I recently had the opportunity to meet with a group of women that I would unlikely run into or know on a regular basis. All of which considered themselves a bad mom at one time or another. This was shocking to me because I thought that I was the only person that considered myself a bad mom for some of the things that I had done, but that is not the case.These women were all beautiful and had made some mistakes, but that never changed the love for their children. Sometimes we do things that aren’t unappealing or even right, but it doesn’t necessarily make us bad.
The First Young Mother
One of the women I met finally decided to stand up to her abusive husband and fight back. She had explained to me that it was hard because she loves her 7 month old son, but couldn’t take getting beat up by his father. She struggled with fighting back because she didn’t want to deprive her son from his father, but wasn’t sure what to do. I feel that her love for her son is actually what caused her to fight back and get out. Her son will likely thank her for it.
The Construction Worker
Another woman worked construction and made the mistake of missing a court appearance and ended up with a warrant for her arrest. She was a single mother and needed to work to provide for her child. Her story was quite entertaining! She had an amazing sense of humor! Although she finally realized she made the mistake of missing a court appearance, her love and need to provide for her child clouded her judgement in that moment.
The Unemployed Mother
The last woman I was speaking to had been with her wife for 20 years and have two small children together. She ended up losing her job and feeling like she failed her family in that moment. However, she was so happy and thankful that she and her wife were still able to provide a wonderful home for the kids. She also said it is just so nice to be able to take her kids to school and daycare and be home for dinner to tuck them into bed. She had worked nights before so dinner wasn’t always an option for her.
Even though she felt like a bad mom, in reality she was still doing a wonderful job. Truth be told, all of those women were doing a wonderful job at providing even when they made mistakes or felt like they failed their families. Which brings me to myself.
My Experience of being a Bad Mom
I have felt like a failure and a bad mom on so many occasions for my actions. I remember feeling depressed after having my daughter and feeling so guilty for feeling that way because I prayed so hard for her. I loved her so much and didn’t understand how I could feel so sad. I didn’t realize I was struggling with postpartum depression and I was too afraid and embarassed to tell anyone how I felt.
At times, I would have a couple glasses of wine after she was asleep just to calm the nerves and that would make me feel even worse. It wasn’t until having my son, I realized I was suffering from depression and I decided to speak up about it. So I got the help I needed to cope with depression, but the guilt didn’t stop. I felt guilty for needing help mentally to cope. However, there is nothing wrong with getting help. It is a sign of strength and love for your family when you are willing to get the mental help you need.
I remember feeling so awful for yelling at my daughter after having my son because she was being too rough with him. The look on her face broke my heart. She had been my only baby for two and a half years and now she felt that she had to compete for my affection. Bad mom syndrome struck again. I love them both very much, but I had never yelled before and felt awful for snapping at her. I just wanted to breakdown and cry.
No Manual for Motherhood
The truth is that these babies, children, and life do not come with an instruction manual. When you make a bad decision, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. Hell, some of us are only here because our parents made a mistake or bad decision (unless you were a planned baby), but that doesn’t mean they don’t love us!
Life throws things at us and sometimes we don’t know what to do. The choices that we make are based on what we think is right even when it turns out we were wrong. If you are reading this, you are likely not a bad mom at all. You are a human mother that loves her children very much and you have to stop feeling guilty. You are a mama bear that would do anything to protect her cub and there is a whole community that share the struggle.
I am not saying that there are no bad moms, but there are no perfect moms either. If you love your children and aren’t abusing them, you are definitely not bad. You are trying to figure it out just like the rest of us. So please don’t beat yourself up anymore. Going over all the bad decisions or mistakes you made in your past will keep you from enjoying the gifts of your children today and in the future.
What You Can Do
On a serious note, if you are struggling with the guilt, please speak to someone. It is okay to seek help because you are not alone. If you aren’t quite ready to speak to someone directly, here are the books I recommend to help you through:
Please feel free to share your story with us or leave a comment. I wish you the best of luck on this journey!