I’m Not A Bad Mom

It turns out all the reasons that you think you're a bad mom just mean you're totally, completely, 100% normal.It was 7:30 in the morning when my daughter came to me and asked, “What wrong, Mommy? You otay?”

The reasoning for her question was the fact that I was slumped on the living room floor and ugly crying into my 5th cup of coffee. At seven thirty in the morning. There are a lot of people who are just starting their day and I… well, I had already thrown in the towel.

“Mommy’s just sad, baby,” I told her.

“Why sad, Mom?” she asked, patting my back with more maternal affection than I could have mustered in that moment.

“I’m sad because my coffee is all gone,” is what I told her.

What I was thinking was, “I’m sad because I’m done. Finished. I can’t do this motherhood thing anymore. I was, am, and always will be an awful parent. I can’t do it right. Everything I do is wrong. I don’t think I can do it for another day—let alone for the rest of my life. This sucks. I suck.”

Overdramatic? Yes.

True? Probably not.

In that moment, though, it felt true. It felt like I was an awful mom and I had a long list of reasons to back up my suspicions.

  • I was ugly crying in front of my children. That can’t be good for the psyche.
  • I had already yelled at my son approximately 81 times that morning because he has an obsessive compulsion to climb onto the dining room table.
  • I wasn’t sure how many more times I could say, “Stop hitting your brother” before giving up and turning my home into Lord of the Flies.
  • My kids eat the majority of their meals picnic-style in front of an episode of Curious George because there are days where I just can’t handle the battle which is getting them to eat and behave at the table.
  • I lock myself in the bathroom for 5 minutes to breathe, pretend I’m alone, and click my heels three times in desperate hope that I will be whisked away to my real home because this place where I live now blows chunks.
  • My kids don’t eat enough vegetables.
  • My kids eat too much junk.
  • My kids watch way too much T.V.
  • I don’t know how to effectively discipline either of my children.
  • I don’t know what to do with either of my children all day.

And the list goes on.

That morning I was convinced I was the world’s worst mother.

That night, though, while vacuuming up what seemed like an entire box of Cheerios, I had a rare moment of clarity.

I’m not an awful parent.

I’m normal.

Once I stopped beating myself up with tears and fears and guilt, I began to remember blog posts I had seen, stories I had heard from friends, and books I read (back before my kids ripped out all the pages.) I remembered:

  • Other mothers yell at their kids sometimes.
  • Other mothers can’t sleep because their guilt keeps them awake.
  • Other mothers give their daughter cereal for dinner and call it good.
  • Other mothers have homes with dirty bathrooms and sticky kitchen floors.
  • Other mothers hide in the closet for just a moment’s peace.
  • Other mothers can’t come up with fun things to do with their toddlers.
  • Other mothers pray their son will go back to sleep when he wakes up at 5am.
  • Other mothers are positive they’re screwing up their children.

If all these women—friends and strangers—are having such a hard time… that means it’s not just me.

And if we’re all on the same page… if we’re all having the same struggles… then…

I’m not a bad parent.

I’m just normal.

So that’s a load off my mind.

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© 2015 Toni Hammer, as first published on Scary Mommy

5 Comments on I’m Not A Bad Mom

  1. Selena
    February 23, 2016 at 6:50 am (2 years ago)

    You are a totally normal mother. I always comfort myself with the fact that there are mothers out there who are on crack and heroin and I am doing WAY better than that. Just go easy on yourself. We have good days and bad days.

    Reply
  2. carly
    February 23, 2016 at 10:43 am (2 years ago)

    I’m right there with you. I think the fact that we care enough as parents to feel like we aren’t doing a good enough job is proof that we are, in fact doing the best we can. Hang in there. You certainly aren’t alone. Thank you for sharing so the rest of us don’t feel alone either.

    Reply
  3. Kari
    February 24, 2016 at 8:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Good moms are the ones who think they are bad moms.

    Reply
  4. Sandi
    February 27, 2016 at 2:20 pm (2 years ago)

    And, guess what? Isn’t it amazing God knew you to be the right mom for those little ones. Warts and all. He knew…he chose you. What a gift. Thanks for sharing your tears.

    Reply
  5. Renee
    February 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh my gosh. I have three kids. 16 month apart and 20 months apart. The third was born just before the oldest turned 3. 3 kids in diapers for 8 months. No regular or long-enough naps for anyone because there weren’t enough humans to put them in a quiet place when they needed to be there. The shoes. The food. The sobbing. I think you have understated it quite a bit!!! It’s chaos. Total chaos, morning through bedtime. Then musical beds. The good news is that at 10, 9, and 7, they can play together, and we can all go skiing together. And the youngest can keep up with the oldest on hikes. I think, *think* it was worth it. :)

    Reply

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