Moms Parenting

7 Emotions Every Parent Feels At Some Point

7 emotions every parent feels
Explore the emotional rollercoaster of parenthood, identifying seven universal emotions parents experience, including confusion, rage, joy, fear, pride, grief, and unconditional love.

Whether you’ve just found out you’re expecting your first child or your children have reached adulthood, you’re on the rollercoaster called parenthood. Strap on your safety belt because it will absolutely be a bumpy ride. There are days you’ll be crying and days you can’t wipe the smile off your face. Through the sleepless nights and the quiet, unbelievable feelings of contentment, you’ll know deep in your heart that you’d never trade a minute of this amazing journey for anything.

While everyone’s parenting experience is different, there are seven emotions every parent will feel at some part of their journey.


This one can strike out of nowhere when you least expect it. I still remember vividly the first time my son had a serious bout of diarrhea and vomiting when he was a baby.

I couldn’t comprehend how such a tiny person was making such a monster-sized mess. The diaper blowouts were insane, going up his back and down to his feet. The projectile vomiting was reminiscent of a scene from The Exorcist. Through the tears, I kept asking, “How is this happening?” and “Where is all this coming from?”


Not to be confused with mere anger, another emotion, rage, is one of the most unpleasant emotions you’ll experience as a parent. Even the most even-keeled, kind-hearted person will feel vengeful rage coursing through their veins when someone wrongs or hurts their child.

Maybe it’s when your child is bullied by his or her classmates or when other parents make unkind remarks about your child’s ability at sporting events. At some point, someone is going to say something that makes your blood boil. Your child is the most precious person in the world to you, so when you feel like someone is attacking them, your claws will come out. Take a deep breath and realize there are always going to be rude people in the world.

For me, the rage often happened during my kids’ junior high years when other kids were at their worst. Dealing with mean girls in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade is never easy – even as an adult. Show your child some extra love during these rough years, and show yourself some compassion as well.


On the flip side of rage, you’ll also feel pure joy – and that will far outweigh the number of times you feel angry. Sometimes it will strike during those quiet moments when you’re cuddling your baby late at night and realize everything feels right in the universe when it’s just the two of you in a safe, warm home. Other times, you’ll feel intense joy when you watch your child make a new friend or learn something new.

Watching your children have those moments where you know they are so happy will fill you with unbelievable joy.


Another one of those emotions is fear. When you’re a parent, it feels like your heart is outside of your body, walking around with your child. No matter where your child is, your heart is always with them. When they’re sad, you’re sad; when they’re hurting, you’re hurting.

You’ll live in constant fear of them being hurt, both emotionally and physically. For your own sanity, you have to realize you can’t always protect them. All you can do is teach them well. Whether it’s self-defense classes, conversations about protecting their personal health, or teaching them ways to deal with stress or mental health issues, you’ll feel better if you’ve raised strong, resilient kids who know how to take care of themselves. So instead of dwelling on fear and worry, make a plan to teach them everything they need to know.


You’re going to feel this emotion at so many points in your child’s development, and it’s something that is best shared with your child’s other parent, if possible. They’re the only ones who will realize how excited you are, and they’re the only ones who will truly understand what you’re feeling.

Milestones like watching your child take their first step as they learn to walk are so thrilling for a parent. Even though you know logically that every child accomplishes that first step, you’ll be unbelievably proud of your baby.

If your child gets an A on their report card, you’ll beam with pride as you excitedly tell everyone how smart your child is. A game-winning point scored by your child will result in you repeatedly reenacting the moment for anyone who will listen. In short, you’ll bore everyone a little with your lack of conversation skills. But that’s okay; if they’re a parent, too, they’ll get it.


Your heart will break a million times as a parent. Sometimes the grief you feel will be small, and sometimes you may feel like you’ll never stop crying.

For me, the source of most of the grief has been the realization that someday I won’t be with my children. My oldest child will head off to college in three short months, and my youngest is only two years behind him. The idea of an empty nest has caused me grief since the day they were born. I remember thinking at my son’s first birthday party that time needed to slow down. That first year went so quickly, and each year has been a blur since then. All the dread and grief leading up to the empty nest has been heartbreaking, but every parent must go through it as their child reaches adulthood.

You’ve prepared them well, and now it’s time for them to show you and the world what they’ve learned. Hopefully, you’ve forged strong ties, taught them well, and they’ll continue to want you as a steady presence in their lives. Even if they do, things won’t be quite the same once your child moves out on their own – and that’s a heartbreaking notion.

Unconditional Love

You’ve likely known love before the day your child arrived in your life. This is one of the greatest of all the emotions listed. But I promise you, when you have a child, you’ll instantly realize you’ve never felt love this intense, this pure before. While you won’t agree with every decision your child makes or every action they take, your love for them will never, ever waver. It will burn just as bright decades from now as it does right now.

I’ve been a parent for almost 18 years, and every day, I think about how lucky I am, and I continue to marvel at how fiercely I love my children. You will, too, and you’ll learn to deal with all the emotions that come along with parenting because you will cherish the privilege of being your child’s parent.

Shannon Serpette on LinkedinShannon Serpette on Twitter
Shannon Serpette

Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She spends her days writing, hanging out with her kids and husband, and squeezing in her favorite hobby, metal detecting, whenever she can. Serpette can be reached at

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