I Feel Like I'm Failing As A Mom

by Mellisa Skolnick
Originally Published: 
Resolution Productions/Getty

I look in the mirror as we brush your teeth. Your perfect little Chiclets slathered in the foam of paste. You are looking at me, smiling with those perfectly oval hazel eyes. Your tiny, chubby, perfectly designed digits twirl around the bottom of my t-shirt.

I look at you and I cannot fathom that I created you. That the blood that runs through your angelic veins is mine. The bones that hold your fragile structure were forged in my womb. Fragments of your DNA will forever be embedded in my heart. We may be separate beings, but I will never look at you as anything but an extension of my soul.

I am sorry.

I will never be worthy of the love you show me. I can never amount to the individual you deserve.

I am not sure how I got here. I am not sure I was ever, or could ever have been, ready to have you. Although I created you, I didn’t know what I was doing. You didn’t come with an instruction manual. You were born speaking a foreign language to me, and I am not sure I can ever learn it.

I look at you and you deserve the stars in a jar. You are worthy of greatness I can only imagine. This world is not fit for a dreamer like you. No perfect the bubble I create would be safe, or strong, or fortified enough to keep you as perfect as you are at this very moment.

I am sorry.

I lose my patience with you. I cannot comprehend the reason behind the decisions you make. I don’t understand why you chose to do everything on your own when I am offering to do it for you. I yell. A lot. It’s my frustration in you learning to be an individual. My inability to adjust to the developments your body is going through now that you are no longer inside me.

I am sorry.

I demand you sit still, listen, follow directions, and obey arbitrary rules and commands that you don’t understand. I ask of you to complete tasks that are far less interesting than the adventures you awake with in your heart each morning. I ground your feet, when all you want to do is fly.

I love you in the only way I know how. Although I gave you life, growing you from the tiniest of cells, I didn’t know what that entailed. I still cannot grasp the idea that this being that envelops me in the mightiest of hugs, who I was literally attached to for ten months, now wants to be their own person. How could I be in this situation?

I am sorry.

Somehow you got stuck with me. A mediocre woman who is struggling with figuring out this mama thing. I try hard at making sure you stay in one piece. Since I created you, your survival is entrusted to me. My sole job each day is to ensure you become a human being you can be proud of.

I feel so completely inept at being your mother. I feel I fail in so many ways that I should be excelling. I wish I’d held you longer as a baby. That I wasn’t bothered by the four, sometimes more, wakings at night, or the hundreds of requests a day to complete a menial task. I want desperately to make it through just one day without raising my voice and the neighbors shutting their windows. For you, I want to be a person of such greatness.

I am sorry.

My job description, and lack of preparedness, means we are going to argue. I am going to stop you from doing things I deem ridiculous (even if you find them acceptable risks). I will ask you ten times, and still yell the eleventh, to get dressed or put on your shoes. I will punish you and sometimes be your worst enemy, to ensure your safety. We will not always see eye to eye.

I am sorry.

I will push the swing until my arms hurt, but I will also always push you to try harder in life. I am and will forever be, your biggest fan. I will cheer you on in every challenge you accept in life. In every accomplishment, I will bask in the glory as if it were my own. In every sadness, I will weep your tears. Quite the individual, you will embark on amazing adventures, make monumental decisions, and one day, Lord willing, have the opportunity to create life yourself, but know, even in these moments, even if I am miles away, you will always be a part of me.

I will always try my best. I will always do what I can to be the person you need, but even that will not be what you deserve. I will always feel I fall short of the greatness you warrant. The desire to be better, the guilt of my shortcomings, will be my driving force. I am sorry for my ineptness but know that no one will ever love you more. You are the greatest part of me, and for that, I will never apologize.

This article was originally published on