The Mother I Thought I’d Be

I always knew I’d have children; that was just something in the cards for me. I remember being a teenager and talking with a friend about where we saw ourselves at 35, and my response was, married with kids. She said she was never having kids because she’d never be able to be “the mother she wanted to be”. At the time I thought her words were so bizarre, so strange. How could she know the future? You are the person who decides how you will act, what moral compass you will follow. You dictate your future. At 15, I was really into that whole dogma.

Now, looking back on that conversation, I’m shocked at the words of wisdom provided to me by a person who was so young. She was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY right on. I am nothing like the mother I thought I would be. That doesn’t mean that I’m not a good mom, although I do have my moments of total insanity. But I’m not “that mom”. That imaginary figment could never fly around here.

Mother I Thought I’d be: My children will always be able talk to me, about anything, and I won’t judge them.

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Mother I Am: They talk to me, about anything, and I judge the ever-loving shit outta them. I judge them so hard I’m Judge Judy. I don’t always hand down a sentence but believe me, I judge. And they aren’t even teenagers yet. Oy.

Mother I Thought I’d be: My kids will always be able to pick the radio station in the car.

Mother I Am: Fuck that. After hearing Timber a million times I’m picking the radio station. “When you have a car you can listen to what you want.” {Did I just say that? My mother used to say that}

Mother I Thought I’d be: I will actively play with my kids all the time.

Mother I am: I can’t believe I even thought this was possible when I was younger. Like, I actually resented my mother at times because I didn’t think she played with me enough. And she played with me a lot! Between the housework, the siblings, the drop-offs and the pick-ups, I’m lucky if I get to eat a meal sitting down. Play with you? Another game of Candy Land? We’ve already played five. You must be joking.

Mother I Thought I’d be: My children will travel. We will see the world together.

Mother I am: Traveling costs money. Traveling with small children is a mind numbing siege that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. The last trip we took was a two hour car trip to a soccer tournament and I actually considered putting duct tape over the mouths of the older two. Travel? I don’t fucking think so.

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Mother I thought I’d be: Each of my children will have their own personality, and I won’t let their behavior, good or bad, change how I feel about myself.

Mother I am: Wrong, wrong, wrong. When they accomplish something fantastic, I too, feel fantastic. When they act like animals, I see that as a direct reflection of my parenting failures. Just because I feel this way doesn’t make it right, but it’s still how I feel.

No, I’m not the mother I thought I’d be. Far from it. I have cobwebs in my house, I’m not hip, I’m embarrassing, and I’m not always fair. But I am here for them… 24/7, no matter what.

And I’m laughing.

And I’m trying.

Related post: The Perfect Mother 

About the writer


Amy grew up in the suburbs of Long Island singing Barbara Streisand hits into her hairbrush.  When she's not writing her hilarity fueled parenting memoir as The Outnumbered Mother, she's a Florida living, butt wiping, soccer team carting, gourmet chef attempting, tennis skirt wearing, non-tennis playing, self-proclaimed bad mamma jamma to 3 sons and a very understanding husband.  Find her on her blog, The Outnumbered Mother, on Facebook and Twitter.

From Around the Web


Natasha 1 year ago

I am not the mother I thought that I would be also. But my kids think that I am totally awesome. Even after screaming dont sing that fucking frozen song one more time or else I will put you out my house. Or how about playing hide and seek in my closet the minute I hear little feet approaching my bedroom door. Im not perfect but they think I am and a little bipolar as my oldest call me.

Nickie Johnson Keefe 1 year ago

I thought when I had children that they were going to be well behaved, listen to everything I said, and never throw tantrums. Boy did I get a reality check with my two year old son. Lol!

Katherine Hunt Arabis 1 year ago

I never thought I’d have kids so I’d say, taking that in consideration.. all and all, I’m hanging in there.

Mayra Pacheco 1 year ago

So true. Although, there are some things I actually didn’t know I had the strength or tolerance to endure. I admire you ladies for pressing on and not being afraid to tell it like it is. <3 I realize that I do sound like my mom at times, though – that’s something I’d never thought would happen. LOL!

Ulandi Potgieter 1 year ago

Not really hey my daughter changed me the day they placed her in my arms.

Victoria McCorkindale 1 year ago

No. I was going to be super patient and calm. Having a child with ADHD has tested my patience to the fullest and I yell far more than I like. I’m a work in progress.

Jelly Juice 1 year ago

yup spend years thinking my kid wont act that way i will use cloth diapers i will breast feed and 9months later baby pops out cloth diapers last a week breast feeding lasts 2weeks and yes ur child does act like that! lmao

florence villena 1 year ago

i never thought i’d be a nagger. that’s all i do now. nag nag nag

Natarsha Bailey 1 year ago

After 20 years of raising kids (oldest 20 today youngest almost 5) Im now the mum I Thought I would never be… I cant wait to get off to work or (soon back to uni) not because I dont love them but because any adult social conversation is often better listening to than squabbles. Plus Im alot more chilled when I am finally home.

Fabiola Arauz 1 year ago

Yes, I am a mother and not my child’s bf. This does not mean that I am a bad mother or a good one, but in my mind, I fill my own high expectations.

Jennifer Aviles Matule 1 year ago

Not at all

Rachel Villanueva 1 year ago


Daniella Perez 1 year ago

Definitely not.

Linda Kendall-Thompson 1 year ago

At 15, 20, 25, 30 I did not want kids. Thought I’d visit upon my kids the sins of my parents and all that stuff. Then birth control mishap and I became Mom. I have surprised myself that I don’t beat my kids because I had a bad day or they interrupt my TV show. I have surprised myself that I discovered my mother was not the putz I made her out to be in my youth. She brought home the bacon, cooked the bacon and served that bacon up to her children. She had a job that prevented her from attending in-school functions, but she helped with homework and reading every night. I have become my mother, with a better job and the opportunity to take time to see the in-school functions and ability to pay for the extracurricular activities that I THOUGHT made a good parent. But I was right about that sins of the fathers BS…I have found myself in the 3rd generation of bad partnerships. So if I have failed in my parenting, it is by choosing the wrong partner and it is very apparent to my little owls.

Mandy Engelbrecht 1 year ago

lol no, but then I didn’t intend to become a mother – love my son to bits & pieces, but things happen due to contraception hiccups that derail the best-laid plans

Jennie Reis 1 year ago

LOL Awesome blog!

April Johnson 1 year ago

I’m doing much better than I thought I would.

Natta Myers 1 year ago

I pretty much had to throw the notion of the mom I wanted to be out the window before I left the hospital with my daughter when I couldn’t breast feed like I planned to exclusively do.. And it went down hill expectation wise from there. Today she’s a happy and beautiful 7 year old so I’m doing something right.. When I dreamed of being a mom, I never factored in the possibility of having a child with a disability. I didn’t get the child I expected, and I had to learn to let that go and accept all of the child I got. I couldn’t have fathomed the journey we’re taking when I dreamed of motherhood. Raising her, changed me.

Connie Elliott 1 year ago

Omg you crack me up so True. Thank you for being so you!

Trianna Landon 1 year ago

Nope… I thought I’d be the CIO, spank them if they’re bad type. Now I’m hoping to BF until 18m, cloth diapering, and anti-TV. Where did this crunchy mama come from?!

Why, Mommy? 1 year ago

I had just made peace with the fact that I’d never have kids, after trying for years. At 41, I was very surprised to find out that I was pregnant! A truly nightmarish pregnancy resulted in a fantastic kid… who teaches me every day to keep my shit together & help her grow… and challenges me to be the best Mom I can be to her. I f*ing love it!

Sonja Parmer 1 year ago

With one..hell yes. With two.. I feel frazzled, clueless and out of control!!! Is that just me?? Lol

Kate M Shannon 1 year ago

No, I thought somehow before I had mine that I’d be up all night with my eyes glued to them making sure they were still breathing, and that I’d spend all day making silly faces, singing songs and bouncing them on my knee..Now I realize doing that aaaallll day is impossible, (well they gotta nap sometime..And nap time is mommy time! woo) and most of the time I feel like I’m neglecting my kid…But I’m not, and I’ve got articles like this from down-to-earth moms and other super realistic moms in my life (who are my age!) to help me stop worrying so much.

Crystal Shovlowsky 1 year ago

This is perfect! I can relate.

Jessica Ann Wernimont 1 year ago

Haha no.

Lonna McCullen 1 year ago

I didn’t think I’d be an attachment mother. Always said I’d make our baby sleep in his own bed and such. Alas he doesn’t

Amee Collins Drahos 1 year ago

Awesome, so well said, I thought I was the only one who felt like this.

Billie White 1 year ago


Shannon 1 year ago


Angel Palmer 1 year ago

No I wanted to be the cool mom where all the kids would hang out… Oh no my nerves can’t take it.

Julie Bugner Noskowicz 1 year ago

So true. But I think it’s because I have to adjust my parenting to fit my husband’s strengths & shortcomings. And vice versa. Never thought I’d be a non spanking disciplinarian. It was tough at first, but now I’m glad the hubs insisted. But sometimes I wish he’d be the one to put his foot down.

Shea Jones Niedzwiecki 1 year ago

Wow !! Perfect I have tears

Darrell Melissa Farszmil 1 year ago

I was always the girl babysitting & pretending to play house. I always wanted to be married & have children & I would be the perfect wife & mother. Then I did have children & the rose colored glasses were smacked off & reality hit. Life was now about survival with these little creatures. Travel… Lord no!! Even if I did have the $ hell no!!

Virginia IceKream Crouch 1 year ago

I’m not the mom I thought I’d be either.

Jody Neece 1 year ago

To quote my high school principal, “I used to have no children and 3 theories on raising children. I now have 3 children and no theories on raising children.” :)

Kallie Jane Stewart 1 year ago

This article is great. I am FTM, around 20 weeks along with a little girl. I am driving myself insane with worry that I am not going to be a perfect mom. My mom set the bar high and I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. Until now, I have only been a “chihuahua mom”-a damn good one but I don’t think that’s quite enough training ;). I’m excited and extremely nervous, to find out what kind of mom I’ll be, my strengths and weaknesses. Only time will tell ♡

Brandy Mays 1 year ago

Love love love!!! And so true!

Diane 1 year ago

LOL This is so true. My son is only four and I already feel these things. Some days I don’t iike me, how could anyone else???

We are going to make it though, together. :)

Crystal Camarda 1 year ago

OMG so true!! I try. Every. Day. But I’m not the mother I thought I’d be… :-/

Sarah Guyon Gerrish 1 year ago

Nothing in life had ever gone exactly as I thought it would – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Krystal Taillon 1 year ago

Absolutely love your honesty! There are days when I’m like “Ugh, my kids are being such dicks today…”, and people get huffy and can’t believe I’d say that about them. They’re human! I know I act like a dick sometimes, and so do they lol We all have our bad days, and some of those bad days turn into an absolute nightmare… that’s when mommy drinks after the kids go to bed, haha (kidding/not kidding). Doesn’t mean I love them any less 😉

Melissa Elfreth Antunes 1 year ago

Thank you for this. It’s oddly comforting because it is true perfection.

Jennifer Anne Weedon 1 year ago

I am the best I can be. There is room for improvement, no doubt about that!! But I am human.
We all reconise that children have different stages of childhood but we all forget that means different stages of parenthood as well!! chill out!! we mess up and we make up

Mary 1 year ago

On the traveling thing- Wait until they’re older.

We went to Disney when my two were 9 and 6. It was great. (We also had an Aunt with us who’s been many times, and who helped plan our itineraries so we weren’t standing in long lines etc).
I saw people there with 2 and 3yo’s having complete and total meltdowns… It did look like a nightmare, and I can’t imagine kids that young will even remember.

We started camping around that time, too, and it couldn’t have been better. At around ages 11 and 8 or so, the kids were allowed to go on short excursions around the campgrounds on their own, as long as they stayed together and checked in with us often. HEAVEN.

Now, at 17 and 14, we camp every year. Last year we did a water park, and saw a bear. (And Mom’s half-awake mumble as son was slipping out to relieve himself in the woods, “Don’t pee on the bear!” is still a running joke around here.)

So, do travel. Just wait til they’re old enough to hold their water for more than an hour at a time and won’t have a screaming meltdown if you can’t find the EXACT stuffy they want from the disney store. :)

Mary Schneider 1 year ago

Not at all. lol
I thought I had my own issues under control. Seven years of daycare, I HAD this. I knew what I was doing. I would be the endlessly patient mom who baked cookies and played with the kids in the park and did the dishes after they went to bed…

Turns out I was the mom for whom late nights and sleep deprivation triggered my PTSD symptoms. I was the mom who woke up at 3am on the bathroom floor after a bad night, unsure of my surroundings, or how I got there. I was the mom who had to go back into counseling and into parenting classes to learn more about child development so that I could handle my kids’ strong wills and epic tantrums without going absolutely out my mind.

I’m also the mom who has been at home with my kiddos for 14 years, and who is holding it together after the ex bailed on us. I’m the mom who took my kids, and their two friends, camping at a water park last summer, where we saw a bear in the campground (!!!). I’m the mom building memories with them, and helping them prepare for whatever comes next.

I’m not the mom I thought I’d be, but, I hope one day my kids will look back and be glad I was theirs.

Monica Dunn Wilson 1 year ago

Probably could have been a better Mother, but did the best I could at the time. Now it’s all good as they have all grown up and I am still young enough to enjoy them as adults.

Leslie Dupre’ Brodnax 1 year ago

Not by a long shot!

Tiffany Beaverson Chouteau 1 year ago

I am a calmer, less OCD Mom than I wanted to be. I have learned to pick my battles, accept that I can’t control everything and that I just need to go with it. Overall, a better person, but still imperfect Mommy, but the best Mommy to my twins. I get a lot of crap for what I said I’d do when I would become a parent- yeah reality sets in and I’m grateful for that. I still need to work on worry and utter frustration though.

Nessa Grace 1 year ago

Not the mother I thought I’d be, but I don’t regret my decisions

Shannon Vargesko 1 year ago

Better actually. 😉

Jill Weyer Ross 1 year ago

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

Wilma Rodriguez-Linton 1 year ago

Im not the mother I thought I would be, but I didnt get the child I thought I would get. Twenty some years later, I would change a few tjings but we did just fine and I’m pleased with both of us.

Ashley Atkinson Patton 1 year ago

I’m nothing like the mama I thought I’d be because growing up I never wanted kids. Then after 5 years of marriage guess I grew up enough that it changed my mind. I have two wild, crazy, and slightly annoying boys lol, that I love dearly, plus one on the way! I know I’m too hard on myself and set unrealistic expectations, but I’m doing the best I can. Some days I have better patience than others. Guess that’s just being a mama!

Sylvia J Sattler Hofland 1 year ago

I didn’t think anything, I just did it.

Channa Glenn Peters 1 year ago

Not even close.

Amy Hoyer Harkins 1 year ago

What a great post! Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad I am not alone (I know I’m not, but seeing it or hearing it helps tons!) in this incredible journey of parenting!

Melissa Jacobs 1 year ago

Nope. I thought I’d be strict discipline & schedule wise, and be ok with letting him cry, never letting him in my bed, all that…not even close. My son has taught me how to be flexible!! To listen to him more, teach him rather than demand. Definitely harder than I imagined, but I’m so glad I’m learning what I am!

Kristina D Moya 1 year ago

Well said.

Amanda Jewett Zekanis 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this! I’m still pretty new at the gig but I already am not the mother I thought I’d be. Endless patience? Yeah, not on your life, kid! Now go to sleep, dammit!

Sarah Missel Davis 1 year ago

I think this article was written about me. Almost all those points were mine and I totally agree with how things turned out.

Danelle Pecard Kornowski 1 year ago

At least I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Lol

Kristen Azari 1 year ago

No. Hell no. I laugh really hard when I think about it!

Bethanie Vi 1 year ago

I’m different to how I thought I’d be. Whilst longing for motherhood, I did not factor in working full time and the tiredness that comes with it. Neither did I factor in my husband’s disability and trying desperately trying to make ends meet on a single income and worrying when I can’t give her the basic things she needs.
However, these challenges probably make me a better Mum in other ways.

Katina Scarbrough 1 year ago

I never planned to be a mother at all, so no, I guess.

Stephanie De Bear 1 year ago

I thought I’d have more patience and that I would never ever yell. LOLOLOL. Yeah, ok.

Michaela Hickman 1 year ago

No, I’m actually better than I thought I’d be.

Judy Smith 1 year ago

No, but im good at something & terrible at others

Attie Lordan 1 year ago

I had very low expectations for how good a mom I’d be. I was right. Now and again I surprise myself and hit one outt the park.

Robyn Caplinger 1 year ago

I am nothing like the mother I thought I would be. I’m a lot calmer and more patient than I was pre baby.

GayLynn Van Camp Fisher 1 year ago

Some days, yes….others, not so much!

Jessica Sato 1 year ago

My son is only 1 and I already know I’m never going to be the mother I thought I would be and I’m starting to accept that it is perfectly ok lol

Bobbie Lawhorn Kirk 1 year ago

Kids have a way of taking back the smugness of how you thought you’d be. I’m not the mom I thought I’d be in some ways but better in the ways I never thought about. Having an asshole kid(yes he’s an asshole)changes the game plan.

Jessica Vaughn-Martin 1 year ago

I was the friend who never wanted/expected to have kids. That said the universe had different plans and has proved me 100% right. I am NOT the mother I thought I would be. Better at some things, worse at others.

Sarah Fritz-Maldonado 1 year ago

Lmfao love it

Tash Bruckshaw 1 year ago


Anina Robb 1 year ago


Lori Levine 1 year ago

The traveling- yes

Lynn Jones 1 year ago

I’m actually a lot better at this shit than i thought i’d be. Not bragging – I thought I would be absolutely terrible. I was diagnosed as menopausal last year…. and then it turned out I was pregnant. And I’m absolutely loving motherhood. Wish I’d had more confidence earlier.

Gail Rabba 1 year ago

Words of wisdom

Lesley May 1 year ago

That post is too funny….and so me! LOL But I do think I’m better in most ways. I was really hard on myself…as usual. But the things in the post….some are bang on!

Kendra E. King 1 year ago

I am in every way EXCEPT when she yells, “Mommy” repeatedly. Then I just want to hug her tight and duct tape her sweet little mouth shut.

Brittany Brian Wemet 1 year ago

I think I put myself down with worry when I was expecting. Now? I think I’m a way better mom then I thought I would be!