For the Days when you feel like the Worst Mom Ever.

This morning I wrote a note to a friend and said I feel like I’m the worst mom ever.

Literally. The words left my mouth as tears dotted my eyes and I then typed a message across the vast facebook chasm into message cyberspace. I felt that way yesterday too as I sat on an airplane flying home to my kids after a five day business trip. As the plane left the Denver Airport in the dark of night I remember being so thankful that the lights were dimmed for take off.

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I didn’t want others to see the tears that no longer were being held back by determination.

I lost the fact that I was on that airplane working for my kids, really. I only started to compare my story to the hypothetical perfect motherhood story that I thought life would look like. It was a story dotted with laughter, rainbows, presents, perfect mornings, and me the always home, always attentive, always on top of laundry, mom. But, that’s not my life. My life is full of early mornings and packing lunches and traveling for work and writing and conference calls and sweeping the floors and sometimes feeling like I’m the worst mom ever. Even though I write about how awesome motherhood is and how what we’re doing matters and how amazing we are in the everyday. The truth is that yesterday and this morning I was stuck in the worst mom ever feeling.

I hate that feeling.

Can we just all breathe a collective motherhood sigh and come to an agreement that there are points in the journey where we want to throw our hands in the air and cry that we feel like the worst mom ever?

Because the truth is that we all will have that moment.  Sometimes it will be for big mistakes and sometimes for little mistakes and sometimes we’ll have it simply for reasons that we cannot even identify. Motherhood, while full of awesome and incredible moments, is also full of times of overwhelm, loss, confusion, and moments where one simply feels like they’re just not cut out for this journey.

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You know what?  We want to bless our kids. We want to be present.

And sometimes, well sometimes, life just gets us so busy that we have to do hard things that make us feel like we’re simply failing as moms. It’s not failing when we try. It’s not failing when we fight. It’s not failing when we message our friends that are dear and say that we feel like we’re not doing well.

That’s not failing.

Failing would be rolling over in the morning and deciding that we’re done.

But you’re up. You’re reading this. I got up. Thought about it all. Bundled my boys up that I hadn’t seen in several days due to work and drove to Starbucks with them and a friend. I stood in line and ordered hot cocoa for them with extra whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate. I got them their favorite spot – the spot with the orange squishy chairs next to the fireplace with the little low tables. But,  you know, that stuff didn’t matter to them. Oh don’t get me wrong — they loved the whipped cream and asked for a spoon and more whipped cream — but it was really about spending time with me. It wasn’t all of those little crazy external things – it was simply me – their mother with them.

And then, my four year old, Samuel, buried his head in my arms and told me he loved me.

It wasn’t because of the cocoa. Or the trip to Starbucks.

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He just loved me. His mom.

His mom who forgot to see the little things and forgot how important it was to simply be his mom.

Sometimes we’re so hard on ourselves. Wait. Sometimes I’m too hard on myself. I start to look at my own motherhood journey and I get caught in this cycle of it’s not fair or wishing I could do more be more achieve more and I end up dismissing everything I do as a mom. And sometimes motherhood hurts. It hurts when they get older and they don’t want to be around you as much. I know. But you know what? It doesn’t change my love for them nor their love for me. It’s just a journey, a phase, and part of the story. And they’re going to grow and leave home.

Those things don’t make me the worst mom ever. That’s just a feeling. And it’s a sucky feeling that can make one sit in the corner of the room while tears stream down one’s face. It’s a feeling that can make you look at the lives of others and make you wonder how they’re thriving when you feel like you’re just barely keeping your head above the treading water motherhood days.

Sweet mom. Fighting mom. Mom with the imperfect story. You’re not the worst mom ever.

You’re a real mom.

Like me.

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So let’s just be real. Let’s encourage each other and answer our phones without judging when a friend calls and says she feels rotten. Let’s not minimalize emotion. Sometimes emotion is simply emotion. Let’s look beyond all of that and look to the heart of the person, the mom, our friend, and love them in the midst.

My kids love me.

Me the imperfect mom. Me the mom who buys boxed valentines and tapes suckers to them and calls it good. Me the mom that loves her Coke and Starbucks. Me the mom who lets them wear mismatched socks because I never seem to get around to folding them together. Me the mom that travels and has to say goodbye to them for three days at a time. Me the mom who hears when she returns you always come back because you love me. Me the mom who fights for her kids. Me the mom that buys them fruitsnacks and sometimes lets them have two packages at a time. Me the mom that loses patience and then goes upstairs and apologizes for being short.

Me the imperfect sometimes feeling like the worst mom ever mom.

I’m writing this for you too. You’re not alone.

And you’re certainly not the worst mom ever.

See the good. The little things.

The times like this afternoon with my boys. Sitting at the table coloring. Or making them lunch. Helping them wash their hands. Helping them count. Working on subtraction. Washing dishes. All of that little normal motherhood stuff that is truly the beautiful life giving stuff. We all share those moments. Moments of bravery and victory and love.

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And give yourself grace in the midst.

For those feeling like I’m the worst mom ever days I tell you that you’re not.

You’re real. Imperfect. Wonderful.

Not the worst mom.

A real life giving pushed to her limits but still fighting mother.

Just like me.

~Rachel

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35 Responses to “For the Days when you feel like the Worst Mom Ever.”

  1. February 18, 2014

    Kimberly M Reply

    Rachel, your words always strike a chord with me, it almost feels as though these words were meant for me, thank you for the awesome share today! I feel energized and ready to move on to a new day and a new attitude! XO

  2. February 18, 2014

    Linnea Reply

    THIS. WAS. MY. YESTERDAY.

    I am continually flabbergasted how you write exactly what I need, when I need it. Like eerily so. Thank you.

  3. February 18, 2014

    Nickey Reply

    Bless you; thank you. I so needed this permission to let go of all the guilt. Like Kimberly, I too felt like this spoke right to my heart.

  4. February 19, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    Life is so different for you now. And you can only be in one place at any given moment. You’re doing this to help provide for your family.
    Know that I’m always praying!
    Psalms 56:3-4, 13 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me…For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

  5. February 19, 2014

    Jean Reply

    Thank you so much those were the words I think every women reading this needed to hear today. Have a blessed day!

  6. February 19, 2014

    Alisha Reply

    Rachel I’m so glad we met and your words just make me feel all warm and fuzzy! Such a great way to look at being a mom and not just just my faults, which I do more than I care to mention. Looking forward to seeing you again in April and taking a better picture 😉

    • February 22, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      i just think you’re the best, Alisha. I, too, am so glad that we met and that we had such an amazing connection.

      You’re a dear friend of mine.

      rachel

  7. February 19, 2014

    Melissa Reply

    Thank you, thank you, Today I felt like the worse mom ever. Thank you for reminding me that they think I am imperfectly wonderful because I let them have TV dinner for once, read lots of books before bed, tucked them in 100 times each, and told them I’d leave the hall light on…
    Thank you. Tomorrow is a new day.

  8. February 20, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    Praying!
    Philippians 3:9-11 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

  9. February 20, 2014

    Erin J Reply

    Rachel – thank you for your words today. As usual, they really hit home with me, Last weekend was a particularly rough one as my 5-yr old so eloquently explained to me why it feels like I don’t care about him… ouch! Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your stories so openly. It really, really helps. If we are doing our best and loving them, we ARE being the perfect mom. I keep reminding myself that God chose me for these kids for a reason. I am what they need, even when I don’t feel like it. Thank you! http://www.jenningsbaby.blogspot.com

  10. February 20, 2014

    Miranda Reply

    I needed this today! Thank you!!

  11. February 20, 2014

    Uli Reply

    Perfect timing. Did you watch me yesterday? Thank you for writing this. It really helps to know I’m not alone.

  12. February 20, 2014

    Lisa Reply

    Rachel I love your posts … they always help me remember that I’m not the only one feeling this way … and it makes such a HUGE difference to know that you’re not the only one feeling this way … so THANK YOU! and remember that we’re all here with you! 🙂

  13. February 20, 2014

    Sarah Reply

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I cannot express my feelings of gratitude right now for this. Oh how I needed this!! These past few days have felt like a big fat FAILURE should be attached to my forehead. I’ve been stumbling around these past few weeks trying to make sense of my life. My husband was let go from his job, we are in the middle of an adoption, I am homeschooling my Kindergartener (who has just now decided that he doesn’t want to learn to read), and have a 3 year-old and 1 year-old to add to the mix. I’ve lost my patience. I’ve cried. I’ve had to let them watch way too much TV. I’ve cried some more. I’ve fallen into bed barely able to form a thought in my head at the end of the day.

    Oh how I need this reminder…..tears are streaming down my face as I am writing this. You are so honest and real that it is so refreshing to read your blog! I am so glad that I am not the only mom that feels like a failure sometimes. It was such a great reminder that my children love me because I am their mom – and not because of all the “stuff” I do.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • February 22, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Sarah, Thank you. I really think that we need to be honest. Motherhood is such a journey, an adventure, and a challenge in the midst. It helps me to know that I’m not alone as well. I honestly appreciate your words – thank you.

      Rachel

  14. February 20, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    Praying so for safe travels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
    My email address

  15. February 21, 2014

    Darcel {The Mahogany Way} Reply

    I have been feeling this way lately. Becoming a single mom has been much harder than I thought it would be. Then I ended up sick this week and have spent the past two days on the couch. Our tiny apartment is a mess! I’m so tired of sweeping the floors, trying to make money to pay our bills, cooking, always cleaning up something. I’ve been feeling like I’m not present enough for them. I haven’t been reading to them enough, I’m not homeschooling them as well as I would like. I’m just tired and in need of a break.

    Thank you for this post, for your entire blog. We all know moms feel this way at times, but few are willing to talk about it.

  16. {Melinda} Amen, sister! I just wrote about this on my blog this week. We ARE going to mess up. That’s a fact, but when we are consistently trying to do what’s best for our kids (although imperfectly), that counts for an awful lot. And, when we make mistakes, we always have the opportunity to ask for God’s help to turn things around.

    This motherhood journey (although wonderful!) is so much harder and different than so many of us thought it would be. We can’t do it without God’s help. Always grateful for fellow travelers to encourage me, too. 🙂

  17. May 17, 2014

    Ann Reply

    Thank you for writing this! This week has been so long for me. The last two in fact! And I haven’t been present in my children’s lives, and today was the icing on the cake. Before I knew it the sun was setting and I was tucking them in after a story, but one hour later my son wouldn’t go to sleep so I yelled at him and made him cry. The motherly voice inside of me said to take time and nurture him. The tired and selfish voice said “you’ve had a long day, and even though you haven’t spent much time with your children you need a break too and it’s way past their bed time, stop feeling the need to nurture all the time.” Then I went downstairs because I didn’t know what to do, which also aggravated my emotions. A Mom not knowing what to do in a simple situation. So my husband went in to make it better, which made me feel worse because he was nurturing and I was downstairs brewing from stress and guilt. I couldn’t get that thought “you’re the worst Mom” out of my head. I don’t know why we are so hard on ourselves? Why we can’t find that balance of motherhood and self nurturing? I then surfed the internet to find new ways to motivate me to do better! To live in the moment! To absorb every waking second and meet all needs of my children. All I found was more advise, too many opinions that made me feel inadequate, and a failure as a mother, that I couldn’t live up to the listed standards and how I had already screwed up and failed my children. So I decided to find positive words and your post is what I found and read with tears streaming down my face. It really sucks that we can’t be perfect for our children’s sakes. I think if we get to the point where we can embrace who we are and know that what we do to show them our love is enough, then we will be fine. It’s these positive and encouraging posts that help Mom’s realize that we aren’t perfect, but our children love us and always will, despite our lack of ability to be the perfect mother to them. I can now go to bed feeling a little better to wake up fresh and start a new day. Because tomorrow is a clean slate and today is now gone.

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  19. February 13, 2015

    Alison Reply

    Beautifully written. I love your site because it is so honest and focuses on a lot of mommy guilt, which is also what I write about in my own blog. Thank you for sharing. It is great to read others stories and hear about their feelings when dealing with the grind of everyday life. Remember the little moments. Fantastic.

    Alison
    theguiltymommy.com

  20. February 13, 2015

    Loretta Reply

    SO much truth. Everyone feels like the worst parent ever once in awhile, because we love our kids and we want to give them so much but there’s only so much time in a day and only so much energy in a person. You just have to keep moving forward, enjoy those little moments, and make sure that at the end of the day everyone feels loved and appreciated (including you)

  21. February 13, 2015

    Janet Reply

    THANK YOU! Your posts are always spot on – even after raising 4 babies and 12 years into number 5 – I feel like a failure so many days!! How on earth did my parents do this!? The first 4 were not this hard and I swear number 5 is gonna kill me off before I get her to 18!! So, even for us Momma’s that have been there and seen it all – the reminder is always so nice. Thanks for what you do. 🙂

  22. April 18, 2015

    Linda Reply

    Thank you!
    And thank you for normalizing sometimes we have to travel and sometimes it’s ok to allow extra whipped cream on kid hot chocolate and our kids actually just want to be with us, present. THAT is the present. And good enough.

  23. October 6, 2015

    Carlie Reply

    I have been in the biggest worst mom ever funk for the past few days…I can’t tell you how much better I feel after reading this. Thank you so much : )

  24. January 22, 2016

    dannie Reply

    This article is awesome, we all have these days where life just gets to us, our emotions get to us. Thank you for putting this article out to help other mamma’s who, in our weak moments, let our emotions get the best of us!
    I wrote a funny blog about parenting I feel like we have similar writing styles, would love you to check it out! 🙂
    Keep fighting mama!

  25. Thank you for writing this post. Not many Mummy’s will talk about how hard and suckey parenting can sometimes be. I have felt like the worst Mum ever on a number of occasions, and have been struggling with choices I made for my daughters then doubting if I made the right decision. I was in tears yesterday as I felt like the worst Mother ever but I love my girls with all my heart and do so much (as much as any Mum can do) for them both (even if I worry its not enough) most of all they know they are very much loved.

  26. April 6, 2016

    Pilar Ferrell Reply

    Wow! I’ve definitely felt like that before, and there are days when I still do feel like I’m the worst mom ever and I’m just not cut out for the job. When that feeling comes around I always wonder if there is anyone else out there that feels like that. As always Rachel I end up in tears while I read about your journey and your honesty is soooo comforting and encouraging because I know that I’m not alone and you always speak the truths nobody talks about. Thank you,’thank you soooo much for sharing your thruth in this journey of motherhood 😊

  27. July 27, 2016

    Laurel Reply

    I am a military mom. I’m gone anywhere from a week to almost a year. My husband has to play both roles a lot and i have to do my best to be the best mom ever whenever I am able to be home. I have to pretend that it’s ok and that we are lucky I’m home as often as I am. And we are. Plenty of military mom’s are gone much more than I am, but knowing that doesn’t make it suck less or make me feel like the awesome mom I want to be. I know I’m not the worst mom ever but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder. Thanks.

  28. May 4, 2017

    Dot Reply

    Just googled ‘the worst mom ever’ hoping for some strength…. and found your comment ‘a real life giving pushed to her limits but still fighting mother’. Thank you so much – I have found my strength again, for now. Will check in again soon, I’m sure!

  29. June 20, 2017

    Jennifer Matos Reply

    I needed this today!! Thank You xo

  30. March 19, 2018

    Arti Reply

    Lovely read, word by word.. every single mum can resonate with your words..

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