As a parent, you want nothing more than to raise your kids to become responsible adults who make good choices and take care of themselves.
I haven’t met a parent who is in the midst of raising a young child and doesn’t battle with the fears of what their child’s future could look like – drugs, suicide, violence, the earth turning to a burning ball of fire.
There are a million and one resources out there that will tell you how to raise your child in whatever way you choose – to be kind, to be resilient, to be mindful, to be independent, and on and on.
There are also a ton of resources out there that teach the “appropriate” or “positive” way to discipline.
Ultimately, no one can prepare you enough to be a parent. It’s something that we are all kind of figuring out as we go.
Personally, I love my kids to death and at the same time, I never felt anger and irritation like I feel sometimes in my parenting role with them. I thought for sure I was a laid back person, but then I had kids and that changed.
Before kids, I rarely yelled, in fact I avoided confrontation at all costs. Not many things pushed my buttons.
Parenting can bring out the not-so-nice parts of my personality.
I don’t think I’m alone here…Why aren’t we talking about this part of parenting more?
Being a Mom Brings Out a Different Side of You
After a particularly rough week by myself with my two boys last week, I started feeling kinda guilty for my loss of patience and the constant disciplining and yelling.
I had about a million after thoughts about how I “should have” handled a situation better with my kids, instead of reacting so fast.
I began telling myself I was a bad mom. And my mind started playing out all the scenarios regarding how I was ruining my kids and setting them up for a horrible future.
Then I started questioning that thought. Was I really a bad mom? I mean, I was literally driving them to the playground as I was having this thought. Do bad moms take their kids to the playground…? Who knows.
I created a list in my head of ways that I was defining being a bad mom. In an attempt to make you feel better about your parenting, I want to share this list with you.
4 Ways I’m a Bad Mom
1. Yelling To Get My Point Across
Yes, I admit, I yell at my kids. I start out every morning with the intention to keep my cool and not yell today. But by 9 am, I’ve most likely “raised” my voice a few times.
These days, my yelling is triggered by the constant noise of the kids bickering. I try to let them figure it out, and I even try to count to 10, but sometimes I just lose it, yell, and send them to their rooms.
I also tend to yell when I’ve had to repeat a request multiple times and it’s not done yet.
Honestly, I yell so often that it doesn’t even phase my kids anymore which I’m sure is part of the problem. I’m not proud of this. I know I need more self-control and it’s something I work on every day.
2. Making the Kids Wait
I hear “mom” a million times a day. This was super cute when the kids are just learning to talk, but now that they are older, it’s lost a little bit of it’s cuteness. (Though I still love hearing my little one call me “momma”).
It became a habit to just respond to the kids every time they called my name. Ultimately, what I was showing them was that whatever they had going on was more important then what I was doing in that moment. And it sure wasn’t teaching them patience.
I’ve changed my ways now. I try really hard to no longer respond to shouts of “mom” from across the house. The kids have to come find me if they need something. This means that I sometimes have to endure hearing “mom” 50 times before they finally decide to find me. But, at times, they also realize they don’t need me and figure it out themselves.
I also make them wait if I’m doing something that’s important to me. If I’m working out, I won’t get them the toy up on the shelf until I’m done. If I’m on my computer and they are hungry, they have to wait for me to finish or else find something to eat themselves.
I want my boys to see their mom as someone with her own life and responsibilities instead of a personal maid and butler. And I also want them to have patience and realize that some things don’t have to come immediately.
3. Swearing – (Gasp!)
I know this is controversial, but yes, I admit that I swear in front of my kids.
I was pretty conscious of NOT doing this, but then my son who was two at the time, started using the swear word of all swear words, in the right context on a routine basis. Now that he’s older, he understands that he should not be saying such words.
My thoughts on swearing is that if it’s the worst thing the child grows up and does, then I think I’m doing pretty well as a parent. This doesn’t mean I allow it or condone it for the kids, I just don’t think it’s the end of the world.
I recently had a run in with the ice machine dispenser on our refrigerator door and as the ice was exploding out all over the kitchen, I swore – a lot. In that moment, the swearing helped me release some of my anger toward the refrigerator.
I did apologize to the boys for my swearing. But we have also had the discussion that adults can swear and it doesn’t mean they are bad people if they do.
Every once and a while, swearing is a good emotional release and if the kids are around, they hear it.
4. Rarely Playing with My Kids
I wish I had the imagination I did as a kid, but as is the norm, once you are an adult, play using your imagination seems almost impossible.
When my kids ask me to play with them, I rarely oblige. And if I do, it’s for like 5 minutes.
Instead, I find other ways to “play” with them. Primarily through reading books, playing a game, doing a puzzle, or taking them for a bike ride (while I walk). Things I enjoy.
This is never really an issue, unless my youngest doesn’t have his brother around to play with. Then he can become a bit relentless with wanting me to play with him.
What to Do If You Feel Like a Bad Mom
Like I said before, parenting is hard. As a mom, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do everything perfectly. Especially when the subject you are working with is another human with their own personality and desires.
But after doing a little bit of research, I found that if you feel like a bad mom, it might be a good thing. That’s because you actually care about how you are treating your kids. Who knew?
And chances are, if you are reading this, you fall into the same category. You may feel like you are a bad mom, but you care enough to question your parenting and want to explore it a little more.
You are Not Alone
While writing this post, I googled, “Am I a Bad Mom?” and I found a few articles that talk about this.
Here’s a list of other blog posts that helped me feel like I’m not the only one who questions their parenting:
- When You Feel Like a Bad Mom, Remember This
- Why Am I An Angry Mom? 5 Anger Triggers and How to Manage Them
- Am I a Bad Mom If…
- 10 Truths You Need to Hear When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom
If you have another mom friend, she may be feeling similar about her parenting. I have a few friends that I share my “bad mom” stories with and they share their own with me. I’m able to be authentic and real about what I’m feeling as a mom without being judged.
Take Some Time for Yourself
I can see you rolling your eyes at this! But it’s true that you will feel better about parenting if you have some time without your kids. And you DO deserve time to yourself. Your kids might even be thankful for the time apart!
Alone time doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t even have to leave the house. For example, if I’ve had a rough day with the kids, I’ll give my husband a heads up while he’s at work that I’m going to retreat to my room for a bit when he gets home. I usually just read, or watch TV while he takes over with the kids. But just that little time alone refreshes me.
When my kids were really young, I joined the local YMCA and took advantage of their childcare program. There were times when I didn’t even exercise, I just hung out in the lobby reading, or chatting with friends. It was an easy way to get some alone time in.
You could also go to the library by yourself (one of my favorite things to do), or meet a friend for coffee. Whatever you’ll enjoy.
Burnout is real, but it’s especially real if you’ve had endless hours on the mom job without a break. Create time for yourself and use it to do something you enjoy.
Lower Your Parenting Standards
I can’t believe how guilty I feel sometimes if I let me kids watch hours of TV.
As a parent, you have been warned so much about the negatives of screen time that you can really beat yourself up if you let your kids veg out with the iPad.
There will be days when everything runs smoother if you just give in to the TV, or the fast food, or the treat at the grocery store. Give yourself a little grace. It doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Sometimes, you have to let go of your own parenting standards in order for everyone to co-exist peacefully and that’s no big deal.
It’s Not All Bad
At the end of the day, chances are you had plenty of interactions with your kids that were positive. Plus, you probably made sure they were dressed and fed, which is no small feat.
Instead of getting really down on myself for the times I lose my cool, I try to think about all the ways I cared for my kids that day.
This is kind of along the lines of gratitude. Once you start counting the positive interactions instead of the bad, you create more of them in your life.
Do you have days when you feel like a bad mom? What seems to make the biggest difference in your parenting? I would love to know in the comments below.