Friday, April 5, 2013

I'm Not a Bad Mom, But I'm Occasionally a Bad Person

Two links hit me right in the feels this morning... this one and this one. Go have a read and come back when you're done.

Now, the first doesn't exactly apply to me because I have never actually thought of myself as a bad mom, but the fact is that I know so many women who have thought and do think of themselves that way. Me, I don't see it in them. In my book, so long as you're not playing mind games with your littles , abusing them or letting someone else abuse them, or otherwise neglecting them, things like TV, Lunchables, gobs of Easter candy, Barbie Dolls, toy guns, and beauty pageants are not going to ruin your children.

There's a lot to be said for plenty of love, mostly good food, family fun, and an environment of trust - all of which, I think, can undo a multitude of minor parenting sins.

As for the second, though, I've definitely had my share of those days where bedtime has finally come and gone, and I've looked straight at the mister and said "I was not a good person today." I suppose I could say that it's my mothering that's lacking, but fact is that my children are just the convenient receptacles for my ire because they are there in front of me. If I worked in an office, I would have been barking at my coworkers or the Keureg or the #@$% guy driving the Hummer who cut me off on my evening commute.

What's lucky for me is that children tend to be forgiving if the love and the trust and the fun (and the food) are all there in spades. A day when mama's sanity is just hanging by a thread, a day when she's the one crying over the spilled milk and throwing 'tude, isn't the end of the world.

P. may not understand what the heck is going on because that, whatever that might be in any given moment, maybe a legit pasta wig or an impromptu tabletop tap routine, was plain hilarious yesterday and now it's just ticking me off something fierce, but she also knows the raincloud hanging over my head (and consequently hers) isn't going to be there forever.

In fact, at four, she has suddenly begun responding to that raincloud by saying "Mama, I don't like it when you're so stressed out." This is both overpoweringly charming and slightly distressing at once. The same goes for that innate innocent childish forgiveness, which is heartrendingly beautiful because your children forgive you, but you wish they didn't have to.

Not that children don't also have those days when, if they had the vocabulary, their last words before drifting off to sleep would be "I was not a good person today." And of course, we parents (hopefully) forgive them.

I don't know what it's like in your family, but at our house, we're quick to say sorry and mostly quick to forgive. Grownups, too. The mister and I have never pretended to be anything but human. We try to make sure our parental sins are minor. Snapping when we're in a hurry. Finishing someone's apple slices without asking. Forgetting that we said we'd paint in the afternoon. That sort of thing. Tiny annoyances in the grand scheme of family. Maybe it won't always be so easy, for either the grownups or the kids or both, but we're laying down a foundation of forgiveness early on.

That way, it doesn't matter who is saying "I was not a good person today." Whether it's me or the mister or the P. or eventually Bo, we all get to start over with a clean slate, every day.

saying sorry to kids

Thank goodness for that, right?

P.S. - Check out the newest Mom Meet Mom press release here! Are you a Boston mama? If you want in on our super exclusive Boston beta, email me at christa @


  1. It was really good to read your take on that. Things have been so stressful around here that I've been thin on patience lately - which is usually something I have a LOT of so :/

    and I WISH I was still a Boston-mama! I say that a lot because I really mean it.

  2. I feel like a bad mom a lot and a bad person a lot. Everyday I say I will change it, but I am tired and overwhelmed. Osh just started saying "just be happy mama" and i feel like you, it's cute but also alarming that he notices that. I think the forgiveness aspect is important to remember and thanks for pointing it out.

  3. Thanks Christa. Both of the essays you link to, and your own really hit home for me. They are a reminder that even on my worst days (personal and parental), Steve and I are doing ok. We're making a good home and a happy childhood for our kids. Sometimes I need to be hit over the head and told that I can try again tomorrow.

  4. Thank god for that clean slate. That is all.

  5. I am grateful for that daily clean slate! Well said. Luckily, our parenting abilities won't be measure by one day. They will be measured over a lifetime. On the whole, we are doing good things. I think we'll be graded well.

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  6. Wow I really can relate to this post and yes thank goodness they are so forgiving and more of a reason for us to do the same for others.

  7. I'm not a mama, but I am human like anyone else, and so are you and I am glad you have the clean slate mentality in your home. Hope all is well, chica!


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