I Wasn’t A Good Mom


Dear Daughter,

Today, I wasn’t a good mom. The morning came too soon after a long and exhausting night. I rolled out of bed and put pants on an hour before you normally woke up. When I came into your room you were ready for me, your hair tousled and your smile crooked. “I up!” You said reaching your arms out to me. “I pay wif toys!”

I didn’t smile, not because I don’t love you, but because I just needed more sleep. And then the day came and you stuck stickers to the couch and I grumbled under my breath. You tried to play tag and kicked me in the chest and I yelled, “BE NICE TO MOM!” I realize now, I wasn’t yelling that at you. I was just yelling at the world. But how could you know that? You couldn’t, and I’m sorry.

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And when I went upstairs to go to the bathroom and you said, “NO MAM GO PODDY!” And I said, “Shut up!” It wasn’t my finest hour of parenthood.

I’m sorry I cried when you ate my lunch. The lunch I bought for both of us to feed my feelings. Because my feelings needed chicken nuggets, but apparently so did you. And I’m sorry I put you in time out when you made your plate do a little dance on the table. I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you when I put you down for nap, choosing instead to run away and lay in the guest room bed and just dwell in some silence.

I remember my own mom having days like this, when she seemed on the edge of something terrible, and we children tip toed around her, afraid and convinced it was us. I want you to know it is not you.  It is never you.

What this is is my heart hurting for things and reasons that fall outside of you. I’ll be better tomorrow, after a Diet Coke, after a crime show and after some sleep. But being a parent means many things, one of which is that I cannot always be the selfish mess I want to be.  This makes me a better person, but it is also oh so hard, when your eyes are tired and your back aches. You don’t need to know this now. And when you do need to know it, you will understand. But I want to apologize just so you know that I’m trying my very best, even when some days that best is a wreck.

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I hear you up from your nap. You are singing Taylor Swift, shouting “Neber, eber, EBER!” And then there is something about a rubber ducky. I’m going to get you now. We are going to eat fruit snacks and read some books. We’re going to snuggle and put some stickers back on the couch.

And tomorrow, I’m going to try again.

I love you.

Your Mom

About the writer

Lyz is a writer, blogger and pants-hating, chicken nugget eater. She is the mom to one little be-pigtailed girl and another due in July. You can find her on the Huffington Post, Mom.me, Mommyish or better yet, her own site, LyzLenz.com. Also, Twitter and Facebook.


Sorana 2 days ago

Thumbs up for having the courage to write something like this. Parenting is a bumpy road, sometimes.

Meredith 4 weeks ago

Here’s the thing. When you yell or you’re impatient or you handle a situation inappropriately, it’s important to own up to it. This is true whether the recipient of your bad behavior is your child, your spouse, your friend…whoever. And it’s important for moms to share these moments of real life human-hood, especially to combat the pressure we feel to be the “perfect mom”, “perfect wife”, etc. What bugged me about this article is the apparent guilt the writer felt for standing up for herself AND for teaching her child limits and empathy. I don’t care how old your child is…she doesn’t get to eat all of your lunch. And if you need to go to the bathroom, put your child in a safe place and go. And if you don’t want her to put stickers on your furniture, it’s ok to say “No. We don’t put stickers on furniture. Here’s a piece of paper instead.” You’re a person too, and she needs to know that. And you don’t have to feel guilty for telling her, “No, we’re going to share this food. Mommy needs to eat too.” Or, “Mommy’s going to the bathroom now, so you need to stay in your crib/Pack n Play/playpen, etc. I’ll be out in a bit.” The child may not fully understand what you are saying at the time, but she will get the hint: “My mom adores me and keeps me safe, but I’m not the only person in this world. Other people have needs too.”

anon 4 weeks ago

this was just so perfect in every way. thank you

Kirche 4 weeks ago

This made me sob. Oh, I have had those days. Thank you for sharing. Made me feel a little less alone.

Barbara 1 month ago

This doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you human. But, if you are having days like this very frequently, that could be a sign of depression. Especially if you are a SAHM who doesn’t regularly interact with other adults during the day, it can be really difficult to realize when you’re sliding down the slippery slope of depression, and, if there is a co-parent in the picture, their anger/frustration/lack of understanding might keep them from recognizing it, as well. If you feel like this more often than you don’t, please talk to your doctor.

Chris 1 month ago

You are are a horrible parent for letting your child listen to Taylor swift.

Lorrie 1 month ago

Oh good grief you weren’t a bad mom. You were a normal mom. P.S. making your kids mind when they act out (don’t play nicely, yell at you, taking something that isn’t theirs etc) isn’t being a bad mom it’s being a damn good mom!

upendo mzuah 1 month ago

i love your caring style

nida 1 month ago

we are blessed with children that’s why we don’t care of them.ask to the woman who has no child so she can tell us how blessed we are!

abi 2 months ago

so true it made me cry!

somuch 2 months ago

Nail. Head.

Tina 3 months ago

LOVE this. thank you!

The 21st Century SAHM 3 months ago

Thank you for this. I’ve been here so many times. I’m saving this to reread on my worst days, to know that I’m not alone, that I’ll do better tomorrow, and that they’ll forgive me. Thank you for your honesty.

Molly 3 months ago

From one frazzled, tired, not always my best mom to another, THANK YOU. I had this day on Friday. My poor babies looked at me in confusion when I yelled at them. It wasn’t their fault. We all fail at some point. But let’s not choose to be defined by our failures but by how we pick ourselves back up and try again. ❤️

Donna Mills 3 months ago

Thankyou for your honestly and for making me feel better about my own ‘I wasn’t a good Mum’ days, it just goes to show that we all have them and we’re not ‘Bad Mummy’s’ we’re just normal and doing the best we can.

Angelique 3 months ago

i want to print this out, put yesterday’s date on it, and stick it in my daughter’s birthday card in November for her to read in 15 years. because i have “this” day so often. it hurts. and if it hurts me, it must hurt her worse

TW 3 months ago

Loved the honesty in this as well! I have had some pretty bad “shouldnt have said that” moments lately with my 9 yr old, who has a multitude of issues, and feeling like a pretty crappy mom afterwards. Glad to see I am not alone… trying to get better one day at a time!

Anna Maria 3 months ago

It’s brilliant,honest and brave. Thank you for sharing. I have a 1 and 2 year old and I hate myself when I loose it. I love them more than anything in the whole world and their little,expressive faces breaking when I’ve lost my patience after they’ve both ripped all the petals off the flowers in the vase and thrown the stems all over the floor again or the 2nd plate of spaghetti bolognese thrown on the floor or another wooden car aimed at my head and meeting it’s target, on no sleep because they both wanted milk and mummy all night and then I had to change both their nappies because they drank too much.
I will keep trying to be patient . Because they are the best presents I have ever received and deserve the best of me. So what if the floor gets messy and I have to clean it yet again . I still have the most gorgeous little people on the planet .
It’s nice to know your not the only one though . Thanks

Lynda thurman 3 months ago

Beautifully written and oh so very true for all of us at some points in our lives.

Anonymous 3 months ago

It’s okay. You’ll be okay.

Karen 3 months ago

@Deb There are no perfect mothers. The ones who claim to be are liars, pure and simple. Don’t be afraid of having children because you fear you cannot be that perfect mom. It sounds to me like you will be the kind of mom who will love them with every ounce of your being. That’s what matters. You cannot measure yourself by the 18,000 “Here’s what the perfect mom does” articles because they’re simply not real life, realistic. Just be a mom because you want to contribute to the love and the good in the world. It will be worth it, I promise.

Karen 3 months ago

I had a few years like this, while I was battling severe depression. Thankfully my daughter, now almost 18, gets it. And she knows I love her more than anything or anyone in the world.

Missy 3 months ago

I can totally relate to this… thanks.for sharing! !

Done 3 months ago

I feel like this all the time. Sadly my husband lobes to.point out when I am nor patient or I am cranky. Makes it 10x worse. Hang in there.

Antanika 3 months ago

I really loved this. You weren’t a bad mum, You were a human.

Tami 3 months ago

Wow, Liz, thank you for having the courage to write this! In this day when saying anything opens you up to criticism, you are a rock star!

Rosiegene 3 months ago

I think I meant to say I THANK GOD and pray for your heart to be healed….. my old fingers don’t hit the right keys all the time.!

Rosiegene 3 months ago

I think, God bless and heal your heart and his!
I remember the first time I gave myself permission to yell at my precious son. I wish I hadn’t. He was trying, I was tired and the cola he spilled into my sewing machine didn’t help, but actually did not kill machine. Oh, by the way, they will learn to yell back ….
Be good to yourself and them and take a breath, put him in his room and quietly remember who you are and how you love them! It will get better.

M mommy 3 months ago

Saying shut up to your toddler? the baby talk sounds like baby is a toddler. ..i am no perfect mommy but that is mean.

Deb 3 months ago

It’s articles like this that add to my hesitation of being a mom. Feeling the need to be on point and perfect in order to be a good mom.

Anastacia 3 months ago

I have been a shitty bitchy mom to my boys all week. All they want is my attention and love and all I’m giving is yelling and anger. I am ashamed to admit that. I apologize but keep doing it day in day out. Tomorrow has got to stop because they deserve so much better. Thank you so much for sharing.

Shannel 6 months ago

Thank you so much for sharing, this gave me a laugh after feeling pretty down and even crying today. You made me realize that I am human and I’m not the only one. :)

kim 7 months ago

How refreshing!

Jodi 8 months ago

just started a family vacation… Had many mom guit moments today!! Travel days are the worst. Thank you for the post.

Radhika 10 months ago

this is so heartwarming.. I go through this almost every other day .. Pledging everyday to be a better person and a better mother .. Kids grow up so fast and then the time is over ..

monika 11 months ago

Thank you for saying the things I am too afraid to. Its nice knowing that I’m not alone on my bad mommy days

Amanda 11 months ago

Had one of these days this morning. Have been beating myself up about it all day. So glad I saw this today. Even though “I know” I’m not the only mom who yells, it helps to actually hear someone else say it too. Tomorrow is a new day and a chance to do better.

Julie 11 months ago

Compare our insides to others outsides. not change them.

Julie 11 months ago

Yes, thank you. I have had many not shiny moments of parenthood. Some worse than others but as it was said a little bit every day. It’s easy to change our insides to other people’s outsides but you never know what someone else is going through. We are more alike than we are different. There’s no such thing as perfect parenting.

Samantha Scott 11 months ago

I am feeling this particularly hard.

Elizabeth Stephenson 11 months ago

I so get how you feel. I’ve been there, done that. My kids are older now and I still regret those days. Sometimes it felt like there were more of those days than the happy ones. We are so hard on ourselves!!!! But you know what? My kids don’t seem to remember me the way I remember me! They love me and have many happy memories!!!

Erin 11 months ago

So right there with you. Too often, lately. Thanks for sharing. It helps.

Kate Miller 11 months ago

All mommy’s have those days, whether they want to admit it or not

Brianne Howell 11 months ago

Whoa…. Totally needed this. Thanks for the brutal honesty….

Melany Hill 11 months ago

Oh this made me cry, this is how I’ve been lately

Louise Ferguson 11 months ago

You cannot take a sick day when you are a mother. I used to pray for a minute of solitude so I could pray. Then, it’s over. The most important years of your life have taken only a small percentage of your total life. You will get through this, get over this, and get better at this. I remember getting into a fight with a neighbor at my apt. Complex because it wasn’t my day to use the laundry. My baby had gone through her entire wardrobe, sheets, and our towels in an hour. No one was using the machines. I had the flu as well and sincerely hope I gave it to her. That witch was the right person for me to take out all my negative feelings.

Amanda Lindeman 11 months ago

Spot on for me today! Tomorrow is a new day, and I will try harder. Thanks for the honesty! It’s so great to know, I’m not alone.

Shefanih Baichoo Bissessur 11 months ago


Kim Kay 11 months ago

There are far too many days I feel I could write this post.

Sue Callahan Vopicka 11 months ago

Thank God for fresh starts!

April Lynn Lehmann 11 months ago

Man there are times I’ll say something I shouldn’t to my kids…and then I feel like dirt. So I’ll go back and tell them I love them and I didn’t mean it. And they always say they know and they love me. So then I feel like dirt even more. Parenting is no joke but I love it anyway.

Christy Bernhard 11 months ago

Thank you. Glad I’m not the only one with days like this and the guilt that goes with it. Trying everyday to be a good mom.

Christian 11 months ago

My stepdaughter just went home to her bio mom and won’t see her again for 7 months. I have been feeling guilty for the moments like these especially because I won’t be with her again for so long. Hope she just remembers how much I do love her and that she forgives me for the times that I couldn’t be a good “mom”. I feel better having read this. Thank you!

Sarah Sousa Stevens 11 months ago

I so get this!

Mika Roberts 11 months ago

I can’t even find the words to say to explain how much this touched my heart. I cried as i read it because its just such a relief to know I’m not alone, i can stop being so hard on myself and accept that there are days like this..

Stephanie Myers 11 months ago

This made me cry. I definitely have days like this. It’s hard being a Mom but so wonderful at the same time! I just wish I had more patience.

Elizabeth Sasso Smith 11 months ago

Love it mama!

Johnson Jerry Sharron 11 months ago

we are only human. we make mistakes. i’m old, i have thoughts of making to much of the small stuff. i know i made mistakes. i feel bad some of the times. i do have two remakable wonderful, thoughtful, loving, caring,extremly nice sons in my life. …………we did ok all of us.

kristin 11 months ago

To relate to this is to be a mom. Or a dad, I’m sure.

Maia Silvestro Masciangelo 11 months ago

This made me feel normal.

Cathy-Lee Chopping 11 months ago

Absolute truth

Denise Louise Stewart 11 months ago

I love this and how real this site is. So many false ‘my child is so perfect i never get annoyed’ parents out there. Just because you get annoyed like any human dont make you a bad person. It’s learming to admit and cope thetefore this teaches your child great self awareness and that we all have shit days

Shanna Miles 11 months ago

I’m so glad that I read this! I have a toddler and a tween. I have a few days like this after a bout with insomnia. It is SO relieving to know I’m not the only mom that will admit to not being perfect. Thank you so much for being unapologetic about being you. I’m sorry that you have days like this but it’s nice not feeling alone in not feeling like the perfect mom.


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