Monday, March 30, 2015

5 reasons I am not the mother I want to be

The other night after a very lengthy and overly dramatic tantrum about me not letting Lila spend the night at my mother's house, She looked at me and said the thing I have secretly thought but tried not to allow myself to worry about. 

"You're a terrible mother" she spit at me through hot tears.

And although I feed her, clothe her and otherwise look out for her best interests 100% of the time, there are still many ways that I fail her as a mother. 

Here are 5 of them:

  1. I don't think my maternal instincts ever really kicked in.  I am not a very nurturing person by nature.  It takes a lot of awareness to remember that kids need lots of hugs and kisses and I try to provide those to her at least daily.  But when the waterworks start over something that I consider trivial, it is not my first reaction to comfort her.  I tend to get frustrated with her and tell her to knock it off.  I tell her things like, "crying isn't going to make me change my mind" and "your father would never put up with this little tantrum."  My mother has pointed out that I seem like I totally lack compassion for things that genuinely upset her but to me it is just her being overly dramatic.
  2. I don't know how to have fun with her. I will never be the fun parent.  I don't have any ideas for things to do that we haven't done a bunch of times already.  We go to the zoo, to the bookstore to pick out books (which she used to enjoy but suddenly now she hates reading as I have documented here) and to the park.  We go mini golfing in the summer and to the beach.  But I don't think she has much fun with me.  I don't enjoy these things.  I do it because she needs to get out of the house.  I honestly think I lack the ability to let loose and enjoy myself. 
  3. I allow way too much attitude from her.  I realize every time she mouths off to me that I am going to have a real problem on my hands when she becomes a teenager but she is a seriously  mouthy bitch sometimes.  But I have yet to find a suitable way to deal with this besides yelling at her and sending her to her room to cool her ass down.  This clearly doesn't work as she is still mouthy and often just cries and denies that she ever said anything mouthy to me in the first place.
  4. I let my mother influence my rules and never for the better.  Lila eats dinner in front of the TV, not with me.  She drinks soda more than I would ever allow.  She will refuse to eat anything that we are eating for dinner and instead insists on one of only a few meals that she is willing to eat.  As I live upstairs from my mother, we eat most meals with her.  I have expressed all of these things as problems for me but she has made it very clear that she isn't going to change.  So as long as I live there cheaply, I have no choice but to accept her way of doing things when it comes to my daughter.  My mother believes it is cruel to let a kid go to bed hungry so if Lila doesn't like what we are having for dinner my mother happily cooks her something else (which is basically every single night). My mother lets her watch whatever she wants on TV and so Lila hates coming upstairs for the night because I tell her that after dinner is grown up TV time.  The tantrum about spending the night at my mother's was about this very fact.  I don't let her watch whatever she wants.
  5. I am lazy.  We don't have a lot of traditions around the holidays.  I don't color Easter eggs or carve a pumpkin at Halloween.  I refuse to take her to the St. Patrick's Day Parade because it's cold and I hate the crowds.  I figure her father (who is the fun parent anyway) will do these things with her and he does.  We don't cook together or really do arts and crafts as I suck at these things.  Part of this one stems from my depression which although medicated is still a dark cloud over me and it often just all feels like so much work.  When I come home from work at night it's all I can do to not collapse into bed and I still have to make sure homework is done and give baths and do our bedtime routine. I do these things because I know I have to but since homework is often a battle I absolutely hate doing it.
So there you have it.  I struggle often with feeling like I am a shitty mother and I know I am not alone in this.  What are some ways you feel like you fail at motherhood?


  1. I could have written this post myself (other than #4, luckily my parents live far enough away and have always respected our boundaries and rules!) My daughter is also mouthy and I try to just shut it down by saying "don't talk back," "stop arguing," or "you don't get to talk to mommy that way!" It's working, but slowly!

  2. Thanks, Melissa. I wish those lines worked for me. Usually I have to try to talk louder than her to get a word in which results in me yelling, then her crying and telling me she wasn't being mouthy when clearly she was. Kids have interesting ways of remembering things differently than how they really happened, even instantly after.

  3. I have these days often. I'm tired and cranky and he just won't listen (he's 2.5) and I end up snapping at him way more often than I intend on.

  4. You always hear how bad of a mother you are from the kids that did not get what they wanted!! Stay strong, do your best and continue being the great Mom you are!! :)

  5. There are all kinds of good moms—you don't have to be a Pinterest queen or pack a handmade Easter basket to be a great mom in my book. That said, sometimes I get so impatient with my daughter, who's 1.5 years. And I worry I indulge her too much. This week I'm especially struggling with the fact I read books to her through almost every meal time—sometimes it's the only way she'll eat.


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