All of us have had moments where we feared we went too far. Maybe we were too rough. Maybe we yelled too loud. Maybe we were crueler in our words than we ever thought we could be because we were at the end of our ropes emotionally, or running on empty, or just simply feeling weak as a human being that day.
Before we had kids, those were the days we’d hole up at home and try to have a little contact with others as possible. But you can’t hide from your children. They need to be fed and clothed and taken places and parented whether we’re feeling great or whether we’re feeling at our absolute worst.
That’s when sh*tty mom moments happen. And we’re not just talking about I’ll-laugh-at-this-later times when we let our kids eat a bag of Cheetos for dinner or forgot to pick them up from Girl Scouts or put body lotion in their hair instead of conditioner. We all have moments when we are really, truly sh*tty to our kids—moments that, while not abuse, took us aback and made us realize how human we are in our weaknesses, our fatigue, and our own histories with our own moms’ sh*tty moments.
These moments are the source of real, gut-scraping mom guilt. And every mom has experienced them at least once.
- When I yelled way too loud, when I grabbed my daughter and shook her, when I got in her little face because she would not stop whining and nothing else seemed to get through. The fear in her eyes, the way her features crumpled—almost as if I’d betrayed her—will stick with me forever.
- I treated my daughter more like a friend than my kid, and ended up sharing too much about my relationship struggles with her dad. No kid wants to hear that sh*t, and it really upset her. I was hurting and sad, and she seemed so mature and sympathetic at the moment. My maternal filter just wasn’t working the way it should.
- It’s a shame we need to be fearful of the truth, because the truth is, we all have crappy mom moments. No parent is infallible, no matter how much parent education and training one has.
- My oldest can push my buttons like no other. Most of the time I’m proud of how I communicate with her. But once or twice, I have said truly cutting things. The worst part is watching what I’ve said sink in. Watching her understand and absorb this new level of interaction that she isn’t—and shouldn’t be—ready to engage in yet. I should be protecting her from those kinds of adult slings and arrows, and then I end up being the one to throw them.
- I can think of no other profession where there’s so much pressure to be perfect. Parents are people too, and thereby NOT perfect. I feel like there is so much pressure to attain this impossible perfection, and I want to shout from the rooftops, “Sometimes I suck as a mom, and I’m okay with that.” Maybe if we were more transparent about how difficult parenthood really is, and own up to, and accept our mistakes, everyone would be better off.
- Sometimes when I get too tired to argue, I let my kids eat junk food and stay up too late watching TV. There, I said it.
- I know I’m a good mom. I would never intentionally hurt my children, and I hope they’ll be able to forgive me those times when I did. I’m working on forgiving myself, and every day I try to be better, even on days when I feel completely unfit to be a parent.
- I yelled at my toddler this afternoon after she pulled the chair I was about to sit on (while holding her baby brother) out from under me. This was after a traumatic pediatrician visit with two unhappy children.
- While watching my preschool-age daughter at the playground, I got a call from my husband freaking out after our son (an infant at the time) rolled off our bed during a nap. The fall onto the hardwood floor caused his lip and nose to part ways, resulting in much blood and crying. We met at the children’s ER, our son got stitched up, and time healed the wound. You might think this would go under sh*tty DAD moments, but of course, I took on plenty of the guilt, too. We should never have let him napped on our bed! I should have told my husband that was a bad idea and he should never do it! Sometimes you do stupid things as a parent and regret them when they go wrong. I’m just glad the consequences were relatively mild in this case.
What are your sh*tty mom moments?
Feel free to comment (anonymously if you want) and get your “mom fails” off your chest. Let other mamas know they’re not alone in their imperfection.