Monday, April 12, 2010

You're a Bad Mommy

Scene:  In the girls bathroom, brushing TD's hair.  We are in get ready for school mode.

TD: (frowning at her reflection in the mirror. A permanent scowl has been on her face all morning.) "Mommy, you are a bad mommy."

Me:  (Stifling a sigh and the urge to rip through her hair because all morning has been this way. The frowns. The whines. The cries. The dissatisfaction.)  "I'm a bad mommy? Hm..." 

I wait a beat as she nods in confirmation.

Me:  "TD, if I was a bad mommy I wouldn't care that you said that.  It hurt my feelings.  If I was a bad mommy I wouldn't be combing your hair or helping you get dressed or feeding you breakfast. Would you like it if I said you were a bad daughter?" 

TD: "Nooo...."

Me:  (Feeling overwhelmed by sadness and guilt at that moment) "What do you say then?"

TD: "I'm sorry, Mommy."

Truth is, I'm sorry too. I am feeling harried and just a bit guilt-ridden lately.  I just had a two day work trip last week and while that isn't a long time it is the first of five trips that I have this month.  I leave again this week and after that I won't see the girls until almost the end of the month.  The tiny itch of doubt about my mothering skills is there now, no matter how hard I try. Being told by my own kid that I'm a bad mommy doesn't help.  Even if it is because she doesn't like me combing the knots out of her hair. 


  1. I'm pretty sure I told my parents that I hated them at least 10 times each. Although, i'm sure you will get an earful when your girls are teens also - there i no doubt that even when i "hated" them, that i loved them with all my being. Don't you worry :) The longer you are gone the more excited they will be to see you at the end of the month and have mommy time!

  2. These children sure know how to get us.

  3. All the joys of having a family-I can't wait.

    You're certainly not the first mom to have those insults flung at you and you won't be the last. I think the time apart will be good for all of you so you can be mised a little-sometimes the every day, even when they are little is good to break away from so they understand that when you leave you always come back to them.

  4. Anonymous4:09 PM

    Perhaps she isn't just talking about you combing her hair? If your child is that miserable maybe it's time to reflect upon your parenting skills and wonder if she isn't saying these things BECAUSE YOU ARE ALWAYS GONE...

  5. Anonymous, I guess so. I'm a bad Mommy. I actually have to work some of the time. This month is not the norm by far. Honestly, the girls got incredibly curly, very knotty hair that she wishes could never be combed. End of story. The guilt is on me and would be even if I was home all the time or not.

  6. Anonymous4:20 AM

    Anonymous, perhaps you should consider what year it is - not 1942. Women are now permitted to be both mothers and pursue their careers. Notice Vicky's husband didn't catch any flack for his work and his travel. Perhaps you should applaud Vicky for providing her girls with a strong role model of a women who is fulfilled not only by catering to the needs of her family, but by realizing her dreams for herself. If given the choice between a mother who accomplished nothing but raising a family, and a mother who demonstrated that a woman's worth is more than her ability to cater to others, I know what I'd choose. I'm proud of you Vicky. You are showing your girls they can do more than grow up to cook and clean. - Erika

  7. Anonymous11:58 AM

    Yeah, clearing THAT'S what she is doing. Her child is so miserable that she tells her that she hates her, but we're supposed to think her daughter is learning "wow, my mom is a great career woman!" Sure. No, what her daughter is thinking is that her mom is never home. Can women have careers and kids? Sure they can, but the kind of career that involves constantly being gone isn't gonna teach a small child anything but resentment. I work 40 hours a week, I have a great job, but when my kids go to sleep at night, they don't wonder where I am or why I'm gone. AND if she is constantly gone then by NO MEANS is she catering to the needs of her family, she is catering to HERSELF and HER needs.

  8. And THAT is what I am doing. I am home 98 percent of the time because I work from home. This being away is not typical at all.I don't think you are a regular reader. My child is happy and loving and a blog post that was supposed to be funny and highlight how much my kid hates having her hair combed has turned into this? Why are you even reading this blog if it upsets you so much? I remember it was precisely my daughters age that I first said to my mother that I hated her all because she wouldn't let me wear pink pants for the millionth day in a row. She was home all the time too.

  9. Dear Judgy McJudgerson (aka Anonymous)
    My blood pressure is rising after reading your comments. First of all, they are unfounded. Clearly you do not know Vicky well nor follow her blog, because she works AT HOME. For the most part, she is with her children every single day. This is the first time she has been away from her children to travel for work for an extended period of time. I recall you saying you work 40 hours a week. I'm assuming this is outside of the home? tsk, tsk. It seems Vicky has you beat in the amount of time she spends with her children on a regular basis.

    To be clear, I don't think it is wrong to have a career or work full-time (inside the home or out) as a mom. It just frustrates the hell out of me when women point their fingers at each other for their parenting styles, life choices, and family dynamics.

    For God's sake let's spread some love and encouragement to each other!

  10. Anonymous11:43 PM

    Well I guess we can all breath a sigh of relief knowing that you are not in charge of the types of careers mothers can and can not choose to have. Again, notice that Vicky's husband has not been criticized for his travel, but you feel justified in lambasting Vicky for her career choices. Why do some of us continue to hold women to one standard and men to another? Notice too that Vicky actually typically works from home while you spend 40 hours a week at the office - and yet she didn't criticize or chastise you for your choices. Don't women have it hard enough with what we deal with in our day to day lives that we don't need to skewer each other?  
    I have met Vicky's eldest daughter, and have seen Vicky in action as a mother. She does a fantastic job raising her girls to be independent, thoughtful, aspiring, strong women who, like their mother, respect and support the choices other women make, even if those choices are different than their own. 
    Perhaps you should examine your skills as a human being, instead of sitting anonymously in pious judgement of others.  - Erika    

  11. wow. i just read the comments. harsh. first..i found you by googling 'what to say when your child tells you you're a bad mommy'...for the record, my child is 3.5, i'm a SAHM and i probably really am a bad mommy..some days..i have days where i yell, don't pay attention and am just generally not a great mother. i think we all have days like that and i think we all have days when our kids tell us they don't like us. and yes, it hurts. just ignore people that blast you..there's always someone out there waving the righteous arm of some pious view of motherhood!


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