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6 Reasons You Keep Asking “Am I a Bad Mom?”

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I love hugs from my sons. They are the BEST. But one day, as my younger son came toward me and started to nestle his face in my waistline, I leaned away, grabbed his shoulders, and pushed him back, yelling, “You’ve got chocolate all over your face!” He understood I didn’t want to get dirty, but he sunk a little, and I felt like a big jerk. Whenever these moments happen—you know, the ones when exhaustion or humanity get in the way of love and warmth—I ask myself, “Am I a bad mom?”

I know I’m not, but there is still this feeling of failure and sadness that I’ve let my kids down. I haven’t been perfect and they need perfect! Hang on. No, they don’t need a perfect mom. That’s a lie that makes me think I’m horrible at this. Here are 6 other reasons we keep asking ourselves “Am I a bad mom?” along with ways to remind you of the truth.

1. You think people are watching and judging.

It’s easy to feel like a bad mom when you believe every person at Target is watching your kid throw a tantrum.

When you feel doubt coming on because of others’ judgment, think of three people whose opinions you care about. Chances are your mom, best friend, and husband know that the tantrum-thrower is a good kid and that both of you just needed some rest.

2. You are comparing your actual mess to another’s polished mess.

Rarely do people share a struggle on social media without wrapping it up with a lesson like a 30-minute sitcom. When you’re actually in the mess and there isn’t a tidy bow just yet, doubt can start to creep in.

Next time you feel this coming on, remind yourself that parenting is hard work and not all the solutions are easy to come by. Talk to a friend in real life. She’ll tell you you’re doing great and maybe even ask you for advice for the crazy that’s going on in her house!

3. A lot is expected of moms.

You might be asking yourself “Am I a bad mom?” because you’re an impatient homeschool teacher, a klutzy chef, a disorganized personal assistant, or a party planner who doesn’t enjoy parties.

When you feel like you’re failing, pick one thing that matters to you and give that your best effort. If planning great birthday parties is your thing, plan epic parties, but relax on being a gourmet chef. Show your kids your love by doing well the thing that brings you joy.

4. The negatives are louder than the positives.

Mess-ups feel like the end of the world, but there are a million little successes every day that we don’t even notice.

Give yourself a pat on the back every day when the kids go to bed. There were probably more wins than losses.

5. You forget that you’re a human with your own preferences.

Am I a bad mom because I don’t want to put LEGOs together? No. I’m a human who doesn’t enjoy LEGOs.

Do you feel like you should enjoy everything your kids enjoy, always be “on,” and never lose your cool? Tell yourself you’re not a programmable robot. You’re better. You’re a mom.

6. You’re empathetic.

The day I told my son it was time for his favorite yet disintegrating stuffed animal to go into retirement, we both bawled. I was so sad for him and I asked myself, “Am I a bad mom for doing this?”

Walking with your child through struggles, helping him or her make difficult choices, and giving consequences for his or her actions actually makes you a great mom. It’s a gift to feel the pain our children feel because it means we get to feel the joys, too.

What makes you feel like a bad mom and how do you remind yourself of the truth?

ASK YOUR CHILD...

What makes a good mom?

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