I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother



“Mom mom mom mom mom mom…”

Fingers press beneath the door and bodies bash against the wall near it. A few seconds of proximity results in my four boys turning to their neighbors in frustration.

“Don’t shove!”


“I didn’t; you did!”

They all seem surprised when their goal, Mom in the now-unlocked door, stands before their wrestling pile. Written over most of their faces is confusion. Why is her face red? Why does she look sad? Was Mom crying?

Their confusion is warranted. I live in a nice house, am able to be the stay-at-home parent, and have access to health care, good food, and kind neighbors. My family lives close enough to visit occasionally. I even finished reading a novel sometime this year.

As my husband also confusedly wonders, “Why is Mom sad?”

I’ll tell you: I didn’t want to be a mother.

I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be an engineer. Heck, I wanted to be a fairy. My wants and desires and future goals changed as I grew, morphing as my interests and aptitude emerged; as my exposure to reality and opportunities increased.

Really, the only consistent life goal I had was to never do housework again.

-Which is depressing enough in itself that I am now the primary housekeeper around here.

But the real rub is what I wanted to do; to be. I did not want to only be a mother. Perhaps I didn’t expect to attract someone with my mediocre appearances. Perhaps I thought motherhood was only dishes and laundry. Perhaps I saw women tied to the occupation as somewhat brainless and clueless; those tied to real occupations were intelligent, impressive, talented, and noteworthy.

I mean, how many quotes from just mothers do we read in school? How many do we post as uplifting messages on walls or social media?

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted prestige. I wanted my daily tasks to be laudable ones, not unseen ones. I wanted I wante I want….

Why is Mom sad?

Because, years ago, a tiny infant began growing inside me. He came out, squawking and gasping and clawing at the world. In his first, completely helpless month I had to make a life-altering decision: live for me or live for him.

I chose to live for him. To live for my husband, who wanted more of them. To live for the more of them that came after.

I had to.

Because if I had chosen to live for myself, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.

So, Mom is sad. Mom is depressed. But, they have a mom. That’s what’s important, right?



Sunday, September 15: “We Don’t Point Guns at People,” my brief discussion about the realities of boy children and our realistic rules.

Monday, September 16: Wrote a poem titled, “Happy Hour of Parenting.”

Tuesday, September 17: Shared a funny meme.

Wednesday, September 18: Plated a dinner tip involving butter.

Thursday, September 19: “This Space Reserved for Fetus,” a snippet concerning baby movement during pregnancy.

Friday, September 20: Shared Dude-Bro Dad‘s tweet about picky toddlers.

Saturday, September 21: Had no advice in “I Have No Advice.”

Sunday, September 22: That’s today!


Photo Credit: Zach Lucero


©2019 Chelsea Owens


27 thoughts on “I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother

      1. Just because a woman works outside the home does not mean children will be screwed up. Some are screwed up because their mom’s don’t go to work.

        There are ways and sacrifices! You are writing, and I assume thus is what you want to do and you are not doing it to please your husband (as in bearing and caring for children).

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This hits particularly close to home for me. When I had my first, I was a graduate student with big plans. I still have big plans, but there are also two little kids who need me. Sometimes it’s hard to live for them, but we wouldn’t be the first moms to give up our lives in order to raise the next generation. Besides, I look forward to when they’re out of the house and I can finally breathe without smelling someone’s burp or fart in my face.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It always seems like an unfair waiting game for parents. I see a lot of grandparents who thought they would have time suddenly turn around to find grandkids getting into everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Or tell your kids what my mom told me: “I will not raise your kids. That’s you’re job.” She’s now a happy once in a while babysitter when given ample notice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you 100%. I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to travel. I was I thrill seeker and loved to snowboard, fly in trick planes, see how far I could go to the edge without falling off.
    Now I’m mom.
    And the biggest thing for me is that when people tell me that mothering shouldn’t stop me from my dreams, it’s they who have their reality warped, not mine.
    What child wants to wake up one day motherless because mommy went snowboarding and fell off a thirty foot cliff? Where would I get money and time to go med school, not to mention when would I study?

    I agree. We give up some dreams for these little people who hold our hearts (yet we hold on to others…one day I WILL travel again, I STILL write, etc). There is no love like the sacrificial love of a mother. There’s so much beauty in it, but, also pain. I loved this post. It connected with me deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather, I think we’re really twins separated at birth. 😀

      What you’ve added onto the dreams is exactly what I feel. My own husband says things like you have, about how I can still do what I want even though I’m still a mother.

      Heck, I can’t even get my blogging done because one of them just called that he left something home and another already needed his project brought separately to school.

      I’d always wanted to try sky-diving -though mine was merely for sport- and now feel I couldn’t because of the risk. I thought I’d travel. I thought I’d do SOMETHING.

      Like you said (again), it’s not that the kids stop me. I stop myself because I need to be more responsible for their sake.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How I feel exactly! And yes… I’ve been working on a single blog post for five days now. Just keep. On. Getting. Interrupted.
        Gah!!! My son is calling again! Better get out of the bathroom 😜

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This dad gets this so much. I wanted to climb all the mountains in the UK. Before I was a Dad I was into the hundreds. In the last 12 years I’ve managed 3 small ones. No sign of that changing in the next few years. You shouldn’t feel bad about feeling this way. You have so much on and so little time for yourself. I really hope you get some time to live a little. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gary. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot of it is having the more challenging kids as well. We KNOW they will always need care and love them; yet there’s this part that is dying inside of us…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes that is a key consideration. It was initially reassuring to have the thought that yes it would be all in parenting until they get to somewhere between 15 and 18 then independence would start to kick in. Then I could attack the mountains again. But deep down I know that’s probably a pipe dream. Son will probably need me for much longer. So need to find some way of looking after him and also sort of looking after me. No idea how that works though. You are the same. So I get the why is that lucky parent so depressed bit. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It feels good for someone else to give voice to thoughts like these. Motherhood has taken away many of my dreams, but also fulfilled me in a special way. I think part of the problem is growing up with some amount of disillusionment. Here’s an old post with my two cents on the topic: https://littlemomentmeditations.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/its-not-what-you-do-its-how-you-do-it/

    And by the way…I’m so glad I found this blog! From what I see you are having an impact, even though you may not always realize it. Your writing is so good I shake at the thought of you reading mine. 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry for just getting back to you. What a complimentary comment. Thank you. 🙂

      I will definitely read what you wrote! This has been an issue for a long time for me, and I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t find much fulfillment in it at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

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