Do you ever feel like you’re not your best as a parent? Here’s an open letter to my kids apologizing because sometimes I feel like a bad mother.
I have a confession: Sometimes I’m a horrible mom.
Like today. Today didn’t start so well. One of you was recovering from the stomach flu which should have made me want to scoop you up and nurture you to bits.
Not me—I was impatient. I got frustrated when you wouldn’t stop crying or resume your appetite. I’d hold you and heave a heavy sigh when even holding you wouldn’t stop your crying. As if crying was even your fault.
You were only trying to tell me something. Maybe your tummy was still upset, or you were sleepy, or confused why you didn’t feel so well.
I put my needs first and didn’t help you. I did the mandatory things—changed your diapers, fed you, held you when you cried. But my heart wasn’t there, and I’m so, so sorry.
When you crawled towards me and cried for comfort, I wasn’t patient. Instead, I raised my voice and said, “Stop it!”
As if you were putting this discomfort on yourself, or that you had a choice in your condition.
I wasn’t any better with you, my four-year-old. You were hanging in there, despite having two sick baby brothers and one sick mama. I should have been grateful you found ways to play while I took care of your brothers.
Instead, I found ways to scold you. “You’re singing too loud! Enough with the singing,” I said. Singing isn’t even a bad thing, and you weren’t even misbehaving. No, I took my frustration out on you because I could.
Then when you told me your stories and questions, I didn’t welcome them and got annoyed instead. I ignored you and continued with “Important Things” and household chores. I gave you curt answers to keep your questions at bay.
When really I should have spoken to you with more respect. I could have sought your help with your brothers. I could’ve set aside a few minutes to enjoy the moment instead of fussing about a horrible day. But you stayed positive despite being housebound and told to keep quiet and stop making so much noise.
When you asked to be with me to help with your play dough, I replied, “Later, not right now.” So you played on your own. When you showed me the pretend cookies and ice cream you made, I said, “Wow—now put it on the dining table please.”
I wasn’t being a good mom to you, I’m sorry.
To my other one-year-old, you were sick with a cold, too, and I now wish I could have spent more time with you. Especially when I had a chance to play with you one-on-one while your brother was napping.
I realize now how much better I might have felt if I had only allowed myself to be cheered by your own disposition. Your happy grin despite a runny nose. You knew how to make light of a dark day.
And kids, I confess, throughout the whole day, I looked forward to bath time, when the day would finally end. I saw the hours not as something to experience and fill but to get over and drag through. I couldn’t wait to be alone.
Sometimes I feel like a bad mother
Here’s the truth: I’m not always a good mom. Sometimes I’m downright horrible.
I tell you this because I want to apologize for my mistakes. Mommies make them all the time, and sometimes to your unfair disadvantage. I’m not proud of myself when I lose my temper, or when I snap or ignore you. The stuff I wish I could undo.
Thankfully, I don’t believe you hold this against me. I’d like to think we have more positive experiences that outweigh these trying days.
And I’ll try to do better next time. I’ll be more patient. I’ll hold you and comfort you even as you cry instead of wondering why you won’t. I know you’d rather me hold you than get impatient.
Next time, I’ll listen to your amazing stories and questions. I’ll respectfully ask you to sing a little quieter. I’ll lighten up and be present.
After all, I’m lucky as hell. This bad day I had? Totally doable in the grander scheme of things. Stomach flus and colds suck, but they’re temporary. They’re hardly the mind-shattering tragedies that occur in the true sadness of other households. Many moms would take my place and experience the stomach flu over and over in exchange for the blessings I have. I’m fortunate.
I have bad days, the days with no rest until the three of you are quiet and asleep. Where I spend each minute attending to something. Remembering to put the bottles in the fridge. Chopping food for tomorrow. Picking up the pieces of toys littered all over the floor. It doesn’t seem to end sometimes.
But I have you, and I learn from you. And I’m motivated to do better.
They say parents express unconditional love for their kids. They forget that kids also have the same unconditional love for their parents. You proved that right.
Even though I wasn’t the greatest mom today, you still ran up to me and kissed me on the cheek. Another one of you looked into my face and forgave me with your silly smile. And the other one hugged your arms around my neck, as if you were comforting me, almost to say,
“It’s okay, Mama.”
Thank you for that, my loves.
And for letting me try to be a better mama, again and again.
Read more topics on motherhood:
- How I Failed as a Mom… and Why It Wasn’t as Bad as I Thought
- 5 Reasons I Suck at Being a Mom Sometimes
- 6 Ideas to Pull Yourself Out of a Bad Parenting Day
- Parenting Tip: Be More Carefree
- These Are the Things Your Kids Will Remember About You
Tell me in the comments: Have you ever thought to yourself, “I feel like a bad mother”? How do you cope?
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