When I was the Bad Mother

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“You’re a bad mother. You bring out the worst in your children. When you were not here, they were very well behaved, they didn’t cry, they didn’t even make a peep.”

I don’t know what to make of this.

I’m a stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home mom at times, to two toddler boys. As any mother would, I try my best to be the best mom for them.

Nothing would be as painful however, as being slapped in the face with such rude statements.

Sometimes I take it in stride, laughing it off as a “sure, whatever” kind of thing and not ever thinking about it again.

Sometimes I get into defensive mode, exclaiming that it’s because the kids didn’t feel comfortable enough with him/her to act and be themselves.

Sometimes I take it to heart, crushing the purpose of my entire being. I could almost hear it, “they’re better off without you…”

It saddens me, it angers me. It confuses me, it cripples me.

At such low points in my life, I look to the kids for validation. I remember perfectly how my youngest son’s eyes pop with so much joy whenever he sees me after a long time of being away. I can still feel the warmth of my eldest son’s embrace and his wet kisses that greet me every time I get back.

Just like that, everything becomes better.

Tomorrow when I bring the youngest to school, I’m sure it would be tough again. It would not be as easy as when someone else did it where, as if like magic, there was no crying, no kicking, no screaming “mah-mah!!! mah-mah! mah-mah…!!!”

But it’s okay. I know now that it’s not because of something I did. It’s because of who I am.

I am the mother, the comfort zone, the familiar in the strange, the calm in the storm.

He’d eventually learn to get out of it, grow out of it.

They all do.

In the meantime, if you have nothing better to say, spare me the heartache, just keep it to yourself.

64 thoughts on “When I was the Bad Mother

  1. I have been called a “bad mom”, too, many times to count – by family, no less! – and my daughter’s just 4 years old. I feel your pain. I guess all we have to do is rely on the fact that we are doing the best that we can without stepping on anybody’s toes – not on purpose, at least. Stay strong, Mommy! As teeners say nowadays, “haters gonna hate!”

  2. Sis, what they say doesn’t matter. What is important is, deep down you know you have done your best, the best way you know how. Don’t waste time dwelling on others negativity.

  3. Hugs. I read it last night and I don’t know what to say. πŸ™ Hahaha! I guess, we all just have to bear the side comments and just mother our children. Besides, these children are given to US. Not them.

    1. Thanks much! πŸ™‚ It’s part of the job, I suppose. During times like these, it’s great to have a community of mothers to gain support from. πŸ˜‰

  4. This post saddens me. It’s tough enough being a mother without being judged by others. Keep being strong and only you know how to raise your children.

  5. Awwww…hugs! Yes, I figured that out, too. Your son didn’t scream, kick or called for mama because the person isn’t his mama. He would still have if it was you because you will always be “his” mama.

  6. I am truly amazed how open you can be about this personal thing. Perhaps some people just see your kids differently for the very fact that your kids have a different relationship with other people which could quite be surprising for others. All I can say, just don’t mind the others since I am pretty sure you are doing an excellent job.

  7. been there done that. I know that you, just like every other mom in this planet just wants to be the best mom out there, and always remember that by trying to be one, you already are. πŸ™‚ so let them hate, kasi their opinion doesn’t matter much. They’re your kids okay, not theirs. good luck! πŸ™‚

  8. Ignore the haters. You are doing your best and that’s what your kid needs. Everyone will always have a different opinion on how we should raise our children. Try to tune it out when you can, and if all else fails punching a pillow helps me some times, lol.

  9. I can relate. My boys usually behave well with family or their babysitter but act out more with my husband and I. I think you’re right about being their comfort zone. Eventhough their behavior can be unpleasant at least you know they are comfortable enough to be themselves with you – they know you will love them unconditionally.

  10. Don’t pay attention to such rude, callous people! People that put other people down are usually insecure and jealous. It’s a known fact that kids usually act up when mom shows up. Their comfort zone has arrived. Ignore the meanness of others and know that you are doing the most important job there is – mothering your children.

  11. So sad someone said hateful statements to you about you mothering your children. It is always so easy for people to point their fingers. No one know what it is like to parent your children except you. Kids have off days where they act out because they don’t feel well or are scared. I always remember that when I see other kids behaving that way. I am a Mom to 3 year old twins and a 5 year old and I have seen my kids act all different kinds of behavior in front of strangers. May we as Mother’s remember all kids have “off” days and it is okay. It is a part of our journey! A hug from me to you as we are both on the motherhood journey!

  12. Please know that you are not alone. I am a mom of four and have heard those comments before from the very family who is supposed to support you. What matters is that your children love you and you love them. God placed them in Your home because you are the best mommy for them. Let it roll off of your back. Usually the people making those comments are not moms, or are hurting people that issues they haven’t dealt with in their own lives. Keep your head up Mom! You are doing a great job!

  13. I’m SURE you’re an amazing mom! I’m not a mom, but I know you’re right – your kids feel comfortable and happy around you and probably are uncomfortable around others & therefore are more cautious or reserved. Just focus on those cute smiles, sparkling eyes and warm embraces – THAT’s what it’s all about! πŸ™‚

  14. Hugs to you Mommy! Some people are very insensitive when it comes to rearing a child. In just one gesture of a kid, your whole effort in upbringing a child will be easily judged. Good thing I haven’t heard those nasty comments from others, if ever I did, I would ask them how they raised their child, and if they answer the wrong way I would leave them hanging with rolling eyes that says ” You are not worth my time! I better leave you alone in your misery” LOL Cheer up Mommy! We are our children’s superhero and that is all that matters.

  15. I truly believe that children have a special sense. My kids always get great compliments about their behavior when we are in public. Even my husband makes the comment that the kids don’t do things when he’s with them. I think they know somehow what we all can handle. As mothers we beat ourselves up enough without having others opinion added to it. It sounds like you’re doing a great job. Marvel in the fact that you know you kids better that anyone else and get to enjoy them in all their glory.

  16. Wow, who said that to you? My daughter will act perfectly fine for me when I’m with her all day. When her daddy comes home or I come home from work, she’ll start to act up, but that’s because she’s looking for attention and doesn’t quite know how to ask for it. People on the outside always think they have the answers. They think just because they’ve seen part of your relationship with your kids that they know everything. Kids usually act better for people they aren’t around everyday. Moms are the people the people they can comfortably test boundaries with, because they know they’re loved. Don’t lose faith in yourself. You know the truth.

  17. It’s strange when the people who think they know everything don’t know that many kids are often best behaved with people they are uncomfortable with or unsure about.

    When they are secure in their mom’s love, they know that they can let out all that emotion that they’ve held inside and still be loved.

    Some kids cry, scream, throw tantrums — some don’t (or at least not as much). As moms, we just have to kind of roll with it all. Which isn’t made any easier by people saying things like what you experienced.

    What they said wasn’t about you- it was about them needing to feel better about themselves.

  18. I am not a kiddie person, but I would find this extremely hurtful and frustrating if I was. These people are using words as a weapon to beat you with and this is wrong. Words are just that, words, meant to hurt and make you feel guilty. This is emotional manipulation and you should put your hands over your ears singing LOUDLY “LA LA LA – NOT LISTENING” You are the rock your kids turn to, their island in a storm, the one who makes them fun stuff to eat, takes them out to play, sighs at them when they spill stuff :: eye roll:: We all needs a Mum, I had one, You have one, THEY have one. Stand tall be the Mum your kids need – the kids are with you always – words are just that w.o.r.d.s.

  19. Wow – how people have the nerve to say something like that, I’ll never know. It’s cruel, unhelpful, and untrue. Every parent, every child has bad days. To judge one’s mothering on that is ridiculous. A person who tells you that you’re a bad mother is saying a lot more about themselves than they are about you. Keep your head up and keep doing what you’re doing.

  20. It is always best, not easy, to walk away from such people. As a mother you are already dealing with your own anxieties and don’t need that kind of talk.

  21. I’m so sorry someone would say that to you. As a mother of two young boys too, I know how hard it can be sometimes. We may not be perfect but we always try our best. That’s what you have to remember.

  22. That’s just cruel and unproductive. I see people do this all the time in my world (the dog world) were they judge people who are doing their best. But I couldn’t imagine someone actually saying this to a mother’s face. I would be horrified if I’d witnessed this. I am so sorry.

  23. That is terrible! I can’t believe anyone would say that to you. That is the epitome of rude. I’m sure it is completely untrue. It’s just so ridiculous that anyone would even voice that rudeness.

  24. Please do not think that you are/were a bad mommy because someone told you that your children behaved while you were gone and started misbehaving when you arrived. It is perfectly normal for children to act in such a way. My three-year-old grandson does the same thing to my daughter, and my children did the same thing to me when they were little. This does not make you a bad mother.

    I do sometimes tell my daughter that her son was good for me and didn’t start misbehaving until she got home, but I would never say it the way you have quoted in your blog post. When I tell her this, it’s not so that she feels bad about herself. It’s to let her know that she’s done a good job teaching him how to behave for others in her absence, and to reassure her that I was not inconvenienced because of bad behavior. Otherwise, she’ll start apologizing for him misbehaving.

    I’ve tried to make it clear to my daughter not to take it personally when her son starts acting out upon her arrival. I want her to understand that it’s a perfectly normal childhood behavior that a lot of us mothers have experienced.

  25. I don’t know how anyone could be so cruel to say those words.
    (By the way sometimes when kids cry when they see you it is because they can release their emotions safely – it’s actually a compliment).

  26. You are a brave mother. You cannot let other peoples opinions bring you down. Instead of taking it personally look at that person and feel saddened for them. They are obviously insecure about themselves therefore trying to bring you down. Your children are all that is important. Hug them, cuddle them and know that the outside world means nothing, all that matters is the love for your children.

  27. Whoever is nasty enough to make such comments to a mum who loves and cares for her children is really not worth thinking about.
    Being able to “control” a child and make him behave is not good parenting at all. I’d much rather my kids were their noisy, happy, excitable selves. And they know they’re safe to be that with me. I imagine your kids are the same.

  28. Even in my advanced years, I am still amazed that there are so many parents around us who know how “to do it better.” I have been teaching first-grade religion for 15 years and seldom have I come across the perfect child. (Including my own!) How amazing that none of the “perfect parents” have had offspring who have made it into my class… In the blink of an eye, your children will be grown. All they will remember is the unconditional love you have shown them; the rest will disappear from memory. Steel yourself mom. And give yourself a pat on the back.

  29. You know reading your post, I had a similar situation, this was long before ADD was a common word. When my fourth son was in st grade, I was called to school, I went into my sons classroom and and was met by a 2 teachers, the principle, and a special ed teacher. What came next in front of them I dont wish on anyone, They proceeded to tell me that I needed to teach my child how to pay attention, that he needed to learn how to concentrate, that he wouldnt finish his work.

    Needless to say I wanted to crawl into the corner and disappear! I felt attacked from all sides, I felt horrible, I felt like I had failed as a mother. They all hit me from all angels. At the end they said I need to take him to a doctor that was just breaking into the area of ADD. After I left I cried all the way home and continued until I felt broken.

    But I made the appointment and we went to this doctor in the field of diagnosing ADD and he and his associates were pioneers in ADD. And indeed my son was diagnosed with ADD with few med options, but we tried them and it change my sons school learning world.

    All Im saying is that the way it was handled then broke my heart, dont let that happen to you, you are your kids rock of Gibraltar.

    Hugs
    Karren

  30. I bet you are doing a great job as a momma! My kiddos tend to act out more with me than when they are with others too- I think it’s only because they are most comfortable to be themselves with the one they love the most. You love them and they love you- and that’s all that matters!

  31. Oh my! I have also been questioned about my parenting skills. My two year old loves saying NO all the time and some people say that it may because I haven’t been ‘disciplining’ her enough πŸ™ I feel you, Mommy! Just hang in there!

  32. There are so many different parenting styles and I don’t think we, as moms, should question or judge one another. We should embrace one another. With that said, try not to take things personally. πŸ™‚

  33. The only validation you need is from your own boys. Just because someone got a small glimpse of your children being better behaved without you (their own opinion, not fact) doesn’t mean they know about your entire life. Everybody has an opinion, and if I may share my personal opinion: I think the bad mother is the one who raised such an inconsiderate person/people to say something so hurtful to a mother.
    Pay no attention/energy to those people, they don’t deserve it.

  34. I recall it was indeed not happy times when my younger sister was seperated from mom to go to school or the baby sitter but I did not like my mom so was happy to be taken to grand mas or school or whatever.

  35. People these days just don’t have manners or good people skills to be working with people. That’s something you never say to someone.

  36. This is such a normal thing that kids behave “better” (who defines “better” anyway?) with other carers, but not the person they’re most comfortable with. And it is exactly that – to our ids we’re comfort, which means they can kick, they can scream, they can express their emotions in any way they like and they will still be loved.

  37. Bullies come in all ages. What horrible, hurtful words. So glad to see that you have risen about these snide remarks because you are a rock star mom!!

  38. Words can never express my understanding to your story. So many things that people said really hurt my feelings and made me think that I would never measure up. my daughter would throw such tantrums dropping her off at school, she acted like I was never coming back, ohhh the stares I got. She was a stinker to put it nicely, when she was little but, out grew it. She knows she is loved and can come to me with anything. Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

  39. It’s funny because just yesterday my daughter threw a crying fit in the line at the store. She saw a Pikachu stuffed toy she wanted. Instead of presenting an argument with her words, she cried. Well, shoot, now I can’t even give it to her if I wanted to! It’s funny because the older women in line told me, “that’s awesome you didn’t give in!” and the younger moms will go (in my imagination) “you selfish mom, why don’t you give your daughter what she wants?”

  40. I can’t say better than anyone else here, but you must know that you are a fantastic mum and a wonderful person. Don’t take unhelpful criticism to heart – there are plenty of other people who are always willing to tell you how well you’re doing! Keep going!

  41. Wow, those were hurtful words! I can’t imagine how someone could say something so crude! Then again, there are some people with no social filters . . . We are about to become parents for the first time and it is tearing at my heart. I feel like in so many ways we have been preparing for this journey, yet the closer we get, the less prepared I feel. With so much stress from my husband’s job pressing down on us and friends and family being far away, somedays I just want to bury my head. We are praying that we can move closer to a support system of family and friends soon after our daughter is born.

  42. I have had those days. Well, love it when the neighbor watches the twins for me and they say they were perfect. I get the familiarity of being home and being yourself. Better days ahead I promise!

  43. I agree with the other comment–you need to trust your instinct on this. It makes me sad that others in your life would try to hurt you. I do hope you take strength in your own sense of being a good mother and let the negative comments wash to the side.

  44. OMG!!! I am amazed at the gall some people have! I would never tell another mother that they are “a bad mother”, especially since I’m not one! You are raising your boys the best way you know how, and that is all you can ask for πŸ™‚

  45. I have so been there, and from comments made by a family member. It took me awhile to regain my confidence and realize that I am in fact a good Mom and doing a heck of a good job. No one can love your kids like you do because you are their Mom and you’re kind of a big deal!

  46. Oh, how I feel like this so often! Being a stay at home mom and homeschooling when none of my other friends do this, any of it, makes it hard for them to even come close to understanding. But I love the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” My mom taught me that and I have taught it to my children. When I hear others talking about me, or if they say it to my face, I bite my tongue and think of this. My kids love me and I love them. That is all that matters.

  47. Amen to that! I always have the people who say ‘Oh, Rose is such an angel’ and I’m like, ‘HA you haven’t seen her at her usual speed…yet.’ Kids {almost} always behave better for people other than their parents – especially the parent they are around the most! The other people, specifically the ones who miraculously have ‘angel-children’ or no children, just don’t get that. πŸ™‚

  48. I hate when people say ignorant things such as this. When it happens to me I think it just adds to my already present inferiority complex in which I think that I will never be “good enough” as a mother. I really think it is easy to judge people without having to walk a mile in their shoes.

  49. Thanks for sharing. I know we all have had days where we felt this way. We all parent differently and the important thing is we do the best we can.

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