dear mom having a bad day

Truth. Tonight I wanted to skip bedtime.

I wanted to blink my eyes and have the house cleaned and all the kids tucked in bed (with clean sheets). I wanted to sit in my family room and watch television and eat the hypothetical bonbons of motherhood and have everything checked off my incredibly long and large and overwhelming to-do list.


Instead, well, instead I ended up being the crabby worn out mom who had the inevitable bad day of motherhood. Β Yes, me, the finding joy gal, she became the crabby mom. Noises frustrated me, in fact, so much that I told them that no one is allowed to say mom for thirty minutes unless it was a national emergency and that a brother looking at you wrong was, in fact, not considered an emergency worth uttering my name for. There were ants in my kitchen surrounding Trix cereal that makes my kids much too hyper, yet I suckered into buying it as a special treat. My island had toys, pens, blocks, fruit snack wrappers, and leftover cans of sparkling water littering it. And the little boys thought that tonight’s game was running out of their room and not going to bed while laughing loudly.

And the work? My work? It feels as if I often wake up sprinting and go to bed exhausted while still sprinting. Always behind, never caught up, always with more to do and more to do and more to do. Work isn’t an option, it’s a requirement, and life has become this teetering balancing act between trying to get all my work done while being the present loving and engaged mom. Often times I feel as if I’m just not doing enough.

Motherhood is tiring. And lets face it, there are some times when I want to wave the white flag of surrender just for the night.


I know it’s short.

I know that time passes by super fast and that the moments won’t return.

I know that because I write it.

But I also know that there are times when, well, you and I and all the moms in the world just want a break. There are times when I want to update Facebook with the words worn out, looking for help.

Don’t you?

Don’t you wish for a moment of just quiet? Or a night where they magically go to bed? Or that the house was cleaned? Or that life and relationships worked out ideally? Or that the groceries you bought on Monday would last longer than Wednesday afternoon? Or that the laundry fairy would actually appear and not only wash, dry, and fold clothes but really put them away. In drawers. Not baskets.

Just because you have a day like I’m having tonight doesn’t make you a bad mom.

Listen. Please, please, please listen.

Bad days don’t define us.Β 


I know pinterest doesn’t really celebrate these days. But do you know that it takes so much strength, bravery, courage, stamina, patience, and ultimately love to make it through those days when everyone gets up on the wrong sides of the bed? It may not be honored in today’s world, but I’m here right now to write a bit of truth to all of you who feel like you’re failing, not measuring up, and are not a good mom because you have moments like I’m having right now.


Your track record for bad days is 100% success and getting through.

Don’t forget that. You get through. You push through. You love your kids. You squish the ants like I did and wash the dishes and sigh a sigh of relief when the kids finally fall asleep. You keep on fighting. You love them and apologize for the times when you snapped over the legos left on the floor and that they missed the hamper again. (How is that even possible that socks and underwear cannot actually make it in there but rather congregate on the floor right next to it?) You carry on. You may be tired, worn, fatigued, and wondering what in the world this motherhood thing is really about, but you get up in the morning and you try again.

You try again. And again. And again. And again.

And again.


That white flag of surrender is folded away.

Instead you are a fighter. A lover. A giver of self. A negotiator.

The bad days will just be sprinkled in the fabric of your motherhood story. They will be the days where you discover that you actually had that crazy patience that you thought never to pray or wish for. They are the days when the expectations of what the world says being a mom is like are thrown to the curb as you embrace the skills you’ve learned in mothering. These are the days that you will remember when you are old and sitting in that rocking chair and you will marvel at your tenacity.

But more than that you will marvel at the fact that you didn’t quit. You pushed through. And you mothered.

It’s not about you being perfect all the time. It’s not about you never ever having those days where you want to just pull the covers over your head. The battle scars of motherhood – the bad days, the imperfect moments, the times where you were overwhelmed will become the stories that you share to the next generation. They will be the words that you whisper to that new mom about being brave and how much she matters and how important it is that she loves that little one.

Just like you’re doing now. Right now.

The bad days are simply part of the story. They’re not the whole story.

The whole story is being written now.


Not perfect. Just you. Fighting. Pressing on. Loving your kids.

Now carry on. Breathe a bit. And if you’re like me find that chocolate that you’ve stashed in the top cabinet in the tea box that no one ever grabs tea from and sit in your living room and enjoy.

Carry on brave mother.

Carry on.


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38 Responses to “dear mom having a bad day”

  1. June 6, 2014

    Laura Reply

    A much needed read for this mom who’s having a bad week! Thanks

  2. June 6, 2014

    Stephanie Reply

    Lately I feel like the bad days greatly outnumber the not-so-bad days. Forget “good days”, I haven’t had one of those in months. πŸ™

    • June 6, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Stephanie. Sweet blessings to you today and may today be a good day in the chapter of all of your days.


    • June 6, 2014

      Heather G Reply

      Stephanie….I think…no, I KNOW we all have those times….just hang in there. My favorite new quote is “Everyday may not be good….but there is something good in EVERY day!”. Do what you can to find the good in the day…whether it’s the fact that you all managed to get dressed…or one kiddo played for 15 minutes by themselves…..the hugs, kisses, thank you’s….those are all little good things to keep close to your heart.

      Hugs to you…

  3. June 6, 2014

    Kelly McKenzie-Day Reply

    It’s easy to get bogged down in the Pinterested version of Motherhood; I frequently look at pins from other Mums and think ‘Really? You’re making scale model hand painted Eiffel Towers out of spaghetti today and I’m lucky if get breakfast into my daughter without needing to call in air support!’
    I think it’s easy to feel like a bad Mum, we’re so saturated with aspirational parenting information that you can often feel like a failure simply for not doing more, more, more all the time. Those precious, wonderful moments when my daughter curls up next to me on the sofa with her whispered ‘Mummy, I love you!’ and snuggles close, make me realise that I’m getting it right..for her and that’s what matters. Some days I fall into the grumpy Mum trap, but on those days I have a really short checklist of achievements to aspire to: Showered (check), Dressed (check – pyjamas are clothes, right?), Coffee (check), Child fed and clothed (check)…BINGO! It’s suddenly a good day.
    Picking your battles, perspective, being in the moment…it matters. xx

    • June 6, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Oh my word! You made me laugh – “scale model hand painted Eiffel Towers out of spaghetti” – as it’s so true.

      I love your comment. It’s perspective for me. Beautiful.


  4. June 6, 2014

    Brianne Reply

    This article speaks to me in high volume, as I was having a bad night last night. My son decided to make a series of bad choices that landed him grounded for the first time, he’s 5. Trust me, it was needed. I thought the tone was set for the night when we got home, that we were going to be stuck in the funk for the rest of the night. Turns out, it was a pretty awesome night. What you say about carrying on, and that the bad moments don’t define you, that is the complete truth. Thank you for a beautifully written article, it’s a little reminder that that hidden chocolate on a quiet night is our own little celebration for every day and every battle won. May life be filled with moments of sunshine, rainbows, and glitter.

    • June 6, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      You are very welcome, Brianne. It’s amazing how a day can spin in just a moment. SO thankful that your day ended up with that awesome night. Remember that. Circle it on your calendar. Those are the sweet moments of motherhood tucked within the ordinary.

      With joy.


  5. June 6, 2014

    Langdon Reply

    Thank you for reminding that all moms have the occasional bad day :).

  6. June 6, 2014

    Lindsay Reply

    Thank you so much for this post. In the rawness of those “I’m a bad mother” moments we feel soooo disconnected from all that is, reading your truths helps me feel like we are all part of this pain as well as this journey….together. Thank you for being that rope to pull me back to this tight knit community called motherhood. You are amazing brave woman!!!

  7. June 6, 2014

    Tanja Reply

    Thanks for your words! I needed them today.

    Yesterday, I also had one of those ” if only I could snap and they all are asleep and everything is cleaned” moment.. I don’t even go to Pinterest anymore… Makes me too depressed.

    By the way, what font do you use on your blog? I like it! I never commented here, but I love your letters. They are so true! I often wonder how you find the time to write such beautiful letters! Thanks!

  8. June 6, 2014

    Maureen Reply

    Rachel, sometimes it feels like you are a dear friend saying just what I need to hear. Thanks so much for this perspective today. Last night was a tough one with one of my 8 year old twin boys… just disagreeing, both of us being stubborn, a late bedtime after a school play with both of us exhausted. Though I wanted to “wave the flag” and tell him to put himself to bed (for telling me every time I say something I make him feel bad- he was upset because I was trying to get him in bed and wouldn’t let him “finish up” the game on his DS at 9:30pm when our usual bedtime is 8 pm and tomorrow is a school day), somehow I found myself kneeling down to his height, explaining that I’m not perfect, and that there will be good days and bad days, that’s just the kind of mom I am and the kind of life we have. This little one thought about it and told me he liked it that way, that “all normal” would be boring. How could such grace come from someone so small? I was glad I kept trying, as you said, and it was a magical moment of understanding between us. Thanks for your posts, they really make my day, and help me appreciate the little important moments in life.

  9. June 6, 2014

    Life Breath Present Reply

    You are so right! Bad days, bad moments do not make a bad mother. We all need reminders from time to time. Everything things, every little or big thing is part of our motherhood story. πŸ™‚

  10. June 6, 2014

    Harmony Reply

    Thank you for this! Much needed read for me today as I clean and clean and feel like I’ll never stop cleaning up after my kids. lol πŸ™‚

  11. June 7, 2014

    Rachel Komlo Reply

    I love you. In a kindred spirit, one mom to the next, desperately hanging on together kind of love way. I’ve been following your posts for a few months and sometimes I save a new email from your site for a rainy (literally or metaphorically) day.
    Anyway, about this one. This one will be held closer to my heart than most. I am only 22 but I have spent the last 3 years battling chronic pain and illness. First a disc steadily got worse in my back until it eventually ruptured and stayed that way for 8 months – my docs were pretty useless and I eventually found the best neurosurgeon here in Georgia who found the rupture and fixed me as best he could. And now…we aren’t entirely sure what is making me so sick and my joints so swollen. Fibro, rheumatoid, lupus, Lyme disease? It’s a mess. But my point…I have bad days so often now that I forget that there is such a thung as bad days. They are my norm. Being a mom however, that has it’s own breed of hard and difficult days. Some days i want to give up. Not in motherhood but on fighting with my body and trying to get better. But I am uniquely blessed through this hardship. My bad days can be horrific but my good days? Hun, I can’t even explain how truly amazing they are. Most people wouldn’t even take note of them but for me they mean so much and the possibilities for being able to go on errands, play with my son and dogs, clean the house? It’s awesome!
    So there are two things i want to express here. One is a bit preachy but I truly mean it as a tip from one woman to other women with live and friendship and grace weaved through it: please please PLEASE be grateful when you are able to chase the kids back to bed. When you have a pile of dishes and can physically put them away. When tou are able to do and fold laundry. I am not saying that you can’t be tired or complain. I fully expect you to haha. But I am just urging everyone to take a moment and acknowledge that you are able bodied. Then curse the heck out of those dishes and have that glass of wine or tea after fuming about the kids being little hellions at bedtime πŸ™‚
    The second is that this post reminded me I need to honor my bad days. Rather than just accepting them as the norm. Which means honoring and respecting myself for getting through them. And that is a priceless reminder.
    Thank you so much for all you share and give to your family and your readers. You are dearly appreciated.

    Sending love and blessings,

    • June 7, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you Rachel, simply thank you for sharing your heart. Your comment is not only beautiful but incredibly profound.

      with joy.


  12. June 7, 2014

    LW in SE WA Reply

    3 days ago I was ”the worst mom ever” for not coming to the school bbq, and dinner out (including pop) was not enough to make up for it.

    The next morning I was ”the best mom they could ever have” – for giving them a quarter to buy fish food and feed the fish in the pond while I shopped at the garden center.

    Last week I was the ”pinterest mom” doing crafts galore, and making activities for a road trip.

    But today my 4 year old spilled juice on the floor… (’nuff said) so I needed this post!

  13. June 8, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    I want to come up with some great words of wisdom, but the words just aren’t coming (could have something to do with the 3 hours I spent earlier at Chuck E Cheese celebrating my grandson’s 4th birthday…). basically I wanted to say nobody gets everything done. When you were a stay at home mom you couldn’t do it all. Now you’ve added a full time job which involves traveling which takes huge blocks of time out of your life. You do your best and you are succeeding! I’m seeing you blossom in your career and doing so much to help so many people. And I’m still seeing those smiles on all your kids faces! U dun good!
    Know that I’m lifting up prayer!
    Psalms 91:1-2, 4 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (4) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

  14. June 8, 2014

    Terri Reply

    Wow. Just, wow. I often save up a few of your posts for a rainy day. What the heck. To be quite honest, I save them up because at the end of the day when I finally have a few moments to read, my eyeballs are so worn out, all I feel like doing is closing them. But, usually once a week I will sneak away for a bit and read up on your simple wisdom. A prior commenter mentioned how the “i’m the worst Mom ever” days seem to far outnumber the not so bad or kind of okay or pretty good days. I have always wondered if there has ever been another Mom who has curled up in a ball in the closet floor after the wee ones are asleep and sobbed those raw, chest-heaving sobs that, at times, feel like the only way to let out the stuff that hurts. I sort of think, after reading this post and the comments, maybe I am not the only one.

    I needed to read this today. Because it is now that time of night. The time when I usually put away the neverending mental to-do list, and bring out that most destructive of all the lists in the world, the “how did I fail my children today” list. So, your post has given comfort tonight. And after I finish this comment, I will creep into the room where my most precious little people sleep peacefully, safe, warm, healthy, and I will kiss their foreheads and inhale their scent and touch their beautiful hands and whisper many times into their ears “I love you. You are precious. You are perfect, just as you are.” And then, I will do more laundry. And sneak some chocolate. And probably kiss my sons again. And I will think about your words instead of that really painful list.

    Thank you for sharing.

  15. June 8, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    The Lord will always use whatever you’re going through for your good! Praying hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Psalms 91:9-12 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

    • June 13, 2014

      Terri Reply

      Lynn – What a fantastic scripture! I love that verse. Thank you for posting.

  16. June 21, 2014

    Angela Reply

    Oh wow, just catching up on my email and saw this post. BAD day today, largely because the 3yearold who’s been up since 5:30 refused to take a nap when I know we will be out late for a family dinner and possibly an ER visit for my hubby, depending on how he’s feeling by the time he gets off work. 3yearold is now wreaking havok on my desk drawers. And I’m going to re-read this post now because I think otherwise I’m liable to bite someone’s head off. okay maybe not quite. but I’m still going to sit for 5 minutes and try to regather my thoughts. Thanks for all your daily encouragement, it is so often needed!

  17. June 28, 2014

    Jil Reply

    Thanks–just desperately needed to hear this tonight. We have a high-needs 7 year old son, who I love dearly, but sometimes pushes every button, and requires constant vigilance to be sure he doesn’t make bad choices. ( like eating soap today!) I was so mad at him at bathtime, I had to walk away and let Dad take over. After his bath, he cuddled up to me on the sofa and asked, Mommy, are you still my friend? I was able to say, Yes, honey, I just felt like you weren’t my friend anymore. I just about cried.

    • July 2, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      So glad that these words blessed you. Those moments are tough, but the bad days truly don’t define.

      With joy.


  18. July 21, 2014

    Alice W. Reply

    exactly what I needed at this exact moment. thank you.

  19. November 21, 2014

    fiona Reply

    Thank you, I’ve been feeling down and grumpy for a while as it can get really hard, but I know I’ll keep on going. Just nice to know we all go there! πŸ™‚

  20. November 25, 2014

    jeremy Reply

    I like the article but the word mom should be parent and motherhood should be parenthood. I am a father of 3 and feel this way too. I’m sick of women thinking they are the only ones who take care of the family.

    • November 25, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thanks for your comment Jeremy. I really appreciate it and love what dads do as well. I write to moms and never exclude the awesomeness of dads either. There are some great sites for dads out there as well. I love that there never needs to be this level of competition between who does more – sorry that you’ve felt that way before.

      WIht joy.


  21. December 7, 2014

    Emily Reply

    Thank you for this encouraging article! I just had one of the worst days as a mom, short tempered with my sweet 4 year old and I had to let my overtired 4 month old cry in his crib for an hour before he finally fell asleep. I have a wonderful husband who does everything possible to help me and the kids, but he’s a cop which leaves me home alone nights, weekends and many holidays. I got so frustrated trying to decorate the Christmas tree alone with our four year old and all I kept thinking was I wanted him to have happy memories of Christmas traditions not of mom being frustrated and impatient.
    I will get up tomorrow, I will try again & try to let it all go and just love my babies!

  22. August 4, 2015

    Genevieve Lemkus Reply

    I needed to hear this more than you know ! Thank you thank you, for speaking the truth of motherhood in a not so truthful world. A world where we are left to feel so alone and so bad for having days such as these. These days are really supposed to be celebrated as milstones of motherhood. Because they are. Specally when we make it through them. Thank you again x x

  23. November 5, 2015

    Linda Reply

    Your post was a God send! I was having a rough evening. I was rushing to get my boys 3.5yo and 1.5yo, bathed and fed, kitchen cleaned, and myself into the shower. I’ve been grumbling curse words under my breath all night. When I finally had a moment to myself, I googled “mom having a bad day” in search of a cure for my bad attitude, and the first thing that popped up was this post. I have never read your blog before, but I wanted to let you know that your post touched my heart. I already feel better, and nothing has changed except my perspective. Instead of thinking that in the only one who is grumpy and mean, I realize that everyone has good and bad days. We get through the bad days and remember the good ones.

  24. January 2, 2016

    Paulina Reply

    Thank you, thank you thank you for this real and refreshing post! I’m near the end of one of those days. Woke up tired, grumpy and not feeling well. Thought I’d have some coffee time alone before the kids got up but they were already up and watching TV. There is hardly any food in the house except for a bunch of leftover Christmas cookies and pastries so I fed my two little ones cake, cookies and juice for breakfast (did I mention I’m a dietitian?). The house is a mess. Toys everywhere, dishes in the sink, crumbs and dust bunnies all over the floor, found cat poop on the carpet near the door. I have been slowly catching up on laundry and was looking forward to get one load closer then learned that my son peed in our bed last night. I had to wash everything including the duvet and duvet cover (three extra loads 😠). It’s one of those days when you feel like a black cloud is following you all day long. When you are angry at everything and can’t seem to get some perspective. When you catch yourself thinking and saying all the things you know you’re not supposed to think and say like, “I wish I wasn’t a Mom!” I managed to pick myself up and turn it around only to fall apart again a few hours later. That’s when I Googled “Mom having a bad day” in tears and found your article and all the comments from other Moms. I wish this information was more readily available. Can’t even stand to go on Facebook anymore and see all the perfect family moments. I will definitely share this. Peace to all the parents having a bad day. It does get better. These are the days we’ll laugh about some day.

  25. January 25, 2016

    Christine Kenny Reply

    Oh my word, I needed this today.Thank you so so so much. We’ve had one of those” pull your hair out”, can’t wait for Monday kinda weekends with the twins. Terrible two’s are certainly no joke. Even getting them to school this morning was a fight with some added kicking and screaming to top it off.

    I needed to hear that I wasn’t being a bad mom, that it was ok to have days( or weekends in my case) like this.

    Will be sharing this just incase there are any other mommies that feel this way in my circle.

  26. July 26, 2016

    Julia Reply

    Thank you for this article. I needed this so much today. Thank you for putting down on paper my exact thoughts. Overwhelmed, overworked, tired and feeling not good enough. It is nice to know that I am not alone. I appreciate all of your inspirational posts.

  27. July 29, 2017

    Angela Reply

    Thank you! Thank you so much for sharing this, you made my bad day a bit brighter & made me realise this doesn’t define being a good mother or not! We are human & these days will happen! πŸ˜‘

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