Is it harder to be a mom or a dad? It might not be a question that we have ever asked. We all know that parenting is not always simple and that there are moments when we feel very low. We think that we're on a parenting journey with our partner, whether we're married or not, and that we're in this together and not experiencing anything individually. We want to feel like we're a team, after all, because that's the kind of love and support system that we need (and that makes us a family).
But, of course, if we're a mom, there are many thoughts and emotions that we have that are different from what the father of our baby is going through. That's just the reality. And fathers have their own thoughts and find themselves in their own situations that are unique to them. It's interesting to take a look at the experience of being a mom and of being a dad and see that there are many things that are the same, but there are almost more things that are very different.
Here are 10 ways that being a mom is tough... and 10 ways that being a dad is actually harder.
20 Being A Mom: Identity Crisis
Many moms say that it's the best job that could ever exist (usually after lamenting sleep loss and other rough but common parts of the parenting experience).
The truth about being a mom is it really is your entire identity.
When responding to a question about the "biggest challenges" of being a mom, one woman posted on Reddit, "Finding time to do anything but be a mother. And sleep. Try to spend some time to focus on yourself for the first 8 years or so. Really try to set aside that time somehow. Get scheduled time alone, if you can."
One way that being a mom is tough is definitely having an identity outside of that. You love it so much but it's still the reality that you don't get time for yourself.
19 Being A Mom: The Struggle Is Real (At Least In The Beginning)
It's hard to be a mom in general and it's also really, really hard to be a new mom. It might not be something that people talk about all that often since everyone is so excited that you're going to have a baby. You might not feel comfortable sharing that you're having a difficult time.
"In general, I've found that being a mother has been a real struggle for me so far," wrote one mom on Reddit. She talked about not getting enough sleep and continued, "I miss my freedom, going outside (its -4 and super cold here so not really realistic to go for a walk), planning things. Right now I am just waiting for her to grow before I can really move on with my life. I didn't expect the transition to motherhood to be so hard." It may be tough to admit these things but many can relate.
18 Being A Mom: All About Bonding
As one mom wrote in The Huffington Post,
"I recently had another mom ask me if it was normal that she didn’t feel like she had bonded with her baby yet. Of course it's normal... we just don’t tell one another it is."
Bonding doesn't happen right away and yet it's not something that moms chat about, which makes it hard.
If we think about a friend or family member who had a baby before we did, they probably weren't super honest or real about the tough times. They posted pretty pictures on social media and told us that they were overjoyed but we might not have heard that they had to take a minute before they truly felt like they had bonded with their new baby.
17 Being A Mom: The Confusion Is The Worst
When you have a baby and it's your first kid, you don't have any idea what to do and that can be very confusing and difficult, as one mom wrote on Motherly.
Some people can admit when they need some pieces of advice or some help and others would rather do anything except that. It's absolutely common to feel like you don't know what to do when you've just had a baby. Many would probably agree that this is the worst part of being a new mom: just being so confused. Of course, as all moms can attest to, that feeling of confusion doesn't always go away. You always wonder if you're doing an okay job.
16 Being A Mom: This Common Trap
What do you think of when you picture a mom? Sure, you're a mom, but you might not see your own face. You might think of someone who looks perfect, with straight and brushed hair and lovely makeup and a fancy outfit, and someone who buys organic food and never lets even an inch of dust pile up in their house.
That's not the reality. You know it's not... and yet it can be hard to remember that.
Another hard thing about being a mom is wondering if you're like other moms.
As the website Healthy Living Mom says perfectly, "Comparison creeps in. You feel like you don’t measure up to all those moms that have it all together."
15 Being A Mom: Guilty Feelings
Mom guilt is a thing and we don't hear people talking about "dad guilt" in the same way.
Sure, we might assume that dads feel guilty if they go for a run in the morning before work or go grab a few beers with their friends before going home after work on a Friday evening... but do they really? If they do, we don't really hear about it. We definitely know that moms feel guilty for basically doing anything for themselves. They also feel guilty for the decisions that they make and always wonder if they're doing the right thing. It's a lot to handle on a daily basis.
14 Being A Mom: The Career Decision
It's possible that if you become a stay-at-home mom, you will wonder later on if you actually should have gone back to work after having your child. There is always the chance that you will feel like you did the wrong thing.
The fact that you could feel like you made the wrong choice is another hard part of being a mom.
You love your children and you know that you felt it was the right choice, but it's hard to make this decision and know that it's 100 percent the best one.
It's a very difficult and complicated subject.
13 Being A Mom: Worrywarts
Sure, dads can worry about their kids. We know that they love them. But moms worry... and they worry a lot.
As this mom says in The Huffington Post, "On top of the guilt we all feel at one time or another, we have to contend with that constant worrying that goes on in our mommy brains. First off, we worry that we don’t know what we’re doing. We probably don’t, but that’s okay. Then, we worry that we haven’t done all the caregiving responsibilities exactly the way we read about or were told to do. It’s never ending."
Who can't relate to that?!
12 Being A Mom: Goodbye, "Me Time"
"Me time" is difficult when we don't have a family yet. We struggle to find time for all of the parts of our lives and joke that we didn't watch the new season of our favorite show because "we just don't have any time."
And yet... well... that doesn't even come close to what happens when we have kids. As this mom says on Healthy Living Mom,
"Time to yourself? What’s that? Taking a shower is a luxury. If you can’t be clean you might as well be comfortable in your yoga pants."
This seems like the toughest thing about being a mom since it's not something that can change.
11 Being A Mom: No More Freedom
Our lives absolutely change when we become parents. We know that this will happen, we expect it, and we are okay with it. But at the same time, we're not. We have moments when we wonder about the things that we might be missing out on.
A mother writing on Scary Mommy talks about a loss of freedom. She says, "I’ll never get lost in the night like I did before my kids were born... My kids will always be clouding my judgment, shaping my decisions, deciding my night."
That's a hard thing about being a mom. We love being a mom but we can recognize this, too.
10 Being A Dad: Gender Norms And Cultural Expectations
A single dad shared his heartwarming (and very sad) story on Reddit: When his son was four years old, they said he had a cognitive impairment.
He doesn't have work/life balance as a dad without a partner and people still assume that it's his wife and the mom who is doing everything.
He wrote, "But yes, from seeking doctor's opinions, to communicating with educators, setting up play dates for my son (I'm a single male therefore I must be a criminal) to attending his plays at school, the most common statement I hear: "Your wife MUST work so hard! Your son is so well adjusted."
9 Being A Dad: Not-So-Great Expectations
Responding to a post on Quora about the toughest part of being a dad, one father commented that many people have not-so-great expectations. While moms are thought of as superhuman and everything that they do is celebrated, that's not what happens with dads.
They wrote,"Expectations for dads in modern society are still comically low. My wife can take all three kids and run errands all day while working, rescue a cat from a tree, save some orphans from a burning building, and change a flat tire on the way back from soccer practice without stopping the car and the world moves on like nothing happened. I take one kid out to a park for a mid-day stroll and get smiles and claps on the back like I just cured polio."
8 Being A Dad: A Practical Matter
Here's a reason that being a dad is harder than being a mom and it's a practical one:
There aren't any changing tables in men's public bathrooms.
This was brought up on Nc Register's blog and it is something that all fathers can relate to for sure. It's also probably something that most moms don't ever think about (well, unless their husband and the father of their baby has this experience and tells them about it). It's easy to assume that of course all bathrooms have changing tables since when you're a parent, you need to be able to change your baby. It's a shame that this isn't a universal thing.
7 Being A Dad: On Second Thought
"I think we as a society tend to view fathers as more of a 'luxury' than a necessity," wrote one dad on Reddit and it brings up an interesting point.
People think about moms first and foremost, and that could be a reason why it's harder to be a dad.
After all, we think of dads as people who go to work and moms are the ones who are really raising the kids, even though that isn't the way that many modern families and households look today. Dads should be thought of as more necessary for sure because we know how amazing and important it is to have a good one.
6 Being A Dad: Dads And Daughters
It can be tough to relate to having a daughter, especially a teenage daughter, a point that was made in a Reddit thread.
Every man who learns that his wife or partner is pregnant and they're having a girl wants to be the greatest father that he can be. He dreams about that and it's his main goal in life.
But he's also probably a bit nervous because he knows that there will be some things that he can't relate to as much as if he and his wife or partner were having a boy.
It's just the reality of the situation. And when she's in high school, he might feel far away from her, no matter how hard he tries to talk to her regularly and get to know her as she is now.
5 Being A Dad: It's Hard To Do This
Do we think of moms or dads as the ones who tell kids what is right and wrong and who deal with discipline? We know that both parents play a role here but we also probably think of dads as disciplinarians. It's just the way that we think of fathers in our society and culture.
One dad wrote on Family Maven that what is tough about being a dad is, "The joys of discipline. We all want our kids to do right and eventually enter the world as strong, responsible, and moral adults. We want to impart lessons and be respected, all while being able to have some sort of a friendship with our children when they are adults."
4 Being A Dad: Getting To The Point
The Washington Post published a story called "Why it's not easy to be a dad in a mom's world" and that seems to get right to the point.
Setting up a play date, talking to a teacher, buying food, making dinner, cleaning up all of the toys that seem to get everywhere in the house: We would think that moms do all of these things.
Dads do these things, too, and yet moms are always the focus of conversation.
It's definitely time to talk about dads in a more equal way because so many are amazing and do so much for their children.
3 Being A Dad: Stereotypes Galore
We know that there are stereotypes about moms, but there are also stereotypes about dads.
As The Globe And Mail put it so perfectly, "As the nature of fatherhood shifts with more men taking parental leave and staying at home outright, a discomfort festers, with "normal" dad behaviour often slotted into activities like hockey practice and bonding in the tool shed."
That is so true, right?! Of course dads don't have to take their kids to sports practice and it's totally possible for them to explore other hobbies with their kids. And yet we tend to associate men with sports and so-called manly things like that.
2 Being A Dad: No Assumptions, Please
According to Scary Mommy, there are many assumptions that people make about dads. It's never fair to assume certain things about people and yet we all do it when it comes to how we picture fathers.
People assume that dads aren't involved or are not great in the kitchen.
And that really sucks because we probably know dads who take their kids to doctor's appointments and never miss a recital or sports practice. These dads cook dinner most nights and clean the house and do laundry. It's never fun to have people act like they know what you're all about, and that's hard for dads to deal with.
1 Being A Dad: The Reality Of Being A SAHD
When it comes to what parent is going to stay home with the kids, we always assume it's the mom. The question of whether a woman is going to choose to stay home or go back to work is a popular one... and an intense one. It can be headache-inducing to even consider it.
If it's tough to be a dad (and we can tell that it definitely is), it's really hard to stay home with the kids and, oh yeah, you're their father. Being a stay-at-home dad is tough since no one really thinks that it's even a thing, as shared on Very Well Family.
At the end of the day, we know that it's hard to be a mom and a dad, and that no matter which parent you are, the journey is a challenge (and an amazing one, too).
Sources: Reddit.com, Huffingtonpost.com,