Judging ‘Bad Moms’ For Calling Ourselves ‘Bad Moms’ Is One Big Judgy Circle Jerk

il_340x270.526975813_5234Man, people are throwing shade at me lately. What the hell world, I am just a mild-mannered mom who more than anything wants to bring back kitten sweaters and banana pudding recipes. This recent chiding comes from Salon magazine, where Elissa Strauss writes an article entitled :The tyranny of the “bad mother”: Slacker moms are just as intimidating as perfect ones.  Not only does Bad Mom Advice get a finger pointed at it, but also my running crew which consists of STFU Parents and Scary Mommy (who I don’t really know, but seems SO NICE you guys) and my ex-employer Jane Pratt, who I have teased a few times about her “worst mom in the world” nickname. Truth: she isn’t, she loves her daughter Charlotte deeply and I would say she is a pretty damn good mom.

What I assume we all have in common is that we aren’t afraid of the less than Pinterest-worthy moments of parenting, in which there are plenty. Blair from STFU can be excluded from this list because she doesn’t have kids yet, but STFU was born because I think most moms are sick of the humble bragging #blessed and #Beingamom posts we see on Facebook. I don’t call myself a bad mom in order to brag about how naughty I am, I call myself a bad mom as a way to relate to other moms who feel less than perfect because that’s the reality of life and parenting, and it makes me feel less alone.

Strauss writes:

The issue with all this bad mothering, besides the culture of reverse bullying it has created, is that it doesn’t do much to undo the good mother myth that it was set up to squash in the first place.

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    • Bethany Ramos

      I couldn’t agree more! I personally think that writing about the mostly bad or confusing parts about parenting makes it so much easier to understand. I felt way out of control as a parent until I found a community like Mommyish with a much bigger dose of reality.

      I think that the Salon writer is reading way too much into the bad mom and good mom labels. There is also a part of me that thinks some parents feel very guilty for poking fun at parenting, hence all of the “bad mom” backlash. That’s just my opinion because I have felt that way in the past.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        Listen, I wouldn’t poke fun of other moms if they would just stop being such #blessed #boltholes

      • Kay_Sue

        I’ve got to find a way to work “blessed boltholes” into an actual conversation today.

    • Kay_Sue

      I kind of get what she is trying to say–that we should drop labels and just accept that “mother” covers a wide range of behaviors and personalities and people. I get that.

      She seems to totally miss the point of “Bad Moms”. Is that even really a thing? Like, did we actually all sit down and decide to actively combat some kind of stereotype? If so, I missed the memo, and the meeting, and you really should have looped me in, Eve.

      I don’t consider myself a “bad mom”, necessarily. I’m a mom, and I’m a woman, and I’m a human being, and I’m a lot of other things–all of which I am sometimes good at, sometimes bad at. I accept my shortcomings. I acknowledge my strengths. It’s part of self-reflection for me.

      And if I want to crack a few jokes about letting go of the “Perfect Mother” dream that I fought so hard for in my older son’s infancy and toddlerhood, it’s a release valve, not a comment about other people. Letting go of that is a big step, and sometimes, a good dose of humor is the best way to remind myself that, no, I can’t live up to that idea I have in my head…but that’s still okay. We’re still okay.

      • LiteBrite

        THIS.

        When I highlight the “bad mom” things I engage in, I’m not so much laughing at others as much as I’m laughing at **myself** for even thinking I could attain a perfect ideal in the first place. I know I’m not a truly “bad mom”; not even close. However, it does make me feel better to admit that I haven’t done it quite right in a few instances and to see that others are in the same boat.

      • Kay_Sue

        Exactly. It’s just a way of acknowledging my imperfections and getting a laugh out of it.

    • val97

      I also roll my eyes at the “perfect mom,” who apparently only seems to exist on line. I don’t know any in real life. But I don’t consider myself a bad mom either. I was a social worker for a few years after college. I’ve seen bad moms. Trust me, you don’t want to identify with them. I guess I would just consider myself a practical mom? Or a real person who also happens to be a mom?

      I don’t know. I think that Salon article was silly to the point where I don’t even know what I’m reading anymore. Someone who pokes a little fun of perfectionists is now a bad mom? That doesn’t even make sense. And it’s not new either. Way back in the 80s, my mother used to call other mothers Donna Reeds or Stepford Wives.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        RIGHT? Bad Moms burn their kids with cigarettes and like, starve them. Most of us are just moms who aren’t stepford and who aren’t scared to admit it

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        FUCKING THANK YOU. Everytime I hear about how bottlefeeding/cosleeping/tweeting at the park/letting your kid watch too much TV is OMG borderline child abuse, my eye begins to twitch. Child abuse is child abuse. So let’s not denigrate the seriousness of that by calling lunchables child abuse.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        So let’s not denigrate the seriousness of that by calling lunchables child abuse.

        NEW FUCKING LIFE MOTTO 4EVER

      • Jen

        Lunchables are bad? Well, then I don’t feel bad for scarfing them all down before the kid gets any because, hey, I’m saving the kid from toxic crap, amirite?

      • Kay_Sue

        Especially those pizza ones…those things are like crack to me. I can’t eat just one.

      • Jen

        I will trade you the pizza ones for the turkey & cheddar. That “turkey” is f-ing delicious, even though it is like 1% turkey castoffs and like 99% salt water.

      • Kay_Sue

        You have yourself a deal!

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        #sobrave

      • Jen

        Finally someone recognizes my sacrifice! Lunchables are a grenade I’ll jump on for anyone.

      • Lackadaisical

        Mum hero, saving the kiddies from nutritionally imperfect yet tasty snacks. It is your duty to scoff the things that are bad for you, for the sakeof the children. I often tell mine “I am saving you, I do it because I love you” but alas my noble words are lost as my mouth is stuffed with junk food

      • Jen

        I once saved my daughter from so many jelly beans that I had to run out and buy a new bag for her Easter basket because I hadn’t even made the basket yet. Jelly beans are not safe around me.

      • ChickenKira

        And you know what, jelly bellies are the worst ones, with their addictive qualities, so really, scoffing those ones for the sake of your children should class you as a saint of a mother.

      • Dr Mom

        YES. Perfectly put. As a child psychologist, I have seen more than my fair share of truly BAD mothers. It is scary. And sad. And VERY VERY VERY different from being a “good enough” mother/imperfect mother or whatever you want to call all of us normal people just trying to raise our kids, keep our sanity and have more laughs than cries during the day. Most of us are not bad mothers. Even when we have a bad day or make a mistake.

      • Andy

        My mom was a social worker before she had me, and her mother was an abusive mom, both physically and emotionally. When I was growing up, my mother wasn’t perfect-our house was messy, I was in charge of dinners by the time I was in high school, and she didn’t molly-coddle me or revolve her world around me. But she loved me, I never doubted that for a minute, and I always felt safe in our home-which is more than she had growing up. It was only a few years ago that she opened up to me and confessed that she’s glad I felt I had a good childhood, because she had no guideline to follow and was always afraid she was screwing me up. Which is why, knowing our family history, I refuse to believe that letting my preschooler watch TV after school or eat a junk food snack child abuse, because my mother lived it and witnessed it.

    • Megan Zander

      As much as I would love us all getting jackets that say ” Bad Mommy” just like the Pink Ladies in Grease, and then we march into a MOPS meeting and call them prissy, there isn’t really a divide. We all have days where the house is clean and the kids eat thier veggies ( smothered in Ranch) and days when we secretly eat chocolate in the kitchen and cry a little. I think some moms are just more willing to admit it than others, and that’s a inherent personality thing, not a parenting thing.

      • Lackadaisical

        Salty, tear stained chocolate eaten hurriedly before screaming children find you is the best. It tastes of forbidden pleasure and the illusion of reclaimed freedom with just a hint of “ha ha, they didn’t catch me so I don’t have to share”

      • Megan Zander

        YES! What is it with the sharing everything? My kids are just starting to feed themselves so this is new territory and I don’t like it. Yesterday morning they jacked me for my toast with jam. I wanted that toast !

      • EX

        This reminds me of a recent incident in which I was summoned to help out at nap time (my husband was in need of back up) immediately after I had scarfed down a handful of potty-training bribes (aka m&ms). When I got to her room my 2 year old said “you smell like chocolate!” *Hangs head in shame*

      • Lackadaisical

        I have found fruity sweets to be the most detectable by kids. If you were potty training that day then those m&ms were earned for not screaming and running down the street with a pristine unused potty on your head while throwing nappies at passers by. I never got driven to that level of madness by potty training but that waswas only because I steadied my nerves with stolen toddler bribery chocolate.

      • Alanna Jorgensen

        When my four year old asks what I’m eating, I usually respond with “Nunya.”

    • rrlo

      Really? Organic broccoli has now become the line that separates “Good Mothers” from the “Bad Mothers”?

      • Jessica

        What about Steamables Broccoli?? Where do I stand????

      • Bethany Ramos

        God, those are yum.

      • ChickenKira

        I have a bag of store brand frozen broccoli.

      • Jessica

        I have corn. Someone somewhere tried to tell me that corn has no nutritional value. Obviously they didn’t factor in my calcium laden butter.

    • EX

      I think we all just need to take a deep breath and read some of the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott’s work:

      ” . . . a mother is neither good nor bad nor the product of illusion, but is a separate and independent entity: The good-enough mother … starts off with an almost complete adaptation to her infant’s needs, and as time proceeds she adapts less and less completely, gradually, according to the infant’s growing ability to deal with her failure. Her failure to adapt to every need of the child helps them adapt to external realities.”

      Good enough is where it’s at.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        I like being good enough.

      • EX

        I’m all for a theory where failure is not only expected, but considered beneficial!

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      You know, you can’t win. If you strive for perfection you’ll be mocked as sanctimonious, if you joke about yourself, you’re now a reverse bullying (what the actual fuck?) tyrant. Dress modestly, you’re a frumpy gross troll, dress nice you’re a sluts mcgee. On and on it goes. That’s why moms (and mom bloggers) are so easy to mock; no matter what you say/do the only guarantee you’ll have is that you’ve done it wrong. This piece made me squicked out. I’ll calm the squicks with some extra-strength mimosas until 3 when I switch to panty droppers. Tedwards, out.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        I love you but I don;t understand half of what you said because you are obvs a #coolmom

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Don’t #reversebully me, Eve.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        I’M SORRY ME NOT BEING AS GOOD OF A MOM AS YOU ARE AND ADMITTING MY SHORTCOMING IS REVERSE BULLYING YOU

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        #HFDY???

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        #snailife

      • Kay_Sue

        I chuckled at the “reverse bullying”. I can’t take someone seriously that could actually type that in a piece they hoped to publish…anywhere…

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        What you’re doing right now is reverse-bully-shaming. Not cool, Kay_Sue, not cool.

      • Kay_Sue

        *hangs head*

      • Crusty Socks

        Kay, don’t be sad, you’re really cool

        #reversebully

      • Lackadaisical

        I’m sorry, I was with you right up until the point where you are a mum and then I decided to ignore you. Obviously your opinion doesn’t count unless you are writing about something worthily world savingly non mum related, but if you do that you will be a terrible mum for not thinking about your kids 24 hours a day. Shame on you, but obviously I am a mum hanging out on a mum blog so my judgement of you is irrelevant and wrong too. If you want me I shall be on the naughty step with wine.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Don’t sit on the naughty step! Come to my house–my friend and I are having a shit mom party complete with this:

        We’re calling it boozables

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        I want to go to there

      • Bethany Ramos

        OMG! You know I only live like an hour away from you… #hdy

      • Lackadaisical

        Oh please! Alas by the time I fly in from England you will have scoffed the lot. I am so doing boozables as soon as I get to the shops

    • srad

      I don’t actually understand the term “reverse bullying”. When you bully someone (in simple terms) you are doing or saying something that makes them feel bad about themselves. So wouldn’t reverse bullying basically mean you are praising them and making them feel good? This is a weird term to use.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        TBH I don’t either but am kinda dumb because I’m a mommy blogger and a bad mom

      • Kay_Sue

        It doesn’t exist in the context she’s used it in (or any context? maybe?).

      • Lackadaisical

        I assume she was trying to combine “reverse snobbery” with bullying to make a fabulous new phrase but forgot to check to see if it still made sense. Whatever the intention the reverse of bullying would either be kindness or attacking yourself so in the context it fails

    • Tinyfaeri

      Ain’t no judging like the internet judging and the internet judging don’t stop!

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        I need this on a t-shirt

    • Mystik Spiral

      Whatever happened to having a sense of humor?

      • Kay_Sue

        Moms aren’t allowed to have those. We have to surrender that at the moment of fetal implantation.

      • Mystik Spiral

        I see. The sense of humor goes the way of alone time and happy hour. Damn, am I glad I don’t have kids. :)

      • Kay_Sue

        We fill the void with vodka. It works okay. :-P

    • K.

      I don’t get this. I don’t get the whole concept of worrying about whether or not you are a good mom. Really. I just don’t.

      I mean, I get this is a parenting site and the topic is relevant here, but in general, outside in my own life, this sort of thing has me eye-rolling.

      Here’s my PSA:

      First of all, the whole tongue-in-cheek-mommy-guilt of “I’m a bad mommy” because you deigned to serve your child Chef Boyardee or bowed out of interactive finger painting is ridiculous. Stop it. Unless you molested or beat up your kid or refused them access to medicine when they needed it, then STFU about how your sporadic “negligence” has delayed your progeny’s acquisition of Farsi. Seriously, STFU. At best it’s a humble-brag (because surely, you are not truly a bad mommy if you are informed about the virtues of quinoa and have devoted resources to second language instruction); at worst it means you have no identity outside of parenting–which is, in my book, no more desirable than having no life outside of your cubicle.

      Second, sitting around discussing how worried you are about some sort of minor transgression you’ve committed against the Platonic ideal of parenting is pointless. It’s like sitting around discussing your anxieties about the fact that you’re all going to die one day. You can do that, but it’s not going to change the fact you’re going to die and it’s just going to waste more of the minutes you have until then. Similarly, you can sit around being worried about parenting; it’s not going to change the fact that you’re going to screw up your kids. I’ll repeat: YOU WILL SCREW UP YOUR KIDS. It’s inevitable. No one parents perfectly; no one escapes a few chinks in their psyche. You can sit around asking people to reaffirm your right to parent, but it’s not going to change the fact that you ARE a parent and you yourself are flawed and you’ll make mistakes, and instead, it’ll just waste more of the minutes you could be spent enjoying your life and your children.

      Unless you are outright abusing or neglecting your children, you are not a bad parent. Imperfect, yes, but not a bad one.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        Mommyish: Parenting Imperfect.

        I just call myself a bad mom sometimes because I suck at crafts

      • K.

        Well, see, I’m perfect at crafts, so I KNOW it’s my kid. I mean, have you seen the crap he’s come with? How many times do I have to say, “Stop pouring it all out in a pile! Follow the glue-line! Follow the glue-line!! WHY ARE YOU SO SUCKY AT GLITTER?!”

        Don’t get me started on the macaroni collages. It’s hardly worth buying organic.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        It’s always worth buying organic and if you disagree that makes you a bolthole.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        A snailife bolthole

      • Kay_Sue

        A blessed snaillife bolthole.

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      While I don’t always agree with all of the viewpoints on this site I think it’s awesome because it allows people to come together and have real true discussions even if we’re in front of a computer somewhere in the world. I can’t talk to my friends and family about feeling worn out and feeding my kid an apple and fish sticks for dinner because I was too tired to cook a meal. I can’t talk about how I need to walk away from him because I lose my patience sometimes and need to cool down. Or the fact that I can’t potty train him and he’ll be 3 in a month.

      When I do, I feel judged, or felt sorry for and it is nice to have a place where you can talk about things candidly and be open without being made to feel like a bad mom. I feel like less of a bad mom and more normal on this site which is why I think it rocks.

      • Kay_Sue

        If it makes you feel any better, my youngest has been three for……..five months? Just about? And still isn’t fully potty trained. He knows what to do. He just refuses to do it.

        It’s like that old saying, “You can lead your toddler to the potty, but you can’t make him sit on it and shit.”

      • TwentiSomething Mom

        Mine knows exactly what he has to do but refuses to do it and think its one big friggin’ game!

      • Sara

        I’m not saying you should bribe your kid with a pot-bellied piglet, but that totally worked for me lol

      • Kay_Sue

        We have tried everything. I’m taking refuge in the idea that, eventually, he will go. He’s not going to be in middle school still wearing a diaper. But the more I push…the more he pushes back. *sighs*

      • jane

        My oldest is S.T.U.B.B.O.R.N. Finally I said to her “you know what you need to do and where you need to do it.” I switched her into underpants and told her I wasn’t going to ask her to go to the bathroom any more – that she could just go when she needed to. Honestly, the hardest part was not saying “are you sure you don’t have to pee” when she was clearly hopping up and down. But you know what? 2 weeks later, she was completely potty trained. She had a couple of accidents and I just pretty wordlessly cleaned her up and handed her new underpants. She just didn’t want to be nagged about it.

      • Kay_Sue

        I’ve tried something similar, but it just resulted in a horrific day of him using the pants and me crying over a cocktail at naptime. It was so bad….just…bad…*shudders*

        I may try it again sometime, but I’ll need a little time to forget that day first, because it was pretty awful, lol. ;)

        It is heartening to hear that you’ve been through it and she’s made it. My older son was so easy that I was completely unprepared for this…*sighs*

      • Andy

        I see your three for five months, and raise you less than a month from turning four and she still refuses to use the shitter for that purpose. And I’m about to the point where I give up-she’ll figure it out really quick when, if she’s still refusing to poop on the pot in kindergarten and holding it for a nighttime pull-up, I refuse to let her go to sleepovers.

      • Lackadaisical

        I say this because the well intentioned but bossy older family members in your family are probably throwing guilt at you: you are doing fine and she will get there when she is ready.

      • Kay_Sue

        I love you guys for precisely this reason.

        This issue has been *hugely* frustrating, and coming to the point where I am like, “Okay, it’s going to happen when it happens” was such a struggle, and now I come to Mommyish, see someone with the same struggle, mention mine, and wind up with multiple supportive comments.

        So bookmarking this thread for the next time I have one of those “dammit, just use the potty so Mommy doesn’t cry” moments! ;)

        I too figure that he’ll get it when he’s ready to. He’s just not interested right now. I don’t know how else to explain it, lol.

      • Alanna Jorgensen

        Mine didn’t want to for quite some time either, and I backed off as well because I was stressing her out about it. After a few months she just magically decided she was ready one day and it was really quick after that.

      • Lackadaisical

        Ah well, one of mine was the same. It isn’t like they aren’t going to figure it out before they leave home. Your kid will be old enough to reason with and decide to be toilet trained for himself before kids of his own age decide it is embarrassing. The only people who care are those who parented so long ago that they forgot how hard potty training is, i.e. our own mums and mothers-in-law. I intend to get all preachy about the lateness of toilet training and how simple it all is when my own late potty trained kid makes me a gran. I will get some lovely rose tinted spectacles to view my own parenting skills through.

      • Kay_Sue

        Do they issue those spectacles to grandparents? I think they do, lol.

        You’re right though. We are at the point where he’s going to have to decide for himself that he wants to. We’ve begged, pleaded and bribed to no avail. All that’s left is just to wait him out. ;)

      • Lackadaisical

        I can’t give you any advice because every child is different, which is what all those helpfully judgy grandmas forget. However, the second of my three kids was just as late and he got there before it was an issue for anyone but his grandmothers. Every kid does things at different times, even between siblings, and it doesn’t reflect negatively on your son or you. I remember a few times finding my kid and me getting so stressed with it that I had to back off before I gave him a complex about it and then one day I went back to trying the potty again and found him willing and able, and suddenly everything was puppies and rainbows. There is one huge advantage to late potty training, when they are finally ready because they are by then physically and mentally more developed they are sometimes potty trained in a day with no stress or mess from accidents.

      • Toaster

        Yep, we’re there too. My older kid is 3 years 4(? I think, I can’t count anymore) and doesn’t give a shit. We gave it a go a couple of weekends ago and the combination of constant accidents and running on a handful of hours of sleep thanks to the baby had me practically psychotic with exhaustion by Sunday night. We’ll get there someday, right..?

      • LiteBrite

        If it’s any consolation, mine was near 4 when he was finally potty-trained. He was just so damn stubborn about it. Finally one summer weekend we bit the bullet and took off the Pull-Ups. By that Monday he was fine.

      • Ms. Anne

        This entire conversation makes me feel so much better about my 3 1/2 year old who CAN use the potty but just simply refuses to. Screams bloody murder and tears off the Pull-Ups if I try to put them on him instead of diapers. I’ve been beating myself up over this because it must be my fault. But I’m not the only one!

      • Megan Zander

        For what it’s worth in my house fish sticks and an apple is totally an acceptable dinner. Protein, fruit, carbs… You’re good.

    • Lackadaisical

      Good gravy, do we now have to spell everything out in case someone can’t spot a tongue in cheek or hint of irony. Does everything on Bad Mom Advice have to be written with worthy sincerity in case someone thinks we are all proudly actually awful mums waging war on good parenting out of selfishness and envy? Is it that hard to spot a light hearted and humorous approach to being human when all around us people strive to put up a facade of perfect, flawless parenting. I would love to see what would happen if Strauss saw the fake and glorious Mrs Mills agony aunt column in the British Times or the site where real agony aunt column problems are answered humorously but realistically.

    • LC

      I get what you are trying to say and your point is valid…
      But are you even rereading what you write? This is horribly written, desperately needs editing, and several times I had to go over a sentence multiple times to understand the meaning.
      What is going on with Mommyish? The last month it’s like every single article is so poorly written I can barely understand it. Does this site not even try to edit anymore? I’ve been standing up for this site amongst my friends and colleagues, but I’m done.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        stop shaming me. But idk, I looked and looked and made everyone else look and besides from one missing comma, no one else can see anything wrong. I am sorry you think it’s horribly written. idk. I’m just a MOM BLOGGER

      • jane

        I’m envisioning an Iwo Jima type stand against the onslaught of friends and colleagues who have banned together to assault Mommyish in your presence, whilst you bravely fend them off with work-inappropriate gifs from the comments section. All you need is a cape.

    • Jen

      Moms who don’t starve their children are bad moms. Moms who sometimes like to use frozen breastmilk so they can have more than one GD beer (because their husband makes delicious beer and it takes a long time to get through the keg before it goes bad) and then pump and dump are not bad moms. We – i uh, wait, ‘my friend’ – takes issue with this good mom, bad mom nonsense when we aren’t talking about moms who are actually abusive. Also, the beer is homemade and there are no preservatives so maybe it counts as organic and I’m – I mean my friend – is actually a good mom.

      • MerlePerle

        Bad moms teach their children to waste beer!

    • ted3553

      Ohhhh Lawd. I joke about being a bad mom often but at no point do I actually think the fact that I fed my toddler bagel bites for dinner and finished it off with a cookie while I sat next to him and had a glass of wine puts me on par with someone who actually neglects or abuses their children. I also don’t think it’s a competition, it’s life and it’s funny

    • http://www.scarymommy.com/double-digits/ Scary Mommy

      I’m major girl crushing on you now, Eve. That Salon article was terrible, but it resulted in this post and the genius comments which followed, so not entirely bad… Just like our parenting. :)

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        haha. not quite bad yay! and the feeling is mutual. I’m happy to sit in the bad mom corner with you anytime

    • SA

      Being a mom is feeling guilty over something pretty much all the time. Confessing ‘bad mom’ moments help ease that guilt a little bit and make you more sane.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I don’t so much call myself a bad mom, though I have on occasion. My go-to is “lazy”. I enjoy calling myself lazy. Reason? Because I am lazy. My son, I’m sure, will be just fine despite the lack of creative endeavours I engage in to enrich his everyday life. Therefore I embrace my laziness in a world where I come into contact with many far more proactive mothers than myself. If I didn’t accept myself as the lazy mother I am, I’d feel bad about myself, and I just don’t have the emotional energy for that.
      It’s a delicious cop-out, a reprieve, a lifestyle and my religion. Lazy.
      If anyone feels intimidated by my lack of mom lustre, that’s something I wouldn’t really be able to understand, but it’s not my issue.

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    • radicalhw

      Salon also called out the book “The Good Mother Myth,” which features an essay I wrote, so that means I am currently intimidating the shit out of you.

      Carry on.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        So in the bad mom corner

    • Abbe

      What? It’s like people are running out of shit to write about.
      I miss Bad Mom Advice, bring it back!

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        I need questions! :(

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Eve-I don’t have anything constructive to say except that I fucking love you.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I’d be the very first to admit, I’m not the perfect parent. But I do my best.
      Sure there are days where I’ll be lying there and scare my happily snoring Hairy Man and ask him- Do you think GIRL A was annoyed because I put her on the Naughty Step??
      He’ll usually snort, and mumble reassurances before returning to sleep.

      There’s only been one time where I doubted my ability to parent.

      It was A’s birthday. She was 8. We got her rollerskates complete with sparkly purple protection set, helmet, elbow, knee and shin pads and padded gloves.
      B is a wonderful kid but quite attention seeking, she tends to act up or get in a huff if it’s someone else’s day and not hers. I presume most kids do this at least a few times!

      Basically A was whizzing around having the time of her life. I was sitting on the wall with a cup of tea and a piece of birthday cake. B was sulking on the wall.

      B got up and went to push A to “make her move faster”
      A stated that she didn’t want her to move her.
      I told B to leave her alone.
      She didn’t.

      Twice more I had to tell her to leave her sister alone.
      She ended up pulling A’s helmet off her and pushing her. A went down like a ton of bricks and started SCREAMING. She had a bad cut on her head.

      I ended up roaring at B that I had TOLD her not to touch her sister, to get their father and tell him what she had done.
      B burst into tears, A was screaming and I was covered in blood. (Why do head wounds, pump blood, no matter how small the cut?)

      Hairy Man comes out and roars at B as well when I explained what had happened.

      Ended up A was ok, B was in a horrendous bitchy mood with me for weeks after. In her very own words it wasn’t because I had “told on her” or because she “felt bad” that she hurt her sister- it was because I yelled at her.

      Admittedly I shouldn’t have. But what parent hasn’t yelled at a child who deliberately disobeys them multiple times? And how many times has that ended up in someone crying?

      I felt awful. I cried my eyes out when the kids went home. Hairy Man started chuckling and calmly explained to me- “B is going through a naughty phase. Nothing we do is right, we’re always dumb or bossing her around. She’s 10, she’s hitting puberty. She is misbehaving but you need to let it run off you. It’s NOT cos you’re her stepmom (though she does say “You can’t tell me what to do”) it’s because anyone telling her what to do, is being unfair.”

      He ended up having a chat with her, explaining that although she may not like it, I’ve been in their life for 5 years, and she MUST do as I tell her. Not because I’m her stepmom, or trying to replace her mom, but because I am an adult and she needs to respect me. There’s not much of an age difference between me and the kids. (13 years between my and B)

      Luckily that phase DID pass after 3 looonngg months lol.

      But it was the first and only time I ever doubted my ability as a parent.

    • Zi

      It’s a bad thing to feed your kids cereal? Okay, so my parents were pretty bad, but I never counted that as a part of it? It’s a pretty regular breakfast. Cereal or bread.

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