'Modern Family' Star Julie Bowen Makes Me Feel Normal for 'Hating' My Kids

Julie Bowen
Julie Bowen
Actress Julie Bowen plays mom Claire Dunphy on TV's best parenting show ever, Modern Family (count their recent Emmy stockpile if you doubt it), but she's also a mom in real life to three young boys -- one 4-year-old Oliver, and 2-year-old twins, John and Gus. In other words, Bowen is eyeball-deep in motherhood, and for this reason, I think I can trust that she knows a little about what she speaks when it comes to parenting.

As a big fan of moms who "keep it real" -- real-life moms and celebrity moms -- when it comes to motherhood, I must say Bowen's very real recent words about her kids came at the perfect time for me. No sooner had I texted, through tears, to my husband the worst words a mom could ever say, let alone, feel, than I came across Bowen's relatable description of her love/hate relationship with her kids. Ohmygod, I have that toooooooo ...


Our youngest son has taken to the shiny new glory of kindergarten in the most precious way -- with afterschool rage, anger, door slamming, and a whole torturous variety show of overtired tantrums. While he is doing just fine while in actual kindergarten, he's not doing so well with the transition on the homefront. Things got so bad recently, I texted my husband while sputtering big wet sobs: "I just don't like him at all right now." It's not a good feeling. At all. But these were my real feelings in the moment, and I think Julie Bowen does a good job at explaining the complexity of such feelings.

Julie Bowen told Us Weekly:

If I wasn't a mom, I think it'd be harder to understand what it is to live with a child and hate and love them all at once ... I love them so much. There's always this undercurrent of love, but there are moments when I really wouldn't mind if a giant hook just pulled them off the stage of my life! ... But if I wasn't a parent, I think that dichotomy would confuse me.

I've been here so many times before in parenthood, to the rocky, unfamiliar place between "I got this kid thing tapped!" and "Holy shit, who is this child?" Kids and their parents are in a constant state of flux, and for this reason, parenting demands, whether we like or not, ongoing adaptability and flexibility and an openness to change. We can try to resist, but it won't do us any good. And we can try not to dislike it (and them), but sometimes, we simply may not like our kids or having to be their parents in the most difficult hours. Of course, with some long, deep breaths (and a good text vent to our loved ones or friends), our deep love for our children will be the thing to lift us up again and give us the strength to walk through difficult times alongside them.

So once again, I found myself back at the beginning, talking myself down, reminding myself he's just a child learning how to live in this world, that he doesn't have words for all his feelings yet and also admitting and forgiving myself for not really knowing what the hell I'm doing all the time. I also tried to give myself a big giant break for forgetting, momentarily, what I do know (God, how I love this child ... ) and a pat on the back for being willing to relearn these lessons all over again.

Does Bowen's description of her love/hate relationship with her kids ring true to you?


Image via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

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