5 Reasons Why I Suck at Being a Mom Sometimes

I’ve had my fair share of mom-fail moments in the three short years I’ve been one, from dragging my tantrum-throwing kid on the floor to yelling at him during bath time. And while we learn from these experiences, I’ve learned that challenges never really stop, and instead simply evolve depending on the current circumstances. Take, for instance, some recent episodes where I sucked at being a mom:

I get frustrate at my son for having poop accidents.

All the parenting books advice you not to get upset when kids have potty accidents because doing so might lead to regression, shame and confusion among others. Instead of frustration, wise parents are supposed to react matter-of-factly or perhaps change their strategy.

But poop is gross. Cleaning it is gross. And it seems so darn easy to just poop in the potty, especially when he’s done it several other times in the past, that why he’s pooping in his undies can baffle even the best of moms. So I got frustrated.

And here’s where I earn a mom fail, because how we react does matter. Bowel movements are personal, especially at this young of an age, and we can’t simply vent frustrations on someone trying to learn.

So now I tried a new method. We had been telling him to tell us when he had to pee or poop, but sometimes he’s playing alone in his room, or we’re too far away for him to run and fetch us. Instead, we now tell him that if he needs to use the potty, that he should just run to the bathroom and yell out, “Poop!” or “Pee!”, guaranteeing that we’ll hear him and meet him in the bathroom. And what do you know—no poop accidents since then.

I look forward to my kid’s bedtime.

I know I’m supposed to miss my kid, especially when I’m not even a stay-at-home mom. But I’ve been guilty—many times—of being bored out of my mind and sneaking glances at the clock just counting down the minutes until his bedtime. Perhaps it’s the fatigue from a long day (whether at work or at home with him), the responsibilities of taking care of him, or just wanting a moment of peace that doesn’t involve kid conversations (you know what I’m talking about), but there have been many days when I just can’t wait until he’s out of my sight.

5 reasons why I suck at being a mom sometimesI feel inconvenienced when my kid is sick.

Part of my son going to preschool involves acclimating ourselves to germs, aka getting sick a lot, and that’s exactly what happened those first few weeks. My son came down with fevers, colds and coughs that, while I was concerned about his health of course, elicited more of an inconvenience on my part. Talk about major mom fail for thinking, “Oh man, one of us has to stay home with him now.”

Even now, monitoring the twins’ well-being, however important it is considering my cholestasis, has me rolling my eyes at my thrice-weekly doctor appointments.

Thankfully my kiddo has now been immunized and fits right in with his fellow germ-infested friends at school, so getting sick hasn’t been a frequent occurrence, but I still feel guilty for considering my own conveniences along with his health.

I ignore my son’s coughs at night.

Thanks to my pregnancy complications, I’m running on two hours of sleep. I’m exhausted. Still, those are but excuses I make for not at least offering the kiddo some water when he’s hocking up a lung coughing at night. Instead, what did I do? I tuned it out and hoped that he’ll eventually fall back asleep. Mom fail!

I speed-read through story time.

On most nights, I love reading to my son. We read slowly, I mention characters, I ask questions and answer his as well. Heck, I even use different voices. But again, sometimes there have been one too many questions asked, where we’ve been on the same page for the last three minutes, and I’m speed-reading through his books, skipping sentences and brushing aside his questions with a quick, “yeah…”


It’s a bit embarrassing admitting all this, but cathartic and amusing as well. Not a single one of us is perfect, and these are but a few of the many times I’ve been less than stellar in the mom category. I’m only reassured in the fact that I’m mostly okay, that these incidents are but a small percentage, and that thankfully children are some of the most forgiving people. Especially with skipping practically half of The Lorax.

What are some examples of when you had a mom fail moment?


Nina is a working mom to three boys—a five-year-old and toddler twins. She blogs about parenting at Sleeping Should Be Easy, where she writes everything she's learning about being mom and all its joys and challenges. She also covers topics like how kids learn and play, family life, being a working mom and life with twins. Download her free ebook, "Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom" for more tips.


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  1. says

    Nina, I do all the above and I’m not even pregnant with twins :-). I also shout at Emma when I have to repeat myself for the 10th time on something and I say stupid things to her, like I did the other day, that I don’t even like her. These things happen, I suppose, when we are fed up, overtired, undernourished…etc. Take heart, we still think you’re a great mum!
    Oana79 recently posted..Healthy Living Challenge: Day 12 – New FlavoursMy Profile

  2. says

    So healthy (and funny) to purge this stuff – we’ve all been there. My biggest mom fail is my lack of playtime stamina. We play for 15 minutes and I get tired of the repetition and I wander off to check email or do dishes, which can’t make my daughter feel great. That’s why this kid needs a damn sibling!
    Amy recently posted..I Need A MiracleMy Profile

  3. says

    Thanks for being so open Nina.

    I made a list March of last year and I still think I suck at being a mom when I decide it’s easier NOT to take the kids to their scheduled (and PAID for) activities!!! Ugh!

    I have a feeling that you are a fantastic mom and don’t feel bad about the above. Being conscious is half the battle! 😉
    Betty recently posted..Infograph: Effects of StressMy Profile

    • says

      Haha, nothing worse than skipping out on an already-paid for activity! But you know what, you probably did you and your kids a favor by opting for an easier and less hectic day :)

      And thanks for your kind words, Betty! I’m pretty confident in my parenting, but as with anything, I like to remind myself of my mistakes so I can learn from them from time to time.
      Nina recently posted..5 reasons why I suck at being a mom sometimesMy Profile

  4. Karen says

    Thanks for your transparency, Nina. As hard as we try at the end of the day we are all still just human. Since being pregnant, starting with morning sickness and continuing of through the different stages for various reasons I’ve been so much less available to my son than I used to be. Now at the end I’m just so tired and uncomfortable all the time. About the only way I spend “quality” time with him now is for him to be cuddled up next to me on the bean bag as he entertains imself with my iPad. Now my brother and his wife are with us to help with Eli when the baby comes. Eli is playing constantly with his aunt and loving every minute of it. I’m so glad to see him get the attention and the stimulation, but it also makes me feel a bit guilty that I haven’t been like that with him for a long time now.

    • says

      I know that guilt, Karen. My usual station is lying down on the couch. I can hardly even sit down with my son when he does his writing, much less roll a ball to him. I reassure him that I’ll soon be able to play again, and thankfully he is such an understanding boy.

      The crazy part is that I don’t know how much more accessible I’ll be once the babies are born. What with the feeding and caring for them, I may only be slightly more available. But at least we won’t be as pregnant and can actually move and roll a ball haha.
      Nina recently posted..5 reasons why I suck at being a mom sometimesMy Profile

  5. says

    Oh, how many times have I had a mom fail moment? Countless times! In addition to all those that you listed, my daughter has had to endure me ignoring her in order to get a higher score on Bejeweled. The shame!

    I believe that I’m a good, loving, and attentive mom – and that you are, too! – but we’re human, and that’s what makes being a parent so darn fun. And by fun, I mean challenging.

    Thanks for sharing a peek of the realities behind the curtain, and for letting us vent our own fails! It’s cathartic!
    Improving Krys recently posted..Just… can’t… focus…My Profile

  6. says

    I’ve had to start asking myself “Did you do your best?” every night before I go to sleep so I can remind myself that – in spite of my many, daily mom fail moments – I’m still doing OK. And I’m guessing you are, too!

    • says

      That’s a good question to ask debi. After all I’m sure few of us intentionally set out to have less than stellar days with our kids! We just do what we can with what we know.

  7. says

    Nina, thank you so much for sharing this! I’m pretty sure I’ve done all of the above… and it’s a relief to know it’s not just me. I also make up little lies about why his toys can’t talk about their days when I run out of story ideas. Pregnancy + a little person to care for is so taxing!
    Lynn (@wanderlynn) recently posted..And Now We’re FourMy Profile

    • says

      Lynn I’ve been thinking about white lies myself recently. They’re pretty blatant lies but they have definitely saved me a scene or two!

  8. One Mother's Notes says

    Good to know I’m not the only one having these ‘fail’ moments. Good job the kid seems like she’ll survive anyway :)