I was a little afraid to write this. Putting your secrets out on the Internet invites the opportunity for mass shaming. But I recently saw a mother ask on Facebook if anyone would be willing to comment about their real, raw, and “bad” moments of mothering. Over 50 women responded and instead of feeling judgmental towards what they were saying, all I felt was relief. We are so scared to show the real, upsetting and lazy parts of parenting that we began to feel alone in these moments that inevitably happen to all of us. We convince ourselves that we are the only “bad” parent out there and that no one could relate. But it’s not true, and this post made me realize just how not alone I am in the mothering moments I’m not proud of. So today, I’m sharing my secrets and risking mass shaming from strangers to hopefully reach the mothers who need a reminder that we all struggle. We all have bad days. We all are allowed lazy moments in our parenting. And despite our hidden “failures,” chances are pretty dang good that our kids will still turn out to be amazing individuals.
Here are some of my secrets — my hidden mom-ents that you (hopefully) might relate to:
Today, I let my 3 year old watch an hour and half of cartoons because I wanted to watch MY movie, one that wasn’t appropriate for her, while the baby slept. That was 2 ½ hours of straight screen time.
I also let her watch multiple shows most mornings because she wakes me up at the butt crack of dawn and I want to sleep until the baby gets up.
I cried when I had my first one-on-one time with my newborn son because I didn’t think he was cute.
I have Googled “I hate my toddler” more than a couple of times.
My baby is perfectly capable of putting himself to sleep but I still rock him until he passes out because I care about his snuggles more than his sleep schedule.
My kids sometimes wear the same clothes to bed that they’ve had on all day. And then I leave them in those same clothes for another day. Not because they don’t have clean clothes—I’m just being lazy.
I tell my kids the cookies I’m eating are yucky so I won’t have to share. The times I do share, I secretly resent them for stealing my awesome food from me.
I pretend to be asleep so my husband will finally get up with the baby and I can sleep in.
I bathe my kids when they LOOK like they need it, instead of on a schedule.
I sometimes don’t do my chores, even when I have the chance, because I just flat out don’t care. That’s a big reason why my house is always a mess–not just because of the kids, like I say.
I squeeze my kids into clothes and shoes that don’t really fit anymore because we can’t afford to buy them new stuff so often.
I hardly ever cook dinner and when I do, it’s usually just the entrée with no thought about a side of veggies. When my husband works late, I don’t worry about dinner and just feed my kids whatever snacks I know they will eat without a fight.
I go days without showering because I can’t find the time to, or don’t make the time to. Then, I pray no one can smell me or notice my greasy hair. I use the “Mom’s too busy” excuse way too liberally.
My toddler usually gets the same three things for lunch: boxed mac & cheese, Pb & j, or yogurt.
And I bribe her with treats to get her to finish her dinner.
I frequently lie and tell my toddler things are broken, places are closed, or “we don’t have that” so I don’t have to do something for her or go somewhere I don’t want to.
My toddler talks nonstop, especially while riding in the car. I tend to tune her out so many of my responses are “Oh” and “I don’t know.”
I still walk around naked in front of my 3 year old and don’t care to stop, since privacy isn’t really a thing in our house.
I use my kids as an excuse for many things, even when I’m completely exaggerating or flat out lying.
When other mothers run to their crying kid on the playground, I’m the mother that’s sitting back and laughing at how my toddler just went butt-over-head off the slide.
I hardly eat my veggies so I forget to feed them to my kids, too. Most of their veggies come from the overpriced pouches I buy from the store.
I let my kids drink juice and eat sugary cereals.
I feel like others (society, some friends and family) expect me to be nothing but grateful that my circumstances allow me to stay home with the kids. But I have (many) days that I hate being here and I feel trapped in an endless loop of poopy diapers and building blocks.
When things just get too overwhelming, I have a favorite spot to hide from my kids and cry. While I’m hiding, my kids are (once again) watching a show and eating their 6th pack of gummies, just so I can have a second alone.
Although I love my kids more than anything, there are times I miss my old life before them and daydream of what things would be like right now without them. I miss having my husband’s full attention and having less responsibilities.
To any moms who aren’t judging my secrets right now, and are maybe nodding along in sweet relief, I have one things to say to you: SURVIVE. Motherhood is incredibly hard and has changed your life forever (in both good and bad ways). This time of your life is all about surviving and it’s okay if you feel like you’re in that survival mode 24/7. It won’t always be this way; we all have great days or weeks where we feel like super mom and go to bed with no self-inflicted guilt. Eventually, our kids will be grown (creating their own parenting secrets) and we will finally focus on ourselves more, leaving behind our day-to-day survival. But for now, take a break and realize you are NOT a bad mom for extended screen time, sugary diets, dirty feet, and yelling too often.
Someone once told me: I am not actually the worst mother, because I am wracked with guilt and desire to be better. I acknowledge my shortcomings and try my best to learn from mistakes. It’s the people who don’t bother to self assess, change, or feel bad for their wrong actions that are the true unfit parents. I know our negative reactions tend to scream louder than our humble triumphs, but try to focus on the great you are doing. Because if you put they ugly aside, I’m sure you would be able to see what I see: all the ways in which you are demonstrating your amazing mamahood.
Are you willing to share some of your “bad” parenting secrets?