The Bad Mother

I am supposed to be sleeping.  In bed early tonight.

Instead I am sitting here.  I failed as a mother tonight.

I had a blowout with my oldest.

There is a two books and five friends rule for the bed.  There is level that should be acceptable for items left on the nightstand.  We were way beyond that tonight.  I asked many times for things to be put away.

It didn’t happen.

I scooped it all up and carried it into my bedroom because it wasn’t done.  I was not too happy about it.

She was not too happy about it.  She grabbed up all her covers and threw them right in my face.

I lost my temper.  I yelled…..a lot and then I yelled some more.  She yelled back.

I sent her to my room.  Go sit on the bed, I said in anger.  You might get these back.

She scowled and growled and kicked.  I yelled some more, and slammed.

I sent her to bed.  Then I remembered she is just a little girl, in little girl pyjamas and tears in her eyes. She is just a nine year old girl angry her mom was carting away all her stuff.  She is the girl who relies on me to be the stable force in her life.

I am miserable.  I went back to her room.  She said I’m sorry which is a lot for her.  She doesn’t say I’m sorry.   I said I’m sorry too.  I hugged her, hard.  I said I couldn’t be a very good example of not losing your temper when I am yelling at her.  I said I’m sorry we had a horrible fight.  I got her a handkerchief.  She smiled.

But I cannot take that moment back.  That yelling moment.  

We are cut from the same cloth, she and I, making it difficult for us to see past ourselves sometimes.

But there is a bit of her father in her too.  The part that doesn’t back down, doesn’t say sorry.

She is growing so fast, doing so much, sometimes I forget how small she can be.

Tonight I made her feel small.  and now I feel even smaller.

Tomorrow will be a better day and this will hopefully be one bad memory in a long string of good ones.



Filed under girls

10 responses to “The Bad Mother

  1. You are NOT a bad mother. You are a normal mother who just happened to lose her temper. It happens to us all. It makes us feel lousy. But, you acknowledged it to your little girl, you apologized – she knows you care. You are doing the best you can on your own. Goodness, I have my hubby to help and I still lose my temper! From everything that I read on your blog, I would say you are a wonderful, thoughtful and giving mother.

    I hope today is a better day for you both.


  2. I don’t think you are any worse than the rest of us! I’ve yelled and screamed and lost my cool too. I keep holding on to the fact that it isn’t that breaches of relationship happen, try as we might to avoid that….it’s how we ultimately listen to what is being said in the conflict and who is saying it….I mean really take in their message. In the bigger picture, it is how we heal the wounds that arise.
    How else do we learn how to forgive…how to truly love?

  3. I have struggled for a long to time to come to accept that apologizing — that openness, awareness, and repair — can really be enough to repair the “damage.”

    But I might be starting to believe it, and it fills my heart with such unbelievable gratitude and grief… I wish you the same.

    You cannot take that moment back, but, like you say, you can accept it as part of your lives together. You can really let that moment in.


  4. A

    I used to have shouting arguments with my mom when I was a kid. I was a stubborn kid, much more so than my mother. I had other arguments with her as a teen (though usually just moody strops never about anything major) and ok so nobody ever feels great about it afterwards but that feeling doesnt last forever and though I know the arguments happened I don’t think I can recall any of them specifically, just the fact that it was something I usually started now and then.

    Don’t beat yourself up about it. We all loose the cool sometimes and years down the line these things are rarely remembered.

  5. don’t believe that old movie line “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” i’ve come to learn (and believe) that love means learning to say you’re sorry with grace and honesty and humankindness. we all yell, lose our cool, and go ballistic over kooky crazy stuff. it’s what we do right afterward that makes all the difference. you sound awesome and loving and great. hugs all around. and maybe some cookies?

  6. I know this feeling all to well. Each stage of parenting is tough at times. But as you’ve forgiven her…forgive yourself. I know, it’s often hard to do that because we want to be the ‘perfect’ mom–the one who is always doing what’s “right.” We all get to these ‘bad’ places but we aren’t bad for getting there; just tired, or distracted, or caught up in our own thoughts/fears/frustrations.

    When I find myself there I’m learning to readily admit my mistake, apologize and seek to make things better. I’m also learning to be a better friend to myself in these moments and ease up on the negative self talk that can cripple me–making me feel small & worthless.

    You are a wonderfully creative and loving mother who only wants the best for her girls. Continue in that. Tomorrow is a new day!! 😀


  7. Denise

    well, that makes of two of us then : )

    but really, I hate to say it but I think this is just the beginning. I keep hearing that girls are not so easy as they get older. Something about having an attitude. Hang in there. I am right with you.

  8. don’t be so hard on yourself. every mother loses their cool at some point. didn’t your mom? you forgave her though, right? your girl forgives you too; you forgive her; all is right. i’ve done it before, the yelling, losing my cool. there’s still love and love can right it all. like denise said, hang in there. and as a mom of teenage girls, there are some years that are better than others. it’s all part of the growing process.

  9. she won’t remember the yelling – she’ll remember that you said you were sorry afterwards. at least that’s what i keep telling myself 🙂 i could have written your post – sounds so similar to me and my 8-year-old son…

  10. Thank you for writing this. I think your little, honest story helps us to remember that our kids are just that: kids. You know, it just keeps things in perspective. It will remind me to be gentle and kind even when I feel so angry and overwhelmed I want to react exactly as you did. Thank you so much for being so tender and open to share this, and for caring so much for your daughter. It really shows how much you love her. Sometimes our reactions are so not what we intended them to be!

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