We have all asked ourselves, “am I a bad mom?” and “I feel like a really bad mom” before. Sadly, that is the reality of every mother out there as we are experts at doubting ourselves and not feeling like we are doing enough.
But let me explain…
You imagined motherhood as waking up with the sun shining through the window, your children coming to snuggle in bed while getting in some last snoozes. You get dressed before going downstairs, eat pancakes, and starting your day off with love, hope, and joy.
Truth is, it goes a little more something like this:
The sound of your alarm is blaring as you hit snooze for the fourth time. You just fell asleep, didn’t you?
The night can’t be over yet you’re thinking to yourself. But your child was having a rough night and you were up every hour checking in on them. You realize you are late, throw on yesterday’s clothes with a big coffee stain and rush out the door to get the children ready.
No time for cute outfits and cute ponytails for the girls. You grab them each a banana and yogurt they can eat on the way.
The house is a mess, the laundry hasn’t been done in 2 weeks, the garbage has been overflowing once again, and you can’t remember the last time you took a shower.
Isn’t motherhood lovely?
Reality check…Motherhood is hard.
Throughout the season of motherhood come good and bad days. Just because you feel like you are a bad mom and are failing yourself and your children, does not mean you are a bad mom.
A bad day does not make you a bad mom.
Here are some reasons why you are not a bad mom, even if you feel like one:
1. Rough days are not WHO you are
Do not let the rough and hard days define you. Stop talking down on yourself and see that you are an amazing Mom who sometimes has rough spots in life.
Whether you are hiding from your children to eat a quick snack, or you actually wish to be home alone and get some sleep, you are doing great! Those hard days will pass, and tomorrow will most likely be a better day!
2. Remember that one bad day will not ruin everything
Children do not live and remember that one bad day that you had, rather they remember the total of their childhood.
We are never alone, bad days happen to everyone. Let these bad days teach you strength and how to overcome hard times in your life.
3. You improve because you care
You are reading this post as you have felt like a bad mom, as have so many others.
Gather up your tears, your pity party, and follow these steps to stop telling yourself you are a bad mom and overcome those hardships.
The “bad mom” thoughts are toxic. You let them in once and they consume your entire self. You are reading this in hopes of becoming a better mom. So be proud of yourself!
4. Inspire others through your failures.
Having hard days teaches us many things. Whether it is to go to bed earlier, have better time management, be more organized and so on, through these hard days we learn valuable lessons.
Use these bad days as a method to teach and inspire others and your children to learn from these things.
Show the value in asking for forgiveness when you make a mistake, or modeling to others how to pick yourself up after you have fallen.
5. Your hard IS actually hard.
Nowadays, we come in contact with so many more mothers through social media. They look clean, put together, organized and happy.
Truth is, whether you have the quietest newborn baby or a whole van full of children, your hard IS hard.
You need to stop comparing yourself to others. You see only the positives on their side.
Yet what you do not know is that the mother whose children come all dressed up to school with perfectly done hair, she has a babysitter help her in the morning to get the children ready for school. Or your friend with the perfectly clean house you visited last week, what you don’t know is that she just had it professionally cleaned in the morning.
Motherhood is hard. Yet again, it is a season that will pass. Accepting this and realizing it can be a huge step forward in minimizing your “bad” days and turning them into “good”.
6. You try and care too much
Obviously, you care and love your children. You would do anything in the world for them, and this makes you the best mom you can be.
Even on the days when you haven’t had time to play with your children, you care about them and strive to become better.
This alone makes you a good mom!
Nevertheless, we all have bad days here and then… here are some tips to help you survive one of those days:
1. Take deep breaths
Taking a few deep breaths is scientifically proven to slow your heart rate, which in turn helps calm the stress response in your brain.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and are close to snapping or yelling at your children. STOP, take a few deep breaths and resume.
2. Find the why…
There is always an underlying reason for any amount of stress.
Is it because you did not prepare the clothes and lunches the day before, or because you had a hard night and slept in? Even being upset at not having any time for yourself or not eating for longer periods will shorten your patience dramatically.
After you have checked yourself and have not found any problems, ask yourself if the problem lies in your children.
When is the last time they had a snack? Are they teething or going through growth spurts? All of these and many more can contribute to your children “misbehaving” or being fussy/whining.
3. Turn negatives into positives
One exercise I strongly suggest you do is grab a pen and paper when you are having a bad day and write everything down on one side.
Start at the beginning and write down all the “bad” things that have happened that day or that are stressing you out.
After taking a few moments to ponder on these things, write the same things except in a positive manner on the other side. It would look something like this:
This is the template I created and use on my hard days.
If you want to download this free printable template to use, simply fill out the form below. Using this will help you see the light in the hard situations and turn your “bad” day into a “hard” day!
4. Get some rest, reset tomorrow!
Some days you just need to give up.
The children are whining and need attention, yet the dishes haven’t been done and the bills need to be paid.
Take the time to get some much-needed rest, relax, and connect with your children. Give up on a hard day and turn it into something good by spending time with your loved ones or doing something you enjoy.
Once you have done this, go to bed early, and reset everything tomorrow after a good night’s rest and a fresh perspective.
5. Set realistic expectations
I am the queen of writing to-do lists every. single. day. With that, I am also the queen of setting too high of expectations.
Instead of cleaning the house and getting some work done. I try to deep clean the entire house, write 2 blog posts, cook lunch and dinner, with a visit to the playground squeezed in there too. There is no way that this can all be achieved in a single day without some serious help.
Motherhood throws curveballs at you every single day.
It is so important to set realistic expectations.
Instead of getting all of your errands done that very day, give yourself an hour or so to drive around and get as much done as possible. If not everything is done, put it off for next time, it’s going to be okay!
Focus on the most important things, and get everything else done some other time.
6. Get a hug or cuddle up
This is probably by far my favorite tip ever. My child is not a very cuddle baby, yet lucky for me my husband is very cuddly.
Find that person/child in your life and give them a big hug when the day is not going as planned or take 5 minutes to cuddle up on the couch together to read a book or watch a short video.
Doing this will relax you, clear your mind, and change your mood for the better!
Fun fact: My husband and I have actually made it a tradition to cuddle up on the couch together right after we get up and before we start our day. This gives us literally the best start to the day we could have and is a life changer!
Remember, a clean house, clean children, healthy food and the number of books read in a day do not make you a good mom.
You make a good mom through failures, growth, mistakes, doubts, problems, and surviving those “hard” days.
Do not keep telling yourself “Oh I am such a bad mom” or “Man, my poor children have such a terrible mother”. Rather tell yourself “I am a GOOD Mom, who just had a hard day”.
I might never be the best mom in the entire world, none of us will be. But I am certain that I can be the best mom that I can possibly be, and that is beautiful to me.
Challenge: Share your story of a hard day in the comments below! Let’s support and laugh with one another. I can’t wait to hear from all of you!