

You think you understand your emotions before you have children. Sometimes you’re happy, sometimes you’re excited, sometimes you’re sad and sometimes you’re angry. Simple, right? These emotional urges are what make us human beings. What IΒ didn’t realise was that the moment you become a parent all of those emotions are instantly magnified to a point that your pre-child self seems like a zen robot.

These little people possess the innate ability to take us from a bubble of love to a raging maniac to tears of overwhelm and back again, sometimes within the same 15 minute period. And this is exhausting. This is what makes parenting the most difficult job in the world, not just the physical or financial challenges you imagine before your baby arrives.

The best way to explain this is to give examples of the jarring emotional ride parents experience every single day.


You are jolted awake by your toddler’s shouts for toilet/drink/lost toy at 6.30am. After he has already been up half the night your body feels like a wreck and you are unable to open your eyes fully. You avoid your bedroom mirror in fear of the monster staring back at you as you stumble towards the door. The twelve hours before bedtime loom ahead of you and you wonder how you’ll ever make it without slipping unconscious.


Your wide awake child greets you with a big grin, a sloppy morning kiss and some amusing inane chatter, and you feel a rush of adoration and affection which helps to steady you for the day.


Your child takes ten minutes to pick a breakfast cereal, and once you’ve poured it he changes his mind. He insists on leaving the table no less than five times during the meal to use the potty. After a full breakfast he says he’s hungry and wants chocolate.


At his toddler class, your child gets fully involved with the tasks and is so funny and cute the other parents and class leader look on in awe. Your heart swells and you can’t stop grinning.


Your child has a nuclear grade meltdown on the bus because you won’t allow him to continuously press the bell. You hold back humiliated tears while he struggles in your arms and old ladies tut and stare.


If you have to do one more puzzle or build one more Lego house you’re convinced your brain will disintegrate. You only spoke to another adult two hours ago but it may as well be a week.


Your child empties every single puzzle box while you’ve nipped to the loo and has mixed up what took you two hours on Sunday to sort out. You tell him off and he flies into a rage requiring the naughty step which only exacerbates the issue until you have to give yourself a time out too.


He asks to snuggle with you to watch a movie and randomly kisses your cheek. You stroke his hair and think about how perfect he is.


Bath and bedtime story complete, your little one finally snuggles in bed and tells you he loves you. You close the door, release a satisfied sigh and turn on your favourite boxset.

None of these emotions alone are enough to break you but the rocketing combination and the way your mind is flung violently from one to another, in as little as a single day (or hour), is the epitome of the perfect emotional storm that we call parenting.

Fortunately, bedtime always comes. And with it,Β wine.

This post was originally written for The Huffington Post, please feel free to follow me over there by clicking here. Β 

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69 comments on “The Emotions of Motherhood

  1. I read this over at Huffington too and I completely agree. The overwhelming emotions is the part of motherhood I was least prepared for, I think. But guess it’s very hard to prepare as you can’t completely know until you are already experiencing it! Great post πŸ™‚

  2. wow you have captured it perfectly, and the roller coaster image sums it up! Fab post #coolmumclub linked up after you xx

  3. Could not agree more! They really know how to push each and every one of the buttons don’t they? It sounds like you really have your hands full. We’re just at the beginning of the toddler stage with our very head strong 15 month old. I foresee lots of highs & lows ahead but I’m glad to know we’re not alone!

  4. Oh you are so right! It’s certainly a roller-coaster ride, and it doesn’t stop when they’re not tots anymore! #coolmumclub

  5. Such a simple piece of writing, yet so beautifully articulates EXACTLY what parenting is like! I was in exhausted mode yesterday, followed by a morning of (mostly) boredom, followed by bouts of frustration, and an afternoon of love (with one small dinner on the floor episode of anger). Fab post x #coolmumclub

  6. oh what a lovely read – mine are teens now but I still get the array of emotions that are so hard to deal with – nothing prepares you for motherhood – bam and you’re thrown head first in! Emotion is good though and I always say imagine a world without it – how dull?! Great read #coolmumclub Happy Friday x

  7. Oh, I hear you I am there all the time I swing from wanting scream at her to bursting with pride in a heartbeat #KCACOLS

  8. Oh my goodness this is so true, frustration runs high in our household with a 3.5 year old! There is one other that I feel a lot of the time – guilt, working mum guilt, blogging guilt, I need 5 minutes to myself guilt πŸ™‚ thank you for joining us as #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week x

  9. Yes, yes, and yes…It’s a weird sickly combination of feelings that sometimes you can’t even identify how you feel at any one time. A lot of times, I have become so angry that I actually burst out laughing — I feel all sorts at anyone time. Lovely post! #anythinggoes

  10. I think you have pretty much summed this emotional rollercoster ride up in a nutshell. Yes know one ever tells you about this either and I think even if they did, you would only know what they meant once you actually experienced it first hand. Xx #KCACOLS

  11. You are completely right, being a parent is not easy and definitely is like a rollercoaster with ups and downs. We have good days and bad days. It would’ve been nice to get a manual when we had our kids to follow some instructions but unfortunately there is none out there so we have to figure it out on our own! Great post! Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! πŸ™‚ x

  12. Oh my goodness, you expressed that so beautifully. What a pleasure to read. When your family has overexcitabilities the emotional rollercoaster just keeps going as they grow into tweens and beyond. Luckily there are usually more ups than downs, and even on days when the balance isn’t quite so positive, that emotion that makes it all worth it – love – keeps me going. πŸ™‚

  13. This is so very true! I don’t think I was prepared for the emotional challenges of motherhood and then to top if off I became a single parent when my son was one. It took me a very long time to fight through the haze of emotional fog along with the shock of parenting. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done though, I love being a mum. Lovely post! Tor xxx

  14. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – it’s the sheer volume of ever-changing emotions all in such a short period of time that you can never possibly be prepared for pre-children. This post is pretty much perfect for #thetruthabout by the way πŸ™‚ Thanks for linking X

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