I am a horrible mother.

October 4, 2007

(Part of this post was written Thursday after a very long, hard day. It’s a confession of sorts. Come back another day if you are done with me whining.)

I need a break.

I am overwhelmed with motherhood (and I only have one) and life and I am losing it.

I’m losing it so bad that I slapped my daughter in the parking lot of the doctor’s office after an hour of unsuccessfully trying to get her to pee in a fucking dixie cup. Don’t these people know the struggles I faced trying to get her to pee in a potty!?

Then, I came home and threw a butter knife in the sink and broke 2 wine glasses because she wouldn’t wash her hands when I asked her 5 times. THAT was after she refused to eat lunch then changed her mind twice about what to eat. Cream cheese and crackers, no a cream cheese sandwich, NO! I SAID CRACKERS.

Like I’m a short order cook.

I’m done.

I feel like a failure and I can’t do this anymore.

I want my Mommy.

I spend 95% of my life trying to rear her as a functional (someone who doesn’t need therapy to blame it all on their mother) individual and 5% of the time trying to get her to do things MY way because I know BEST…and this equation isn’t working for my brain.

I need to let some things go. And I can’t. I said it. I can’t. Can NOT.

How do you do it?

How do you let this little person who has been under your care for approximately 14,000 or so days just go. She’s still a bitty baby in my eyes. She’s still so tiny and helpless.

At least that’s how I see her.

However, I’m finding this dichotomy between home and school is making her (and me) crazy. Her role at home is to be my ‘baby’ and I think she’s finally finding out from having to be so independent at school that she isn’t a baby and she is capable of doing for herself…But I don’t allow her that much freedom. And she doesn’t seem to want it at home. It seems that she’s so independent at school that she wants me to baby her home…Plus, who has the time? Do you know how long it takes to argue about the fact that she needs to get dressed. Then, the argument begins that she can’t do it herself and she needs me to do it for her…We’d never leave the house!

I want things done quickly and neatly. Ha! Those two words aren’t in an almost 4 year old’s vocabulary no matter how smart she is.

And we are knock down, drag out fighting.

I thought four was supposed to get easier. She’s close enough, no?

I’m done.

I need to let go. I keep saying this over and over again..but its not sinking in.




I feel this motherhood thing too overwhelming sometimes.

How do you do it?

Wait. Better question. How do you do it and actually enjoy it?



  1. i SO have been there.
    sending you lots and lotsof hugs.
    (and maybe some alcohol too)

  2. Oh, JJ! I so feel your pain! I could have written this myself.

    We have resorted to instant time outs. No warnings, just directly to the time out chair. It seems to be helping, though the fits are still quite frequent and he’s wearing a little butt shaped impression in the chair!

    When I feel I’m getting near the edge, its naptime for Punkin – no matter the time of day – or its Daddy time. And I don’t care if Daddy is tired. It’s still Daddy time.

    Oh, and he eats what I fix for him or he waits until the next meal or snack. No negotiations, this isn’t a diner!

    All I know is that it has to get better because it can’t get worse.

  3. OMG, I JUST posted a similar post just now. My morning was so similar to your day.

    Some days are good days, and some outright suck moose balls.

    I’m here.


  4. First off, you're writing has me a bit unnerved because I FEEL your frustration…many moms don't express their emotions like you have here and even though your honesty takes my breath away, I can feel for you so deeply and understand. PLEASE find some help today.

    There needs to be a better way for both of you. I feel for you…there have been crazy days with my daughters, too – just this morning I had some struggles…. Can someone help you take your daughter? Can you reach out to another mom for some support? Do you have other moms you can "trouble-shoot" with about development and your transitions in motherhood. Motherhood is a Season…some seasons are warm, where some are chilly…but beautiful, too. The more we reach deep inside us for understanding, the better for our kids. Yes, I agree, it's soo hard, but we need to dig to understand.
    I am hoping that you're going to be alright…I'm very worried. Can you let me know how you are????

  5. I wish I knew. I wish I had some answers for you.

    I just have this virtual ear for you to lean on though.

    Sending hopes for a good day today with your little Far.

  6. I’ve so completely been there. The good days are as good as life can possibly be and the bad days are unspeakable. Don’t let a bad day or 2 or 3 overwhelm you. It ALWAYS gets better.

  7. You’re not a horrible mother.

    This shit is hard. Harder than I ever thought. I don’t know haow women have done it all these years.

    I hear you. I really do.

  8. Don’t ask me! After a similar lunchtime experience with my son, I was tempted to pair a half-eaten box of bagel bits from waaay back in the fridge with the half-drunk bottle of Merlot on the counter yesterday afternoon…

    …which, by the way, was the only food in the house. A criticism of both my housekeeping and mothering skills 🙂

    Have you tried taking a “mommy time out”, preferably in your room, the door shut, and a minute for every birthday you’ve celebrated… ha!

    Also, don’t know if you the praying sort, but I tend to stop and BEG God for the patience I’m about to lack. I think even taking the moment to take a deep breath (or twelve) helps.

  9. P.S. You are hardly a horrible mother. Anyone that reads your posts about leaving Fa at preschool KNOWS how much you love her.

    This just is just really freakin’ hard, lady. We ALL lose it sometimes. If it wasn’t for blogging I’d have no sanity.


  10. That doesn’t make you horrible, just human. I’m starting to guess you may be as controlling and high-strung as me. (Not always a bad thing, but not very helpful when dealing with kids.)

    We have better days in our house, but lately they’ve all been kind of crappy. The Man is always in a bad mood because of work, vehicles and the problems with NB. NB won’t stop getting in trouble long enough to NOT be punished for a little bit. Plus, I’ve been very unorganized and that completely ruins my mornings. I almost lost my voice from yelling the other day. What helped me stop yelling the first time I tried (a few months ago) was the Boy’s Town book, “Common Sense Parenting.” But that takes time and practice to get that system down – and even though it worked like a MIRACLE for me, it didn’t do much to help the family situation when TM wouldn’t follow it. I can’t NOT yell when everyone else is yelling – nobody would hear me! Now I’m starting to see the correlation between our bad mornings and bad days at school for the boy. That is helping me open up my eyes a little bit. I always want to blame the circumstances for my anger, but I know that it’s really inside of me – something I’m perfectly capable of controlling, yet tell myself I have no control over. I’m unhappy with my life right now and it shows through my temperament. And every time I DO try to pull out of it, I have to fight through TM’s horrible mood and the fighting, non-listening kids and I give up.

    Lots of confessions from a somewhat private gal. Just want you to know you’re not alone.

  11. You’re not a horrible mother, just a normal one.

    I don’t have any answers either, and I figure we just have to keep on trying (however trying the little ones are in the process!).

    Hope tomorrow is a better day!

  12. Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. Just know that we are all “horrible mothers”. Show me a woman who is in a constant state of utter bliss, and I’ll bet you she is not a mother. You are allowed to freak out. It sucks, but it is perfectly normal.

  13. BREATHE. That is the first thing. Know that you are not the only one who feels this way.

    I find that some days it is better to lose the battle instead of losing my temper. IE so she doesn’t wash her hands. score 1 for her and let her have it.
    how to enjoy it. hum. i enjoy moments, but overall i think i will look back and realize it wasn’t so bad, however right now knee deep i want to run and hide.

  14. oh honey welcome to motherhood. It doesn’t get easier, just harder. And from experience. You will think something is wrong with your kid, or you are the worst parent in the world. Till you start talking to others and realize they are going through THE SAME EXACT THINGS and behaviors with their kids. Then you feel a bit better.

    How you do this overwhelming hard job and enjoy it. Is when they wrap their arms around you. Put the 100% trust in you and tell you how much they love you. Nothing else matters, and it makes every day worth it.

    Just wait till she starts screaming how much she hates you guys and wishes she had different parents.

    I was mean I explained that at a foster home they don’t have to have your toys, or food you “will” eat, cuz your picky, or t.v. all they have to have is any food and a bed. Then I told him I put cps on speed dial, so when he started screaming he hated me. I just told him I would call and get him another family.
    I know I’m major mean. But he always appoligized and then he stopped saying it pretty quick. lol

  15. Like ButterflyGarden I have to remind you you are not alone.

    You are normal.

    This is a bad day and it will pass.

    The Fa and you are designed to struggle so that she can find the boundaries of her agency and yours.



  16. I wish I had an easy solution. I’ve been very short with Nicholas lately. And I know it. And I feel bad.

    I started taking time for myself. I joined a gym. After the kids are in bed, I go. It gives me time to myself and I get exercise. And because it’s not cheap, there is guilt about NOT going so I’m forced to have my alone time.

    Good luck. Hang in there. You need time to yourself. We all do. Mothering is not easy. Because we love them so much.

  17. I wish I could tell you a magical answer to help…but the truth is there isn’t one. I think we have all felt overwhelmed at one time or another.

    When my gremlins were Fa’s age, I was a single mom with no support at all. Honestly, I look back and wonder how we all survived… It didn’t help that my son has ADHD and was so hyper he flew and bounced all day…

    Hang in there…remember that counting to 10 can truly help …and just remind her you love her lots when you have a bad day…

    We are here to listen and love ya whenever you need a friendly ear…so hang in there.

    (((((((((JJ)))))) hugs for ya…

  18. hey I gotta lotta shit with me too right now and can’t give a reeeeeeeeeeally long comment but (insert applause) you are not alone.

    If she refuses to put clothes pack the clothes she is supposed to wear and take her to school buckey naked! She may give it a 2nd thougt by the time you get to the car!


  19. *hugs*

    I wish I knew what to say. I had two BOYS, pretty rowdy, one right behind the other. I honestly can’t remember many of the problematic times that we had, because I think I have subconsciously blocked them from memory.

    I do know that there were too many times that I lost my temper and said or did things I shouldn’t have…but we got through the tough times somehow.

    Of course, my situation was a bit different….I never had mine at home with me at those ages; I worked full time from when they were babies and therefore was never used to having a lot of time with them, then having to ‘let them go’.

    I hope you are able to find what works for you, though.

  20. ok grrr You are not a horrible mother although I can totally realte to the feelings of insecurity and self doubt. The reason you feel you are horrible is because you care. You what a horrible mother is … the one that is snorting coke off her baby’s tummy while she is breastfeeding (I seriously read that today how sick is that?) Or the mother that leaves. Dude my real mom was like “OMFG this is hard … see you six month old, btw your Dad is a raging alcoholic, duck k, little bean? BYE!” So horrible as you may of felt, it could be worse.

    That being said (can you tell I have a lot going on in my head), I so so understand what you are going through. One mom told me the other day “Don’t you just want to start off with a spanking and get it over with?” welllll….no since we do not spank but I get the feeling.

    You are awesome. You care. That is so important. That is what will be remembered, not all the other crap.


    sorry for the ramble.

  21. I feel your pain! You are not alone….every mom I know has these feelings! I have done the popping thing after an epic battle….and doing so, in the heat of the moment, left me feeling horrible. I do believe in spanking…sometimes it’s the only thing that will get JM’s attention…but I TRY to step away and catch my breath first! (In a perfect world)

    It is the consistency that is so exhausting….I think Far and JM are VERY similar in personality and they are the type that you lose a battle, you lose the war. It is hard for me to let go too….but you need to. One of the things I had to learn was that his school and I were doing things VERY differently. That made it quite confusing to him.

    You are doing the right thing to stay after her! She has to learn that there are times when Momma wants to do other things than cater to her every whim! If she asks for crackers…she gets crackers…END OF STORY! (doesn’t that sound so easy…you and I both know it is NOT) If she throws a fit…she goes to her room…until it is over. If that means you don’t eat a peaceful meal for two weeks until she gets the point…SO BE IT!

    It’s the public shame that gets to me. The whole “damned if you do…damned if you don’t” thing. My child is acting RIDICULOUS and other people are giving me the look. Now…if I beat the hell out of him, they are going to call OCS….if I calmly try to reason….they are wondering why I can’t control my child!

    You are not a failure…you’re a mom…struggling to do what’s right with a “spirited” child! I think you are a wonderful mother…simply because you are trying so hard!

    Good luck…sending hugs and appletinis your way!

  22. This morning our five year old cried and screamed and cried and screamed about a farcking pair of pants.

    Everday we struggle with this or another thing. She is my tough child. the one who humbles me the most.

    And I have a dirty secret. I do not always like my children or my life in parenting them. Sometimes I just wanna go all Thelma and Louise and get the hell out of dodge.

    I hate those days. But tomorrow is another day and I know that it might be a really good one.

    And by the way? I found four and five to be the hardest years with both of my girls.

    Have a drink. Slow down a bit to her speed when you can.

  23. Sounds like you need a babysitter–someone to be in charge and take the pressure off for a little while. We ALL have those moments when we look back and are ashamed of our behavior. We all have stories about the butter knife, and worse. I am thinking of you. I have no solutions, except to say that physical activity, like running, has always helped me clear my mind. Ask for help if you need it.

  24. I feel your agony. This sounds like our house. I have a hard time letting things go. Actually, I still have that problem, which results in many tears, Tylenol, and upset people.

    I can only echo what ginko has written. For me, I knew I needed help, but was too stubborn to accept it. Once I did, it opened to many other doors for me, like a bit of sanity and peace. If this is possible for you, too, take it and never look back. You will be much happier, I hope! And it will show in your relationship with your daughter 🙂


  25. thanks for honesty makes us all realize that we are not alone and yes i have those days too. I try to put in my calendar one night out with a friend and one night out with my husband to keep me sane. i also end up talking my fellow mama’s ears off to get their feedback

  26. Take a deep breath it gets easier. There were times when mine was four that I thought I was doing this completely wrong. But you know what? it is better now than it was.

    She is 5 1/2 and she is a pretty cool, fun little girl. She actually has started eating the food I give her most of the time all of a sudden. She is easy going and funny again.

  27. I can only imagine! Being the mother of a 10 month old hasn’t brought that yet, but I can only imagine. Lots of my girlfriends will talk about it. Hang in there, girl. There’s lots of good advice that you’re getting. A margarita and a spa day for mama might be good start…..little pampering for you who deserves it so much!!!!

  28. First…you’re not a horrible mother. You are a woman, with real feelings, trying her best to raise a little one. It is HARD and sometimes it SUCKS and we all lose our cool sometimes. ALL of us!

    Hang in there…


  29. First…you’re not a horrible mother. You are a woman, with real feelings, trying her best to raise a little one. It is HARD and sometimes it SUCKS and we all lose our cool sometimes. ALL of us!

    Hang in there…


  30. To answer your question about how do you do it and enjoy it….um, who does?

    There are times, sometimes weeks all strung together, where I can’t stand being a mother.

    Parker still fights me about dressing. I swear, i turn around and he’s naked again! If we’re not going anywhere, then I left him be naked. It isn’t worth me getting angry to keep dressing him over and over again.

    When we do have to go somewhere, giving him tokens for dressing with no fussing helps a lot. Maybe try that and let Fa trade them in for whatever she likes…a treat, an extra cartoon, etc?

    Parenting never gets easier JJ. At least not from what I’ve seen so far. It’s only different challenges at each stage. We do have to learn to let go and let our kids make their own mistakes, take forty-forevers to do something we could do in 30 seconds. It’s hard, but we do have to do it.

    And we have to work on keeping our perspective too. I know so many times I’ve gotten worked up over something that, once the situation passed, I realized was NOT a big deal at all. It’s so easy to lose perspective and I always feel so stupid when I let it happen. Here lately, I’ve found that by asking myself if this is going to matter in one year, it helps me put things in perspective.

    Not only does that question help me keep my perspective, but it makes it easier for me to not have to control the situation…because I see it doesn’t really matter in the bigger picture.

    Gesh, this job is so tough! Hang in there! You’re doing a great job JJ.

  31. You’re not so bad. At least you post lots of nice things about your daughter.

    All I do is bitch and complain about the things she does.

    How do I deal? I read a good book, give myself a time out. Sometimes I scream, sometimes I cry.

  32. No one knows how hard this is until they are parents, huh? Because it feels so horrible to admit that it isn’t all snuggles and kisses and laughter and warmth and perfection…

    Me, I try to remember how it felt to want to be a parent…to wonder if I would ever have children, and if I did, what they’d look like. Then I look at my kids and remind myself that these are MY children, the ones I’d spent countless hours imagining.

    And then I open a bottle of shiraz.

  33. I feel like the older our children get, the more they know exactly how and when to push our buttons–to get what they want or maybe just to irk us and see what happens! It sounds like that is what Fa is doing to you and it requires patience. So.Much.Patience! It is difficult.
    Maybe you need a little break? A weekend away? A retreat?! Something for you and only you. Would this help?
    I often give myself internal time outs when I feel my patience running thin. Even if I want to act then and now (because like you, I like things done in a timely manner), I stop, breath and count to 10 before I react. It helps…sometimes! If you want more suggestions, feel free to email me, you know where I am 🙂

  34. Wow, my first visit to your blog and already I know we have something in common. Yes, this mothering thing is HARD (mine are 11, 9, and 7). I “do” it only by the grace of God. “Enjoying” it is often a choice and sometimes, honestly, I don’t enjoy it. But I’m learning to have hope in it, and that has made a HUGE difference to me!
    Hang in there, JJ.

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